African Partners


Ken Angielczyk: Exploring the Recovery from the Largest Mass Extinction in Zambia:

The end-Permian mass extinction, which occurred 252 millions years ago, is the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history, with estimates as high as 90% of marine invertebrate species and 60% of tetrapod families becoming extinct at this time. It is also of particular relevance to conservation efforts today because rapid global warming at the end of the Permian Period seems to have played a central role in the extinction. Ken Angielczyk and an international team of collaborator are conducting fieldwork in the Luangwa Basin of Zambia, focusing on Middle Triassic-aged strata belonging to the Ntawere Formation in the area around the town of Sitwe in the northeastern portion of the Luangwa Basin. The collected date will form the foundation of comparison of the Triassic fauna of Zambia to coeval faunas in Tanzania in South Africa, which in turn will help us determine the degree to which recovery from the end-Permian extinction was regionalized in southern and eastern Africa.


Deo Tuyisingize and Julian Kerbis Peterhans: Capacity Building and Scientific Interchange with Karisoke Research Center, Volcanos National Park, Rwanda:

Although larger massifs in central Africa are commonly studied, small mammal communities remain little studied. A better understanding of the small mammal distribution and diversity in Volcanoes National Park should allow for the development of improved conservation strategies in an area that remains as Africa’s most environmentally and socio-economically devastated. This project funds Julian Kerbis Peterhans’s participation small mammal workshop and surveys at Volcanos National Park as well as brings Deo Tuyisingize to the Field Museum for a two month internship on museum curatorial techniques to start incorporating previously published and unpublished data into a comprehensive publication on small mammal species diversity in the Volcanos National Park.

  Mohamed Mchulla Mohamed and Chap Kusimba: Ancient Trade Ceramics in East Africa:

The Swahili coast is one of the few optimum places where long-term interdisciplinary and integrated biological, anthropological, and historical research had been carried out. Based on a recent published radiocarbon date of 1732 BCE from Mtwapa, it would seem that people have settled and exploited the coastal diverse resources continuously over the last four millennia. However, while many artifacts have been excavated, not all artifacts have been properly identified. The goal of this project is to identify and describe a large collection of ancient Chinese and Islamic trade ceramics and conduct systematic materials analysis on a sample of the collection. The ceramic analysis will help further scholars to understand the relationship between variability in production, standardization, quality, utility, distribution, and consumption in order to understand the demographic changes in development of trade and commerce between East Africa and Asia.

Bill Stanley: Small Mammal Surveys in Ruaha National Park with Associated Educational Outreach

Ruaha is Tanzania’s largest park and includes a diverse array of different habitats and associated biota; within the park is the Isunkayuola Plateau, an unsurveyed region that could contribute to the understanding of the biogeography of the montane unites in the southern half of Tanzania. This project will survey the small mammals of Isunkavyola. The survey involves sampling mammals on the plateau and depositing the majority of the specimens in the Field Museum for further study.

Paul Wabala and Bruce Patterson: Inventory and Monitoring of Kenya’s Bat Diversity:

Like other equatorial countries, Kenya is a megadiverse country; at least 400 species of mammals have been recorded in this country. More than a quarter of these species (110) are bats. This project proposes to create a comprehensive library of bat echolocation calls for Kenya, using a hand-held real-time acoustic sampling device, mist nets, hand nets, a harp trap and a .410 shotgun. The major outcome from this work will be a comprehensive library of natural sounds from bats that can be used to monitor bat populations throughout Kenya. Armed with these resources and this information, the Kenya Wildlife Service will be empowered to sustain the integrity of Kenya’s natural resources and asses its relationships to agriculture and public health issues.