Nadeem Demian, 2019, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
I interned with Professor Daniel Rubenstein conducting research on livestock-grazing and cattle-rearing methods at the Mpala Research Centre in Nanyuki, Kenya, and on surrounding properties. The goal was to better understand the impact of livestock grazing on rangeland in northern Kenya, as well as to understand the financial aspects of different cattle-rearing methods. Using GPS trackers and accelerometers, we analyzed the “wisdom of the herder” and how herds moved on the rangeland. We also conducted interviews with ranch owners to get their opinions of the financial and social aspects of cattle rearing. We hosted the first large gathering of private ranch owners in northern Kenya to foster interest in our search for the most sustainable cattle-rearing method. I gained invaluable skills in many different areas, from communication to technology, and I was able to immerse myself in the world of field research. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Mpala and hope to return for my senior-thesis research.
* This internship is connected to the PEI Development Grand Challenges project, “Water, Savannas and Society.”