For his internship, Nanne van Hoytema went to Dar Es Salaam, the biggest city of Tanzania. There he carried out research for his Biology degree into the migration patterns of young reef fish.
In Tanzania I was supervised by two Tanzanian postgraduates from the department of Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology of Radboud University in Nijmegen. These students were carrying out research into the migration patterns of young coral reef fish to and from so-called nursery habitats.
These habitats are, among others, mangroves and plains of sea grass, where the small fish can find more food and have a smaller chance of being eaten by predators, according to theory. Together with an MSc student from Nijmegen, I went there to do a small part of the study. We examined whether the fish switch their diet as they grow larger. A change in diet could be a reason to leave the nursery at a certain stage and return to the reef again if they can catch larger prey there. Next to our own research, we also helped with all kinds of other things that needed to be done for the major project.
For example, approximately six times a month we went diving and snorkelling on the reefs and in the mangroves and sea grass fields to count and capture fish in different locations. Obviously, that wasn’t quite a pity in the tropical climate and we have seen many beautiful things. It was less enjoyable to dissect all the captured fish and collect tissue samples and stomachs for analyses. Add to that 30 degrees Celsius in a room without functioning windows and you could say that it was quite an adventure. They do have rather a lot of flies in Tanzania, indeed…