Thomas roughs it in the Amazon for his dissertation

Date 11.11.2015

A University of Northampton undergraduate has gone to great lengths to carry out research for his dissertation – jetting more than 6,000 miles to the Amazon rainforest.

Third year Environmental Science student, Thomas Grant, spent three weeks in Manu National Park, Peru, with the British Exploring Society researching the effects of altitude on butterfly populations in the rainforest.

The summer expedition saw Thomas rough it in the untamed jungle, sleeping in a hammock suspended between trees and losing all sense of time.

“The experience was just amazing and reaffirmed what I have felt for a few years – that I don’t want to spend my life sitting at a desk, I want to be working in the field,” said Thomas, who comes from Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire.

“To be able to say I went to Peru to research my dissertation is something few people can say, and I feel very privileged to have worked there.

“I had a theory that butterfly populations are affected by altitude, and my research backed this up. But it also showed that other factors, including the presence of a certain type of habitat, influenced the amount of butterflies present.

“While my research was primarily for my dissertation, it was carried out on behalf of the Crees Foundation charity, which carries out research to help preserve the Amazon for years to come – so it’s had a wider impact.”

Thomas’s trip was made possible, in part, thanks to a TD Lewis Scholarship from the University.

The TD Lewis Scholarship provides successful undergraduate and postgraduate applicants at the University of Northampton with financial awards of up to £1,500.

This scholarship is awarded on educational excellence or potential to assist a student to pursue their education or training, including postgraduate research, or to assist them to travel in in pursuance of an approved course of study.

“Without the scholarship I would not have been able to go on the expedition, and I feel it has helped me to grow as a person, which will help me both in my future career and personal life,” said Thomas.

“The support I’ve received from my tutors to follow my passion has been excellent. They encouraged me 100 per cent to pursue my dream of working in the field, telling me I can do anything I want to do.​

“I cannot recommend the University of Northampton enough – the opportunities and teaching here have set me up to pursue a career in the areas of bioscience and wildlife conservation.”

Find out more about bursaries, scholarships and awards at the University of Northampton.