Ahmed A. Elmi, a Somali doctoral candidate at Utah State University, has completed a range science dissertation on an animal that provides the basis of existence for nomads in his arid home country.

He recently completed his studies of the management, foraging behavior and nutrition of herded camels in a district of central Somalia in Northeast Africa.Elmi, who heads the range department in the faculty of agriculture at the University of Somalia, has intimate knowledge of "Camelus dromedarious" since he was born a nomad in his country. He lived in Ethiopia, at Dire Dawa, with his uncle's family and attended school through his junior year of college, then attended the University of Somalia.

Today he has four relatives' children living at home with his own four children, so they can attend school.

Elmi said nomads manipulate their herds to suit environmental conditions, and family needs. In managing the camels, nomads purposely keep many female animals to ensure a continuous milk supply for their families.

A natural rotation grazing system maintains an ecological equilibrium in the district, Elmi said. The camels, which are only watered in the dry seasons, feed mainly on shrubs and trees. Their diets are rich in crude protein, calcium, potassium and sodium.

Immediately after commencement, Elmi will return to Somalia to his duties as head of the range department in Mogadishu.