Greetings once more from Sweden!
Christmas is definitely in the air here in Lund. There are beautifully decorated conifers all throughout town, all the shops have set up their Christmas window displays, and lights have been strung throughout the city centre. It seems that every social event I attend now serves ample amounts of glögg (mulled wine), which appears to be part of every European’s childhood holiday memories…I’m assuming they were drinking the non-alcoholic version back then…
Of course, for us University students, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without exams…Oh wait, yes it can, since my course has no exam (she typed with a massive smile on her face). My heart goes out to my fellow U of T students, all of whom I know are studying day and night at the moment. I’d like to use my lack of December exam as a selling point for Swedish exchange studies, but in actuality I just got lucky with my particular course. Thus, the exam atmosphere is just as potent here as what I’m use to back home.
Since I have no exam to study for, you may be wondering what activities have been filling my time. Well, for seven days straight I have been working on an assignment for my Fisheries Ecology class. The assignment consists of an excel file with catch, landings, and discard information regarding the cod stocks in the North Sea from 1963 to 2012. Historically, these stocks have been heavily fished, and there is a large concern that this cod fishing industry is heading for collapse in much the same way as the Canadian cod fishing industry in Newfoundland collapsed back in 1993. So, my assignment then is to first construct a VPA (Virtual Population Analysis) model based off of this historical data. Second, when satisfied with my VPA, I must use the model to make short and long term predictions regarding catch and landings quotas, and about how the cod stock will change moving into the future. These predictions all vary when altering model parameters, such as fishing mortality, cannibalism, recruitment, and trawl mesh size. Meaning, it can be quite difficult to settle on a finalized model. Overall, I’m enjoying the assignment. It has taken me a lot of time just to create my models, but I have found it interesting to muck around with the predictions, and enjoy getting a better insight into the work conducted by fishery managers and fishery scientists.
In other, non-school related news, a recent storm named Sven blew through my little Swedish town (and apparently many other towns in several countries), bringing with it insanely strong winds. Seriously, I was riding my bike down hill against the wind and had to pedal vigorously to prevent myself from entering what seemed like a state of suspended animation. The following morning I awoke to a beautiful fresh layer of snow that has since turned into an icy pile of mush, which makes it rather difficult to get around town by bike. I mean, of course I could walk, or use public transit, but where’s the fun in that?
Finally, I’m currently in the process of planning my holiday travels. I have decided not to return home for the holidays, but instead use the time off to see a bit of Europe. At the moment, it looks like I’ll be heading to Italy, but I’ll wait until my next post to tell you more.
Until next time,