Josh Daskin, Ph.D.
Post-doctoral fellow, Yale University
I am a community and conservation ecologist with research focused on (1) how seasonal flooding affects vegetation structure and animal communities in tropical ecosystems, and (2) how war and its aftermath affect wildlife populations, habitat loss, and investment in conservation.
I have had the pleasure since 2012 of working in Gorongosa as a visiting researcher. My research has included projects regarding the effects of the historic wildlife declines on vegetation, how recovering antelope populations select preferred habitats, and increasingly on the ecology of seasonal flooding in the park. By monitoring long-term frequency, depth, and duration of flooding across the park’s savanna habitats, then combining these hydrological data with vegetation and animal surveys, I expect to help improve our understanding of the flood’s importance to structuring Gorongosa’s terrestrial and aquatic species. Additionally, floodwater monitoring will help park managers detect and respond to any threats (e.g., climate change and/ upstream land use chanhe) to the park’s flood regime.
Prior to working in Gorongosa, I grew up near Boston and New York and completed my undergraduate degree in biology and environmental studies at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. I then worked on wetland restoration for the Nature Conservancy in Michigan, and got a master’s degree while I was a Fulbright Scholar and studying amphibian conservation at James Cook University in Australia. Back in the United States, I later helped design and manage wetland and grassland restoration in central Florida, and completed my Ph.D. at Princeton University, which brought me to the park.
There are few places that rival Gorongosa’s combination of ambitious conservation action, top notch team members, and real desire to support and benefit from ecological exploration and research. What more could I want from the place I work?