Thursday, October 13th, 2022
Time: 8:00pm ET
Stories from the Field
Making a Scientific Contribution Abroad
The Organization for Tropical Studies is the only U.S.-based study abroad program located inside Kruger National Park, South Africa’s oldest and largest protected area. Get a first-hand look at this dynamic, life-changing undergraduate study abroad program through this virtual talk. From the rural communities of HaMakuya, to the cliffs of Table Mountain near Cape Town, to the wild savannas of Kruger, see how students make a difference by making significant scientific contributions by participating in long-term research projects, then conducting their own capstone project at the conclusion of the semester.
About the Speaker
Laurence Kruger, PhD
OTS South Africa
Dr. Kruger is the Director of Curriculum for OTS and is based in Skukuza, Kruger National Park. His primary interests lie in functional ecology and how species response to disturbance. His interests lie specifically on the demography of woody plants in a variety of SA biomes, the bottlenecks imposed in each system, and which traits are critical in overcoming these. During his Ph.D., Dr. Kruger focused on the importance of re-sprouting in South African coastal forests, fynbos and savannas. His current work is focused on the impact that elephants and fire have on savannas and how resilient plants and communities might be in response to this disturbance. Allied to this is work on the impact of the loss of vegetation complexity on resident faunal communities. A large portion of Dr. Kruger’s private consulting work has been in the field of conservation, in particular conservation planning. This work has included surveys of natural habitats (biodiversity surveys), identifying the threats (development, habitat transformation, alien vegetation/faunal invasives), and the setting of conservation targets. This work has provided him with the opportunity to become more actively involved in conservation, whilst still engaging on a theoretical level.