• South Africa September – October 2019

    I’ve almost spent two months in South Africa and will be heading back to Sweden tomorrow. To be back at KMP and work with the mole-rats, recapturing groups from last season has been so much fun. We have trapped colonies within the reserve and I have collected faeces samples from almost all animals that we have captured. Freezer has been filling up quickly and it is exciting to get started with a time series of samples from the same individuals! It has also been fascinating to go back to the Kalahari and see it at another season, much drier and definitely harder to dig trap sites. Luckily, I have had a great team with me this time again and together we have had so much fun in the lab and field.

    team this season: Andreas, Megha, Daniël and me 🙂

    In the end of my stay in South Africa I’ve been visiting Nigel Bennett’s research group at Pretoria University. Here I have had to chance to meet other species’ of mole-rats, included the naked mole-rats! Most likely the strangest animal I’ve seen so far in my life. I’m so thankful for the mobility award from Linnaeus University that I got earlier this year to give me the opportunity to come here and meet other researchers working with mole-rats.

    Naked mole-rats!

  • 3 weeks to next field season

    Times flies. In three weeks I am back at KRR with a new field team ready to put the shovels into the red soil and recapture the mole-rats colonies from last season. Very exciting, as recaptures this season will give an idea about what microbiome questions we can ask and what samples to prioritise for sequencing. Fingers crossed we will get good replicates and nice spread of groups and individuals in different categories of interest!

    Sometimes the holes for the traps are deeper than a meter. This one from last season was very successful; trapped lots of mole-rats here it was worth the exercise! – Photo Cred to Yannick Francioli

    Before going south I will travel north to Finland and ESEB and present a poster about the ostrich gut microbiome work I did in Lund before staring my PhD. Feels like long time ago I worked at the ostrich farm but it is less than two years ago. I hope to be able to answer questions about ostriches at ESEB but there is a risk I’m too occupied thinking about next field season with the mole-rats…

    SA 2016, first time at the ostrich farm, working on my master’s thesis

  • Update Summer 2019

    It is about one and a half month to my next trip to KRR and working with the wild Damaraland mole-rats. Just yesterday I got the news that one of my field assistants got her visa to join and the field team are ready and set to go! Very exciting.

    End on June I went the annual KRR meeting, this year hosted in ZĂĽrich. Me and my supervisor went by train from Sweden (have to try and compensate for all flights to South Africa somehow…) and stopped for a hike in the Alps the days before the meeting. Good thing I got at least some hiking dine this summer, all July I’ve been sitting at the office and August will be busy with ESEB and GENECO meeting before heading back to South Africa.

    Time flies. More than 6 months of my PhD have already passed??????

  • Back from first season of field work with the mole rats

    I got back from the Kuruman River Reserve (KRR) and Kuruman Research Centre (KRC) about two weeks ago. This was my first but definitely not the last field season of my PhD.

    Photo by Yannick Francioli

    One can read about the mole rats and watch movies on youtube – but it doesn’t give them justice! They are truly fascinating animals and so much fun to work with in the field. I am so exciting for the next years where I will literarily be digging my way to deeper understanding of their benefits and consequences of group living!

  • Started a PhD program!

    Happy news, I’ve started a PhD program at Linneus University in Kalmar, Sweden. I will hade Damaraland mole-rats as my study system and my main supervisor is Markus Zöttl and my co-supervisor is Jonas Waldenström. I’ll Hope to update this blog more frequently as I now have a long term project to dig into!

  • Malaria conference Beijing

    Hej! I just got back from 9 days in China, first attending the International Conference on Malaria and Related Haemosporidian Parasites of Wildlife in Beijing and then a dew days of holiday and a day of excursion to the Great wall arranged by the conference.

    I had a 2 month break from my work as research assistant in  Lund before going to China, working at Jordbruksverket (The Swedish board of Agriculture) and I hope I will get lots of things done before Christmas.

  • Visit in Kvismaren

    I visited Kvismaren for two days of mist netting and wader hiking in the reeds. It was hot, like a boiling pot, full of mosquitoes but despite that very fun! First day got to ring three Great reed warbler chicks and the second we tried to catch a female but failed.  It was really fun to handle some blue tits again and I also got my first Bearded reedlings.  Thanks to Mariana, Gintaras and Laila for two great days in the field!


  • End of field work blue tits

    Field work with blue tits is coming to an end. It has been a busy but very fun field season, and I am very grateful for been given the opportunity to join the project this year. The weather has been amazing, and the tits have been great to work with. I got some good practice in ringing, measuring and taking DNA-samples and hope to work with passerines soon again!

    Now I will take up some unfinished work from the ostrich gut micro biome project, moving from small to large birds, from field work to computer work!

  • Field work next boxes

    I am currently working as a field assistant on a project on tits in next boxes in an area east of Lund. The weather so far this season has ben G R E A T and I have really enjoyed having an excuse to skip computer work the last weeks. Not sad at all that I skipped Lundakarnevalen for working this weekend.

    Most of the clutches have hatched and I’m looking forward to when they are 14 days old and will have lots to to ringing and taking DNA samples from them and their parents. Until then, here is a cute 7 days old marsh tit that is included in a experiment on clutch size manipulation that I ringed last week. So tiny! So cute!