Brian Mhando ’26


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Project Title

Understanding Biodiversity Loss in Large Tropical Forest Fragments

Certificate(s): African American Studies, Global Health and Health Policy

I analyzed the impact of habitat fragmentation on bird populations in the Amazon rainforest. Over the past few years, huge tracts of land have been deforested for farm use, leaving the current landscape of the southern Amazon unrecognizable. In the field, I worked alongside doctoral candidate Alex Wiebe to conduct bird point counts each morning, and in doing so I learned how to identify some species of birds by sight and sound. I also collected environmental data by conducting understory tree surveys in eight meter transects. This project has helped me better understand the importance of understory and canopy trees for maintaining biodiversity in bird populations. What intrigued me the most were the possible political causes of biodiversity loss, such as the international demand for more farmland. Participating in this project has made me consider more career paths that bridge ecological concerns with public policy advocacy.

Internship Year


Project Category

Biodiversity and Conservation


Wilcove Lab, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University - Mato Grosso, Brazil


David Wilcove, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Public Affairs and the High Meadows Environmental Institute; Alex Wiebe, Ph.D. candidate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology