Time flies

Hello everyone,

it has been already three weeks since I moved to the Czech Republic for my PhD. I directly had to start working. So there was not a lot of time to settle down. The fact that I still do not have my own place yet does not help with that. However, I am very grateful for my supervisor and his girlfriend for letting me stay with them.

Just make a quick leap to the apartment search. I have only visited one place yet and am planning on visiting others this week and the coming week. The last weeks I have been gone quite often. First for field work in the Zelezne Hory mountains. A nice area with a lot of fragmented wet meadows where we will participate in research on the influence of fragmenten on plant-pollinator interactions. The field work is quite similar to what we will be doing in Cameroon. Being:

Sylvain (other PhD) setting up the camera ©Y. Klomberg

We are using cameras to follow the plant for 24 hours. Afterwards we then can record which pollinators visited the plants. During the night somebody has to stay in the meadow to make sure that other people do not steal the cameras. So during last trip the three guys who were present had this great task. Sitting on boxes outside playing cards and testing local beers whilst keeping an eye on the cameras is a really hard job :).

In the coming July field trip (2.5 week) we will be measuring a lot more, but during these smaller trips the camera recording is the main important thing. So the last trip robbed me of the majority of my second week in the Czech Republic (or Czechia as we are allowed to say now). Last week we had our team building/ team meeting in the same region as the Zelezne Hory field work. In total four days were planned for this team meeting (travel on Wednesday, work Wednesday night, work Thursday/Friday and travel back on saturday. For me the most important part of this meeting was to discuss my PhD plans with my supervisors, so I can start with planning.
Luckily we found the time to discuss this. As was already known I will be responsible for the botanical aspects of our work in Cameroon. Which besides the camera research includes the creation of transects where we will be measuring plant species and flower traits along the altitude. Now I have already started analyzing the camera data from the first trip (when I still was not part of the team), but besides that I will start to write a review about my subject. In this way I can get directly dive head deep into the research topic. So enough work to fill my workweek with.

During this meeting we also tested some methodology for our July field trip, which was really nice and also a good way to get to know other people in our team. To bond even better the nights were spend “testing” the local beer…
And of course we needed a new group-picture for our website: http://www.insect-communities.cz/team/

Now I am back in Prague searching apartments and watching the UEFA European Championship. I am quite often reminded by the Czech people that even though they are a shitty team they are present…
The coming weeks will be busy, but hopefully I find the time to get an apartment! If I do find an apartment my parents can come at the end of July to visit me and bring my other stuff from the Netherlands. But do not worry I am also already planning on coming back for a short visit. From 17 till 28 august I will be in the Netherlands, however, the majority of the time I will be working. If people want to meet please let me know and we can arrange something during the evening!

greetings from Prague,


The start in Prague

Hey everyone,

it has been a while since I have posted something here. Yesterday I have finally moved to Prague after a trip with a lot of delays. Now I have a week to settle down, arrange all the administrative matters and start the search for an apartment. Once I have found a place to live I can move the rest of my belongings here. From tomorrow onward I will be officially employed by the university and have a 40 hour working week (a bit different from my 32 hours at Naturalis) and 25 holiday days in the year. Luckily the Netherlands is close enough to travel for some weekends off.

I already got a czech phone number (+420 777990943), but for now I will still be using my dutch number for WhatsApp. This will probably change in the near future…

Once I have completely settled here I will be writing a longer blog about my time here. Hopefully with some pictures as well. For now all is well and we will keep in contact,



A new chapter

Hello everyone,

it has been a while since I posted something. After my trip to Cameroon things got a bit quiet and the job search continued. Luckily I can now make it official that I have accepted a position as PhD candidate at the Faculty of Science of the Charles University in Prague! For this position I will be traveling to Cameroon between 3-6 times in the coming four years for research trips lasting around two months each. The rest of the time I will be in Prague. So feel free to visit ;).  I will be researching: Plant-pollinator interactions along an Afrotropical altitudinal gradient. The research is focused on changes of general characteristics of pollination networks along the altitude, as well as on case studies of selected pollination systems. As someone who is extremely interested in ecosystem functioning this is a rather interesting topic.

I was not the only candidate they had. As you can see below quite a diverse group had applied. In total 42 applications where submitted and only six people where interviewed through skype. Luckily for me, I was the one they selected.


I did get the news on a weird day; prior to the funeral of my grandmother. So I couldn’t really celebrate directly, but still enjoyed the news during the following days (and still). From May onward I will be extremely busy with my PhD and before that time I can enjoy a holiday (any suggestions?), work on the website of the Dutch Gorilla Foundation and prepare for my phd (maybe even as a Guest researcher at Naturalis).

So another interesting period is waiting for me and a lot more blog posts will follow! Our research group in Prague also has its own webpage: http://www.insect-communities.cz/





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