Monthly Archives: December 2016

Speaking about jobs… Where do we end up?

There’s been a couple of different answers as to what type of job we’re looking for – but where do we really end up?

Vacant position?

I’ve been in touch with the universities career counselors, who have been so kind as to send me back a bunch of data on prior alumni. Some job titles of those who have read the complete management of fish and wildlife populations course module  include:

  • Forestry consultant for the Swedish Forestry Agency or Private forestry companies.
  • Regional Hunting Administrator
  • Fish Biologist
  • Fisheries Consultant and Project Leader
  • Zookeeper
  • County Administrative Environmental Officer
  • County Administrative Conservation Officer
  • County Administrative Hunting Officer
  • Teacher, Biology & Environmental Science
  • Post Doc.

Keep your eyes and ears about you and you’ll be sure to find a spot! 

Twixmas special: Carlos!

Photo: Jennie Hammarqvist

What have you done before your master’s programme?

I have studied a bachelor’s degree in forest engineering and natural resource management in Spain followed by a masters in forest sciences here at SLU and at the University of Eastern Finland.

What’s your first memory involving an animal?

I have a glimpse of my grandfather (morfar) holding me when I was just a kid so I could reach the top of the fence of a bull farm for feeding them apples.

What made you good to go for fish and wildlife?

I wanted to study the science behind wildlife management. I felt it wasn’t enough with knowing which wildlife species we have and how to manage them. Thus, when I came to SLU last autumn for my forestry MSc, and I got to know the programme, the wildlife manager/scientist inside me wake up again. The whole master’s programme was quite appealing and many people recommended it, so I decided to stay here in Umeå and enrol it.

Fun hobby or fact you would like to share with us?

Photo: Jennie Hammarqvist

I love cooking, baking and being outdoors. So every now and then I ask myself I should become a cook instead and move a mountain station for feeding hikers (and scientists doing field work) with delicious meals 😉

Dream job to land straight after graduation?

I would like to work as a forest engineer/scientist dealing with wildlife management issues. And of course having still enough time for cooking and baking. I have realised that Sweden is the place where I feel the best with myself so far. So Jag pluggar Svenska nu! It will take some time but I hope to get my dream job here.

Fish, birds or wildlife?

Them all! But I have kind of more sympathy with the bird genus Turdus. But anyway, seeing any kind of animal in the wilderness always creates a feeling a happiness on me. I hope it doesn’t vanish with the years!

Meet.. Matej!

What have you done before your master’s programme?

I got a bachelor’s degree in biology from University of Ljubljana and wanted to continue my masters abroad. I first studied in Umeå as a master student of ecology at Umeå University, but have since changed to MFPW at SLU. No university is perfect, but I’m happy with the change and would gladly do it again.

What’s your first memory involving an animal?

Uff, I don’t think I can point to a specific first one, but growing up in a countryside, I remember roe deer coming up to our garden in the winter and eating whatever was green and sticking out of the snow.

What made you good to go for fish and wildlife?

I’ve always been interested in wildlife (no so much in fish) especially carnivores. They represent the wilderness to me and I am so grateful that such a small country as Slovenia has the big and scary trio. Relationships between predators and their environment are of particular interest to me, recently also human dimensions of nature conservation/management. I went to study my passion thought, fully aware that at one point I will probably have to make money some other way, while wildlife will remain a lifelong hobby.

Fun hobby or fact you would like to share with us?

I’m an ecologist with an internal struggle. I don’t believe humans are a sustainable species in any way so it’s just a matter of time before we destroy ourselves and the environment. Why save it then? I give evolution full points for trying, but sometimes things just go to shit and you end up with a failed science project.

Dream job to land straight after graduation?

If someone pays me to travel the world and take pictures. Not really looking to jump strait into the job market after graduation, I need to travel and get lost for a while.

Fish, birds or wildlife?

Wildlife, birds, fish; in that order of preference.

My questions: Beer, wine or whisky? I head you lived in many different countries, which one is your favourite, and why? What are you afraid of? Through a complicated (but totally believable!) process you got selected as a new master program coordinator. What would you change? What do you strive for the most in life? Last question will be the same as yours: fish, birds or wildlife?

Thanks for the extra questions Matej! I’ll answer them in an upcoming blog entry (I’ll paste a link below).

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

White-throated dipper that sat down by the lake.

As this year draws to an end, we’re getting ready for an (we admit, oddly timed) final exam for our course in Applied Population Ecology. Nevertheless, I get some time to get out and get some pictures, some of which I’ve featured below. But hold up, don’t think I’ve forgotten you!

As a christmas/new years combo, I’m going to release two interviews with F/W students!

Marsh tit, or Willow tit?

Definitely a Marsh tit (confirmation from two ornithologists).



F/W student of the week: Freja De Prins!

What have you done before your masters’ programme?

– Bachelor Agro-and Biotechnology (major in Animal Care)

– Bachelor Secondary School Teaching


What’s your first memory involving an animal?

Probably going to the zoo.


What made you good to go for fish and wildlife?

Last year I was doing an Erasmus programme at Högskola I Gävle. One day we had a guest speaker (Frederik Widemo) who gave the most amazing moose talk ever. I had been looking for a place to study something moose related, so afterwards I went up to ask if I could study this somewhere. He recommended this course, so here I am 🙂


Fun hobby or fact you would like to share with us?

Archery (no bow hunting though).


Dream job to land straight after graduation?

Anything involving moose.


Fish, birds or wildlife?


Invasive species and reintroductions

A couple of books for those interested in beaver management!

This week we have been largely focused on what characteristics that defines a species as invasive – or rather, of invasive potential!

