Luca Kuziel, ’21, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Certificate(s): Environmental Studies

I investigated how the diets of different antelope species change as predators are reintroduced to Gorongosa National Park. To understand antelope diets, my project team collected dung samples to identify via DNA analysis the plants the animals had eaten. We conducted activity budgets to study how antelope partition their time between eating and watching for predators. We also measured the densities of mammals
in different habitats and studied the effects of herbivory on pollination. In March, Cyclone Idai went through the park and destroyed many surrounding towns. My group helped other researchers collect flood sensors and camera traps, as well as measure the cyclone’s impact on fever trees. Being in the park with talented researchers taught me about the various forms fieldwork can take and helped me in asking and answering questions about the natural world. I also gained skills in using GPS collars to track animals. I plan on returning to Gorongosa for my senior thesis research, and I am inspired to pursue a career in conservation and restoration biology.