What did you do before enrolling at F/W?
I’m very glad you asked this question Carl, as it lets me elaborate on one of my favourite matters, in fact it is one very dear to me. The topic is of course me – and I can talk about myself for hours! So, after upper secondary school where I took the science programme I did a year of national service in Boden.
Not having decided on where I wanted to continue my studies after conscription I took a few years to consider my options, meanwhile waiting tables in Stockholm. To my surprise I quite enjoyed the restaurant business, but after some time it became apparent to me what I probably had always known – I was going to be a biologist. From that point the way to the bachelor programme in Biology at Stockholm university was short, and the road through it straight. In fact, I still wonder why I didn’t start it sooner, but I guess sometimes even the things in life closest to heart aren’t obvious.
We’re now approaching the time where I decided for the fish & wildlife management programme, but I once again felt I needed firmer anchorage in life before choosing an academic field to specialize in. Mostly to buy some time, but also to broaden my views, I took one semester of biology studies in Canada though an exchange programme and (although reluctant at first) I found it a great experience.
At the point where I was almost finished abroad I felt a strong urge for something my years at the university unfortunately had not provided me with, and that was insights in the working life of a biologist. As luck had it, I was able to find an internship at the County administrative board in Södermanland, working with the county fisheries adviser for ten weeks. With a bachelors degree, a semester at the other side of the Atlantic and having seen a possible career path up close I finally felt well prepared for graduate level studies – and here I am.
What’s your first memory involving an animal?
As a kid I had the great privilege of spending my summers in a country house on an island in the Baltic sea. I remember stalking grass snakes in the garden and netting sticklebacks from the docks as well as being bitten by the ants in the forest. But my first memory of animals is probably of the grasshoppers that I caught on the lawn and kept in glass jars. For some reason (to my defence I was five years old) I named them all Anna-Greta, and if my parents had not insisted on me releasing them I would probably have kept them way longer than what would be considered ethical for a naturalist.
In the end, what made you good to go for fish and wildlife?
There are, without a doubt, many ways to narrow down the search for the education that fits your interests best. My way may not be the smartest but, with the risk of appearing boastful, it could very well be the simplest. Having quite a bit of an interest in aquatic life in general and fish in particular, stemming back from further than I can remember, I knew what I was looking for. And as it happened there was only one masters programme, and still is to my knowing, in Sweden that has the word ”fish” in the title – from there the choice was easy!
Fun hobby or fact you would like to share with us?
I wouldn’t call it a hobby as much as calling but I consider fishing the most rewarding of pasttimes. On rare occasions, the sheer bliss of sitting motionless in a boat, freezing and eating dry sandwiches while not seeing even the glimpse of a fin, can be closely matched by the thrill of spotting a bird of a species I’ve never seen bfore and managing to snap the perfect photo of it. On rare occasions, that is.
Dream job to land straight after graduation?
I find the idea of the dynamics between learning, field work, desk work and teaching involved in a PhD position highly compelling. There are many topics I can see myself researching but one matter I would thoroughly enjoy investigating is the contrast between sportfishing and commercial fishing in terms of economic value, social value, and impact on fish populations.
Fish, birds or wildlife?
In phylogenetic terms, they’re all fish 😉
Wonderful image of Eurasian dotterel by Anders Forsberg.
All pictures have been supplied by and published with the permission of Anders Forsberg.