As most of us know, there is widespread alarm that human encroachment upon animal habitat and climate change may have averse effects upon global biodiversity – but how many know of that invasive species are considered an even higher threat at present by many conservationists? Or in some cases, even a threat to us?

There’s no shortage of examples of where species have drastically changed their environment, certainly where humans have introduced non-native species:

  • Exotic fish introduced by sporting associations have been known in many cases to wreak havoc across the local ecosystem,
  • Some invasive species carry parasites or zoonoses with them which can be a threat to humans and other species (i.e. fox tapeworm)
  • Novel plants can outcompete native species at the very least on a local scale,
  • Organisms that have travelled with ballast water in boats can find themselves released in a very welcoming environment
  • Animals released to control other species may turn out to be far more successful than intended (i.e. Cane toads in Australia)

Or indeed even the reintroduction of certain species. Beavers, for example, are a premier example of successful reintroduction of native fauna that had been driven to extinction by unmanaged shooting. This may come with unexpected benefits, as beavers are what we call an ecosystem engineer – that is, they change their environment to their benefit!

Most of us know that beavers can build dams. The resultant flooding of an area can lead to for example an increase of dead wood (substrate for many insects and also provides habitat for fish), but can also slow down the rate at which the water flows through the system. That means that sediment or maybe even pollutants have more time to settle.

Unfortunately, these dams can become major problems for the locals – they can cause harmful destruction of agricultural lands and loss of income, they “harvest” trees which could’ve been sold; beavers can also undermine infrastructure such as roads and cause them to collapse.

All this comes together nicely in wildlife management. After all, the job of wildlife managers is to regulate how people and wildlife coexist.

Christmas break closing in!

Umeå City Church was filled during the performance

As Christmas is closing in and an increasing number of students are leaving for home, there is still much happening – last Friday I went down to Umeå City Church to see  Nationskörens christmas performance. Nationskören is open to both students and non-students alike. They mostly perform in Swedish, but there is often a variety of international  elements which you might recognize!

Coming around towards winter season, a true movie-lover like myself can’t stay away from the winter releases  – so far having being treated to “Fantastic beasts and where to find them“, which (rather naturally) I absolutely loved! If you haven’t seen it already, make sure to have a look!

Bonus picture:  Regarding another recent film release, I’m sure we can all see the likeness between the evil glare from this passerine and a certain Sith!




Where have I seen that quest for world domination before – Darth Vader?



F/W student of the week: Sebastian!

15399061_1192322640846736_1947665462_oGoodmorning! What are you doing up so early? Photo: Sebastian Elze

What have you done before your masters programme?

I studied 6 semesters of forest sciences in Dresden, Germany, so this is my exchange semester in Sweden to see how you Swedes are getting along with all the wildlife 😉
What’s your first memory involving an animal?

Excluding all the “pet memories”, my first impressive memory with wildlife which I can remember includes two deer, storming away when we have been approaching in the forest right behind our garden when I was 5?!
What made you good to go for fish and wildlife?

It was and it is a quite big part of my entire life so far and since it is bound to forestry and everything which comes along with it, I thought this is the right time to get a closer idea of what it is about. Not fisheries though but it’s nice to get closer look to that as well 😉

dsc_5441Are you sure Sebastian? You seem to think that this pretty interesting! Photo: Hannah Benath

Fun hobby or fact you would like to share with us?

Well… My first time I went fishing was in Sweden!! Hällefors olé!


Dream job to land straight after graduation?

Depends on what I will graduate with. I think about something within the wood industry but I have no idea about my dream job yet, sorry bro!


Position as my cord-holder seems open! 😉 Photo: Hannah Benath

Fish, birds or wildlife? 


 15369833_1192309734181360_760892796_oPhoto: Sebastian Elze

Annual Winter Fair

15409922_1486889221339860_2035174503_o Lake Nydala with the ice setting in.

With the temperatures falling as we move into december (we’ve seen some nights venturing below -15 °C) the ice is starting to settle on lake Nydala, and allowing the snow to finally lighten up our shorter and shorter days. But as we move closer to christmas, the town is also seeing the annual festivities being held, albeit in nippy weather!


This weekend Umeå hosted its annual winter fair, wherein you could find everything you could ask for from Norrland! Despite the low temperatures, the fair was a great success, with lots of visitors coming around to see what was offered by the stands. You’d find:

Home knitted mittens, scarfs, boots and hats;

Woodworking and Sami-styled knives;

A skilled taxidermist brought along grouse, weasels and even a bear!

Confectory all the way from across the quark! (I’ll admit I bought four of the Finnish marmalade pigs, they’re a personal favorite of mine).

They had even fixed a ride with a horse carriage which would take you around the fair!

15368817_1486889251339857_251392758_o Kids and adults alike got the opportunity to hitch a ride with the horse carriage!

15409914_1486889254673190_256195790_oSome preferred to come much closer to the horse.


In the midst of the Applied Populations course right now, our work is based mostly on self-studies, where we are guided or introduced to a subject by a lecture, and then given assignments to promote us in furthering our searchlights beyond the lecture content.

Out of the assignments handed out so far, we’ve covered a broad range!

  1. Trade-Offs: Why can’t animals just get bigger, better, faster, stronger?
  2. Metapopulations: Some populations interact or are dependent upon one another – what governs these interactions and what implications does that have for conservation and management of species?
  3. Environmental Stochasticity: What effect can the unexpected environment have on our estimations?
  4. Life tables: How do we “forecast” what our population will look like in the future from a snapshot of what the population looks like today?
  5. Genetic Drift: What happens when populations become too small and why does this lead to an increased risk of unfavorable defects or diseases?
  6. Sustainable Harvest: How do we plan for harvesting a population, and how do we avoid pitfalls?

Which one do you think sounds the most interesting? Leave a comment below and let me know! 🙂