I. Reading and Web Assignments

II. Lectures and Programs

III. Journal Assignments

IV. Species Assignments

V. Field Research for Biology 497 Students


I. Reading and Web Assignments:

    - to be completed before departure, questions will be sent to you

Presentations and Programs:

    - to be attended throughout your travels, reading handouts will be given to you
  • Biodiversity and Speciation
  • Biogeography of Tanzania
  • Savanna structure and stability
  • Fluora and Fauna of Tanzania
  • Interspecific interactions
  • Disturbance and Community Structure
  • Species Richness and Abundance
  • Evolutionary adaptions of savanna organisms
  • Importance of Biodiversity
  • Threats to Biodiversity (required reading, The Future of Life, E .O. Wilson) Tanzania conservation efforts

* Students in Biology 497 must select a topic of interest (related to one of the above areas) and lead a 30-45 minute group discussion. An outline and list of references is required before departure.

III. Journal Assignments

    - to be completed throughout your travels and upon your return to the mainland.

You will be receiving a trip notebook on the airplane once we are settled with your name and PSU affiliation. It should be used to keep a running "log" of your trip. Everyday, you are expected to record field and lecture experiences (notes) and knowledge gains in key environmental science and/or conservation biology principles (like succession, rainforest structure, trophic levels). Also, sites, inspirations, surprises, first impressions, other facts learned, and interesting conversations with instructors, guides or peers should be recorded. You might also want to keep track of the people you meet. After your trip you will be required to provide your instructors with several paragraphs from your daily journal entries.


After your trip you will also be required to answer the following questions (more may be added that directly related to trip experiences). It is suggested that you keep them in mind and write some of your answers throughout your travels.

  • In general, what impressed you the most about Tanzania?
  • Overall, what were your best and worst experiences?
  • Any surprises or disappointments throughout the trip?
  • What did you learn about the biodiversity of Tanzania's savanna?
  • What problems concerning biodiversity did you uncover? And are there solutions?
  • How have human activities impacted the natural habitats of Tanzania?
  • What are your opinions on the future of Tanzania's biodiversity?
  • Give an example of two or three key concepts of biodiversity that you experienced firsthand in the field.

Examples: keystone species exerting strong controls on community structure, affects of abiotic factors, affects of biogeographic factors, ecological succession, and disturbance and community structure. Elaborate on how these experiences impacted your learning.

IV. Species Assignments

    - to be completed throughout your travels and upon your return to the mainland

Students taking the Biology 297 credits are required to thoroughly research a selected Tanzanian plant or animal species. Students taking Biology 497 credits are required to thoroughly research two selected Tanzanian plant or animal species. In order to eliminate replication, you need to tell Dr. McLaughlin the species that you have chosen. Please do this on the airplane to Tanzania or sometime early on, during the trip.

During your trip you should try to find out as much as possible about your selected organism(s) by asking questions, talking with expert naturalist field guides or biologists, using field guide books, etc. Upon your return you may wish to research your organism(s) some more.

You will need to answer questions like the following:

  • What is the scientific name of the species? Common name?
  • Where was the organism spotted?
  • What is the range and habitat of the species?
  • What is its evolutionary history? (Origin, relatives etc.)
  • What role does it play in its environment (niche)? Is it a keystone species?
  • Any unique adaptations?
  • Elaborate on the species food chain.
  • Is it an endemic species to Tanzania? If not, where else is it found?
  • What are the threats to its survival?
V. Field Research for Biology 497 Students.
    - to be completed during your travels and upon your return to the mainland
You will conduct actual a field research in conservation biology during your stay in Tanzania. A scientific report will be due as part of your post-trip assignment and will include objectives, methods, data analysis and interpretation, conclusions, and literature review.

Overview | Description | Objectives | Requirements | Outline | Itinerary | Cost | Application | Coordinators

© 2004 Penn State Berks-Lehigh Valley College

This page was last updated on November 22, 2004. Questions or Comments

Overview Description Objectives Requirements Itinerary Cost Application Coordinators Go to the Penn State Berks-Lehigh Valley College website From Savanna to Coral Reef - Overview