In May and June of 2007, 13 undergraduate students from Northern Michigan University are taking a field course in Zambia. Most of the students are majors in the Biology department, and all of them will be doing short field studies of their own design while on the ground in Zambia. The group will be making a stop in London on the way, spending four days seeing Zambia/Africa-related British sites (Burton's tomb, Livingstone's artefacts at the Royal Geographic Society, the British Museum of Natural History, etc.) and adjusting to the time change. The course is being led by me, Dr. Alec Lindsay, a professor in the Department of Biology at NMU, and Dr. Jackie Bird - a parasitologist in our department. We have made this blog so students can hopefully post notes thoughts, pictures and discoveries to the world. This should allow classmates, teachers, family and friends to share in their insights and keep track of their travels. Not only that, but viewers of the blog can add comments to posts - please do! We would love to hear your thoughts. Zikomo!

16 May 2007

While in Zambia, I hope to study whether there is any distinguishable difference between hippo vocalizations when they are communicating within their family unit as opposed to when they are communicating within their herd unit. I also hope to determine if the air and/or water temperature affect the time of day that the hippos leave the Luangwa River and cross onto land.

My concerns include the population density of hippos found in river waters; it may be difficult to distinguish family units from the herd if there are too many hippos crowded together. It also may be difficult to record distinct vocalizations because of the population of hippos. As for the temperature portion of my experiment, time is a major concern, as we may not have enough nights to observe the hippo behavior to see a pattern. Also, I don't know that it will be possible to measure the temperature of the water, so it may be based on air temperature alone.


Anonymous said...

Sounds both interesting and challenging - Don't Get Eaten!

Anonymous said...

Hope you find out what you want to know, Don't get eaten by hippos. Maybe you could just hold a microphone up to the individual hippos while standing hippo infested waters.

Anonymous said...

Bree! What the heck are you doing in Zambia????? Your dad and Anne are not keeping me up to speed here. Well sounds like a lot of fun and say hi to the hippos for me. Alex is going to be thrilled to hear about your adventures. BE SAFE!

Brenda Brown

John Prehn (Bree's Dad) said...

Brenda lives in a Cave, how could she not know you were going to Zambia?