Kai Torrens ’22
The Effects of Large Carnivore Reintroduction on Antelope, Birds and Parasites in Gorongosa National Park
Certificate(s): Applied and Computational Mathematics
I studied two ecological puzzles in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. As wildlife recovered from the Mozambican civil war, a single species of antelope known as waterbuck experienced huge population growth. I helped the Pringle Lab investigate how this population growth impacted waterbuck ecology by analyzing camera-trap videos to determine the variation in waterbuck foraging rates across habitat. Secondly, it is suspected that nyala and bushbuck — two largely forest-dwelling antelope species — compete for the same resources as waterbuck and that nyala generally outcompete them. With guidance from the lab, I used camera-trap data to start building an occupational model of the spatial overlap of these two species and dietary data from DNA metabarcoding to investigate the overlap of their diets. I gained a working knowledge of the R programming language, familiarity with a broad range of data types, and vastly expanded my confidence in my ability to explore literature and understand scientific papers. The Pringle Lab is incredibly welcoming and a fantastic group of people. I feel lucky to have worked with them, and I hope to keep working on these problems with them going forward!
Biodiversity and Conservation
Pringle Lab, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University
Robert Pringle, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Matthew Hutchinson, Ph.D. candidate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology