Field Course in Ecology and Evolution of East Africa

Course content

A general introduction to East African rainforest and savanna ecosystems.

Biodiversity surveys as well as plant and animal monitoring applying traditional and innovative methods. Human-wildlife conflicts, ecosystem services & conservation, community participation as a sustainability strategy.

Morphological and biological characteristics of the major ‘key’ groups of animals and plants in the East African rainforest and savanna ecosystems.

Field techniques are demonstrated and practiced and compared with innovative methods.


BSc Programme in Biology

Learning outcome


At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to:

  • Describe rainforest and savanna ecosystems in general terms.
  • Describe how to carry out practical fieldwork under tropical conditions.
  • Mention and briefly describe the morphology and biology of the major ‘key’ groups of animals and plants in the East African rainforest and savanna ecosystems.



At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to:

  • Explain how to collect occurrence data in the field and how to analyze such data.
  • Outline the roles of key animal and plant groups in rainforest and savanna ecosystems and explain how they interact. 
  • Outline the major challenges involved in the conservation of tropical ecosystems and their species



At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to:

  • Elaborate on conservational priorities for tropical ecosystems.
  • Discuss the processes that generate biological diversity in rainforest and savanna ecosystems.
  • Compare different field techniques and assess their suitability and cost-efficiency.

A mixture of lectures, field and lab exercises, and field excursions. The course will be completed with each student having one week (40 hours) to write a 5-page written assignment (essay).

Students are expected to have a basic biological knowledge equivalent to one year into BSc.

This is recommended as an optional summer field course for students aiming at a BSc or MSc thesis project within or relating to tropical biology and conservation.

The field course takes place at the Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Centre in Mang'ula at the foothills of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, southern Tanzania. Activities include trekking in steep terrain and spending some nights in a tented camp, which can be physically demanding.

Administration fee is 12.000 DKK and covers transportation costs within Tanzania, park fees, teaching materials, food and accommodation. Administration fee does not cover travel costs to and from Tanzania.

Students will be required to have their own international travel health insurance and arrange for a valid visa for entry into Tanzania (a three months tourist visa can be acquired in the airport of Dar es Salaam for $ 50.

The administration fee needs to be paid in two instalments: (1) 6.000 DKK by 1 March 2020 and (2) 6.000 DKK by 15 June 2020. The first payment is used for, e.g., advance payment of park fees and hotel reservations and is not refundable.

Continuous feedback during the course

Verbal feedback as dialogue and questions during the field part. Written comments to the essay.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
Type of assessment details
Evaluation based on participation and written assignment (one week).
The course will be completed with each student doing a 5 page written assignment after returning from the field part. The titles for the assignments will be given to the students before they return to Denmark, and the students will have one week (40 hours) to write the essay.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Preparation
  • 24
  • Practical exercises
  • 30
  • Field Work
  • 42
  • Excursions
  • 50
  • Exam Preparation
  • 40
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level

1 block

14-27 August 2023 in Tanzania followed by a 1-week written assignment
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board for the Biological Area
Contracting department
  • The Natural History Museum of Denmark
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinators
  • Nikolaj Scharff   (8-757a6a6f68796d6d477a757435727c356b72)
  • Thomas Pape   (5-787465746944777271326f7932686f)

Teachers from SNM and University of Florence/MUSE-Science Museum in Trento, Italy.

Saved on the 30-09-2022

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