Kojo Baidoo ’24
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
The Role of Multiple Interacting Disturbances in Dictating Savanna Plant Community Composition
African savannas are subject to a variety of ecological disturbances, including fire, flood, drought, and herbivory. Each of these processes structure plant community composition differently, yet their interactions are not often evaluated together and are difficult to predict. Gorongosa National Park is a conservation success story, with the amazing recovery of many animal species after populations were decimated because of the Mozambican Civil War, while Kruger National Park is a well-known tourism hotspot and is abundant in many archetypal savanna species. In Gorongosa, where fire/herbivory and fire/flooding are the prevailing interactions, I helped to collect and sieve soil samples for nutrient analyses. In Kruger, where drought/fire/herbivory are the prevailing interactions, I helped to conduct dung counts and samples for DNA metabarcoding to evaluate herbivore landscape use and diet. This internship gave me a view into a career path in ecology and academia, the chance to witness and study core processes I had previously learned about in the classroom, and a new appreciation for aspects of the natural world.
Biodiversity and Conservation
Pringle Lab, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University - Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique; Kruger National Park, South Africa
Robert Pringle, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Joel Abraham, Ph.D. candidate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology