Fieldwork session at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve (South Africa)
Updated: Jan 28
After a three-year hiatus caused by the global COVID pandemic, Sophie and Frédéric returned to Tswalu Kalahari Reserve (South Africa) to conduct a 12 day-long fieldwork session. The aim was to collect fresh hyaena fecal samples for metagenomic sequencing of the gut microbiome to compare with the myrmecophagous aardwolf. Again, Wendy Panaino's field expertise was instrumental to help us collect fresh fecal samples. Because of numerous load-sheddings related to South Africa's major electric power crisis, we weren't able to perform long-read DNA sequencing with the MinION-k1C portable sequencers as initially planned, but Sophie nevertheless successfully implemented onsite DNA extractions. We also had the unique opportunity to dissect an aardvark found dead on the reserve by conservation manager Dylan Smith. Finally, as always, Sophie took the opportunity to give an outreach talk on her PhD project to the rangers of the reserve. Many thanks again to Duncan MacFadyen and Dylan Smith for supporting our work in the reserve through the Tswalu Foundation.