Emily Bobrick, 2015, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

This summer I worked as an intern at Mpala Research Center in Kenya helping to collect data used to monitor the Center’s wildlife population. Every six months, Mpala performs a rigorous survey of the wildlife population using distance sampling; I collected data for their June and July 2013 samplings. The Center could then compare the data I helped collect with data from a more easily executed survey the rangers conducted to ascertain whether the ranger-based method was reliable and efficient. I spent early mornings and late afternoons with another Princeton student and some members of the Mpala staff driving along two kilometer-long transects collecting information about species sighted, size of herds, and distance from the road to the animal. The data we collected could then be analyzed using a computer program, Distance, that provided an estimate of the population density of each species at Mpala. I learned a lot about the nature of field work and research, and this internship confirmed my interest in pursuing a research-related career in the future.