My name is Chris Bisperink and do my MSc in Organic Agriculture. I worked on my thesis at the Laboratory of Nematology, and in my research I was supervised by Casper Quist and Hans Helder
In my research I compared organic and conventional arable soils in the Netherlands on the basis of soil nematode communities. To this end, the number of nematodes was determined in a lot of soil samples that I collected myself throughout the Netherlands. I was given the chance to build a network of interested farmers and organizations, which has already proven to be very useful for my pending job hunt. I learnt a lot here, as well. I got to work with many well established as well as cutting-edge biological and biochemical techniques, ranging from DNA quantification- (qPCR) and purification techniques, to soil sampling, nematode lysis, microscopy, intricate statistical work and programming in R, and organic matter determination through dry combustion. Many of these techniques were relatively new to me before I started this project, but have become second nature to me now. But I did not only gather experience in lab work. When writing your thesis at nematology, you partake in weekly feedback meetings with a small group of students. The objective of these so-called thesis rings is to learn and share experiences about writing, but also to look at and criticize each other’s work. Having done this for half a year, I feel a lot more proficient in my scientific writing for sure, and my report improved a lot. All in all, I enjoyed my stay at nematology. I learnt a lot and met many wonderful people. Too bad it was only half a year!