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Practical field course:
Behavioral ecology and animal communication

Fully funded field biology course at the Kalahari Research Centre, Northern Cape, South Africa. Application deadline: 16 April 2023. Course dates: 1 – 14 August 2023.

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This practical field course is designed to put graduate students into the field where they will gain hands-on expertise in behavioral ecology and animal communication research. Opening the door to an active field site in South Africa’s Kalahari Desert, the course will train participants in the methods, tools, and equipment used for conducting behavioral field research. It will include both theory and practical exercises. Participants will plan a short field study, collect and analyze data, and present their findings to their peers. There will also be an option to write up results of the study, and gain detailed feedback and comments form the course instructors.

The course is free to attend for active students from any South African university. The course does not award credits/points towards BSc or Honors degree.


The course is intended primarily for MSc students from South Africa who are interested in topics of Animal Behavior and Communication. A maximum of 15 participants will be accepted. Applications from Honors and PhD students are welcome and will be evaluated on the basis of availability of free places.

When: The course will run from 1–14 August 2023.

Where: The course will take place at the Kalahari Research Centre (KRC)—an international research station located in the Northern Cape. The KRC is home to diverse Kalahari flora and fauna and houses several long-term field studies including the Kalahari Meerkat Project, Cape Ground Squirrel Project, and Damaraland Molerat Project.

The field station is remote and the options for getting in and out are very limited. Transport to and from the field site will be arranged from Upington on the first and the last days of the course. The participants will stay on site for the whole duration of the course. Late arrivals or early departures will have to be self-arranged by the participants and are in general not advisable. 

For more information on the field site, visit:

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Meet the instructors:


How to apply:

Please send your CV and a short cover letter to Make sure to include your current academic affiliation and briefly explain your interest in the course. Application deadline is 16 April 2023. Notifications of acceptance will be sent no later than 15 May 2023. Participants will have to provide a letter of support from their academic supervisors, clearly stating that their participation in the course is approved and does not interfere with pre-existing research or teaching duties.

Additional details:

The costs of participation in the course program, accommodation, and board at the field site are fully covered by the organizers. A small stipend towards covering parts of the transportation costs to and from Upington will be granted to each participant.

The accommodation conditions on site are basic but comfortable. You will share a room with another course student. Common kitchen area and washrooms with warm water are shared with the rest of the course as well as with field staff and visitors. The internet and cellular connectivity on site are very limited. Please make sure to check in advance how well the field site area is covered by your cellular provider. More details on accommodation and transportation are soon to come.

Preliminary course schedule.

Feel free to get in touch with Vlad ( or Gabriella ( for any informal questions on the course, the field site and the application process.

The course is funded by the Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour and Zukunftskolleg at the University of Konstanz.

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