Friday, June 5, 2015

Whiteboard Presentations (Shelby and Raeann)

Yesterday we had the first of our student whiteboard presentations. At the beginning of our trip, each student selected two scientific articles related to both environmental and cultural components of Botswana. Students will be presenting on their articles throughout the remainder of the program, discussing the methods, results and conclusions. The presentations are intended to align with our coursework and offer further insight into the topics and environments we will cover during our trip.

Shelby started things off with a presentation on the major determinants of woody vegetation cover in African savannas. Her presentation identified four major drivers of vegetation cover: mean annual precipitation, fire regime, soil chemistry and herbivory. Of these, mean annual precipitation is noted to be the most important determinant.

Raeann presented next on the influence of precipitation on savanna vegetation and soils within the Kalahari Desert. Her selected article examined differences along an aridity gradient that increases from north to south within the Kalahari, with stark differences observed. Moving from north to south along this gradient, smaller leaf size, higher soil nutrient levels and decreased canopy cover were identified.

Shelby poses with her presentation on the major drivers of woody vegetation cover in African savannas.

Raeann and her presentation on the influence of available precipitation on savanna environments of the Kalahari.

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