Hi, my name is Nick Huisman. I did my Bachelor study in Biology at Wageningen University & Research, and now I am a Master Biology student.
Hi, my name is Nick Huisman. I did my Bachelor study in Biology at Wageningen University & Research, and now I am a Master Biology student. My major is called ‘Animal adaptation and behavioral biology’ and I performed fieldwork in South Africa for my Master thesis. Almost 80% of the Biology students go abroad for their thesis or internship, just like me! My supervisor is an associate professor at the chairgroup Resource Ecology.
Because of his contacts with Welgevonden Game Reserve in South Africa I was able to do my fieldwork there, surrounded by the Big Five and many other animals. My study was mainly about the bodycondition of impalas, kudus and wildebeests. During the dry season limited water supply decreases nutrient content of grasses, which forces several herbivores to consume leafs from trees and bushes, known as browse. Browse however, contains toxic tannins. There is a substance called PEG, which makes the tannins less harmfull.
During my study feeding blocks with PEG were put out to enable herbivores to consume more browse and increase bodycondition to survive the dry season. For my fieldwork I collected faecal samples of the three herbivore species and analysed epidermis fragments that could be found using a microscope. Identification of species specific grass and browse fragments enabled me to gain dietary information of the animals. But the best part was to drive my own safari for 3 months of course!