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[Mar 2023] We brought HKU undergraduates to "rock" on South African shores!

We had our overseas field course in Tsitsikamma, South Africa with 12 HKU undergraduates + 4 postgraduates (including our PhD student Jackson) from 4 to 11 March 2023!

Gray has been co-organizing this overseas field course with three other universities from South Africa (the University of Johannesburg and the North-West University) and the United States (the University of Miami) for years! so, we were extremely excited to hold this course again after four years (of COVID restrictions)!

Students from these three universities + HKU were brought to this fascinating campsite, we mixed them together to form multicultural groups, and they had to work together throughout the course.

During this five-day field course, students explored (and measured!) the biodiversity on the temperate South African rocky shore near the campsite. They even designed and conducted their own field experiment to study the predator-prey interactions (we don’t have to see these Natgeo moments in savanna!).

You can also search #tsitsikammalivinglab2023 on Twitter to see more!

We cancelled the fieldwork of day 1 because of the storm! Look at the students – how sad they were!

But we had rainbow afterwards! And the weather was so nice for the rest of the course!

We spent our week on this stunning shore.

Quantifying rocky shore biodiversity!

We let the students to design their own experiment to study predator-prey interactions – this group worked on the interaction between starfish and topshell (= lion and antelope in the savanna)

On each day, students had their fieldwork in the morning and prepared for their presentation in the afternoon.

All students presented well in the evening to get their dinner!

Apart from rocky shore, students were also brought to study the community change along the salinity gradient from the river -> the estuary -> the sea. We taught them how to do kick net sampling here.

Sampling juvenile fishes

We demonstrated how the detritivore Bullia was attracted by a dead fish – they’re basically vultures! All students were Natgeo photographers at this moment.


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