Sunday, 18 November 2007

Banding Golden Plovers

Yet again, some observations about swedish culture: swedes absolutely never give "the look" ;-) to people they find attractive. They pretend they are not interested. Anything else is seen as being too desperate. The swedish word for desperate is "desperat", and may as well be synonymous with "kanadensisk".

Speaking of which, there are tons of canadians in Lund. Much more than Americans, which is significant, considering that there are 10 x as many yanks as canucks, so you'd expect a similar proportion of exchange students here. On the contrary, we outnumber them around 5 times. Why? Sweden is held in very high regards in Canada, a socialist beckon in a nightmarish capitalist world. Canada could be like Sweden, have its sort of economy and generous welfare state, if only the continent could split along the 49th parallel, and leave the USA Axis of Evil behind (and yes, screw you southern ontario).

Anyway, for the last couple of weekends, I've been going out banding European golden plovers just north of Lund. Its great to handle shorebirds again, reminds me of the similar species in Alaska that I worked with.

Tonight, I'm going indoor climbing.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

First snow and electrofishing

And now, some observations about swedish culture: Swedes like to dress up and have theme party's. "Welcome to the eighties". Men like to touch each other.

Yesterday was the first snow fall.
But we'd be so lucky in Skåne to actually have a snowy winter. Usually it rains. I love snow: I love the sonic-texture of the wind blowing over a snowy forest flow; "crisp"; I love the trails of animals since passed, and bloody remains of predation in action; I love skiing.

Snow also helps to brighten the dark winter landscape. Speaking of which, its sundown at 4:00pm here in southern sweden. And it only gets worse. So, imagine how funny it is to get a call: "we set up mist nets tonight, just before sundown" and that means 3:30 pm.

Check this out: fish can be induced to have a electrical potential difference, and be "attracted" to an Anode. Its called electrofishing--highly efficient and highly illegal, aside from biological surveys of swedish waterways. Last week, I got to try my skills at it. Its non-lethal, so doesn't pique my vegatarian principles. This week, I also get to do some illegal trawling, and gill netting, which means messily dismembering dead fish to free them from nets. But at least I know where and how fish are caught. If most people knew how our oceans are being systematically raped...

Fisheries Ecology

2nd Course in my MSc of Marine Biology

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Flounders experiments and singing swedes

A marathon run of flounder happenings: Fanny and I do an experiment on flounder cryptic colouration and patchiness to finish marine biology. It always fun to work with animals: trying to sight their freakish eyes peaking through the sand, catch them as they wiggle n' splash about, watch them change colour...and release them! Not publishable research, but always good to have experience designing and analyzing an experiment, as I hope this is what I'll do for the rest of my life. Not on flatfish of course.

To top off the conclusion of the course, there was a marine biologist "sättning". No equivalent in Canada, basically a bunch of dollied up swedes getting hammered in a heavily regimented manner consisting of a good meal and obligatory hymn list. The swedes like to sing and I like it!

Now, I'll begin Fisheries ecology. Not looking forward to it too much as I'm not too into teleosts (or cartilaginous creatures).