Allergies, Electrofishing, Trawling, & a Hike

Right, so where to start…? Oh, I know, how about we give a big ‘hurray’ to medical insurance!

The week of November 4th, I had noticed a rash slowly building on my face. I didn’t really pay that much attention to it until Sunday morning, when I woke up to tight, painful, bumpy skin. I (for some odd reason) thought it was heat rash, and that it would clear up if I just spent the day keeping it cool. The remainder of my Sunday was filled by me sitting in my bed, watching movie after movie, constantly rubbing an ice cube around my face to keep it moist and cool. I went to bed thinking tomorrow would be fine.

However, when I awoke on Monday, of what I could see of my face, the rash had become much worse. It was hard to tell though, considering my eyes were close to being swollen shut. Hmm. Not good. I still thought about going to class because I really didn’t want to miss a day out on the water bringing up the gill nets and sorting through the catch. But really, my face was quite painful, and I figured my classmates would think I was crazy for not going to the doctor. So, I went to the doctor.

To make a long story short, the doctor ruled the swelling and rash (small hives) down to an allergic reaction. Two weeks have now passed since the reaction took place. My face is completely back to normal, but I look at every piece of food in my cupboards and fridge with distrust, since I have no clue as to what initiated the reaction. My curtains, bed sheets, and pillows are also under my investigative eye.

Although I missed the first day of the field excursion for Fisheries Ecology, I did manage to make it out for the following two excursion days. The first day was spent electrofishing, while the second day was spent trawling in a small area of Øresund.

Electrofishing! Yours truly is in the pink coat. Photo credit: fellow classmate.

Electrofishing! Yours truly is in the pink coat. Photo credit: fellow classmate.

Electrofishing was hilarious. We were working in a small stream not too far from Lund. We took turns, working in pairs, to use the electrofishing equipment to catch the resident fish. A big plus about electrofishing is that the technique, when performed properly, only stuns the fish. This allows us to catch all the fish in our portion of the stream, keep them alive in a holding tank, identify, record lengths, and then free them back into the stream.

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Enjoying the view while waiting to start the trawl. Photo credit: fellow classmate.

 

Trawling in the small area of Øresund was good fun too. The trawling itself was only 15 minutes long, but we spent a few hours on the boat due to travel time. During our trawl we caught a lot of cod, haddock, whiting, and mackerel. We brought the catch back to the university lab and began the messy process of removing otoliths and stomachs, and searching through the organs to find the gonads so that we could sex each fish.

Stomach analysis. Photo credit: fellow classmate.

Stomach analysis. Photo credit: fellow classmate.

Now, since the fish were no longer needed after their otoliths and stomachs were taken, everyone at the gutting bench continued to fully gut the fish. At the end of the day we were all allowed to take home as much of this gutted fish as our little hearts desired. I do consider myself a vegetarian. I never purchase meat or fish because my money would then be supporting an industry I have huge issues with, which in turn means I would be supporting that industry. However, when presented with a massive container of fresh, already gutted fish, well, I’m certainly not going to let it go to waste.

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Fish that I brought home at the end of the day.

Finally, I would like to end this post by describing to you how I spent my Sunday here in Sweden. I was dressed, packed, and ready to go by 9am. I cycled downtown to the central station where I met up with nine of my classmates. We took the bus to the southeast coast and spent the morning hiking up hills and crossing through bogs. Around one, we decided to break for lunch. Everyone piled sandwiches, cookies, crackers, hot chocolate, chocolates, and fruit into the center of the extra large picnic bench. The following 45 minutes were spent gorging. After lunch, we packed up and started in on a two hour hike along the beach. It was the best hike of my life. Twilight was setting in, the waves were crashing, and thankfully the wind was pushing us forward, toward the little seaside town where we caught our bus back home. I quickly cycled back to my apartment, crammed my face with food (don’t judge, close to six hours had passed since lunch!), and then was back on my bike heading toward a sauna where I met up with three others from the hike. I now sit comfortably in my bed, exhausted and fulfilled, finishing the last of this blog.

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My morning view. Photo credit: fellow classmate.

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View just after lunch. Photo credit: fellow classmate.

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View at twilight. Photo credit: fellow classmate.

Until next time!

Abby

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