Zoe Rennie, ’21, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
I primarily researched how the reintroduction of wild dogs to Gorongosa National Park has affected the behavior and diet of herbivore species, with a focus on reedbuck, warthog, waterbuck, impala and oribi. I performed vigilance surveys to record how often herbivores grazed or watched their surroundings. I also performed roadside counts of herbivores to understand how their populations are distributed in the floodplain and savanna, their two main habitats. Additionally, I collected fecal samples and prepared them to be processed in the lab.
I helped count parasite eggs in fecal samples to get an additional measurement of herbivore health, and these samples will later be used to extrapolate herbivore diet. I learned so much about hands-on fieldwork and experimental design. Working alongside a Ph.D. candidate was a great source of insight and helped me think about what I’d like to pursue after I graduate. The training I received, my own self growth, and what I learned about collecting data in the field have definitively shaped the way I plan to move forward with my major.