Willemijn ten Cate, ’21, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
I studied agricultural productivity and biodiversity under the increasing impacts of climate change for the Princeton Farm Project. The experiment focused on a variety of farms that use conventional, organic or biodynamic practices. Each day, I worked with other interns on the project to take samples from different farms and analyze them in a lab. We placed remote sensors in each crop row to analyze precipitation, chlorophyll index, solar radiation, and the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), which measures live vegetation. We also flew drones over each farm plot to give us additional NDVI values. We measured the length and weight of crops to determine the yield from each farm. This internship allowed me to collect large amounts of information and display it clearly on different platforms that can be used to conduct further analysis. I learned how important the environment is to agriculture and that farmers will have to adjust their techniques to survive in the drastic climate changes that will occur in the coming years.