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Interview: ‘Interactions excite me most in ecology’

Tjomme van Mastrigt has started in Track 3 of One Health Pact: Impact of emerging arboviruses on wild bird populations – at NIOO.

My name is Tjomme van Mastrigt. In February I started my PhD at the Dutch Centre for Avian Migration and Demography (part of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology / NIOO). During my MSc and BSc I focused on the behavioural ecology of birds. Interactions excite me most in ecology. I hope to gain insight in how bird population dynamics are affected by arboviruses and their vectors. This will involve modelling (survival of avian hosts), as well, as field work (temporal dynamics of immunocompetence of migratory and resident birds).

Two months into my PhD, I was asked to work from home. Currently, I can spend a lot of time in the field to collect data on immune function of and USUV prevalence in pied flycatchers (12 g trans-Saharan migratory birds). I consider myself lucky to be in the field these days, although I find it difficult not to have regular meetings with my supervisors (Henk van der Jeugd, Kevin Matson, and Fred de Boer). I am looking forward to working at NIOO again to discuss the exciting possibilities in our projects with my close colleague Jurrian van Irsel.