Alexandra Falk studied Sea and Society - now she works with environmental monitoring on the Swedish West Coast
Alexandra Falk has always known that she wanted to work with the environment in some way. Now she works as an environmental analyst at the Institute of Coastal Research in Lysekil to assess the ecosystems on the Swedish West Coast.
What do you work with?
"I work as an environmental analyst at the Institute of Coastal Research in Lysekil on the Swedish West Coast, which is a unit at SLU – the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. I work with regional and national environmental monitoring. Previously, I worked as a marine biologist at the County Administrative Board.
I have always known that I wanted to work with the environment in some way, but my interest in the ocean was actually accidental. When I was about to choose a university education, I thought that marine science sounded the most interesting. There’s so much left for us to learn about the ocean."
What do you do on a typical day?
"It varies a lot. At the Institute of Coastal Research, we have intensive field periods in the spring and autumn when we work with assessments to get an appreciation of fish stock. On the West Coast, we use fyke nets to see variations and outcomes to assess the ecosystem. Compared to many other survey methods, many species survive the fyke net and can be released in the sea afterwards. In between field periods, we write reports and take care of the equipment.
The combination of the different chores is something I like about my job. The final objective is to have a good marine environment, and we need to have good survey methods to gain more knowledge about the sea."
What do you like the most about your job?
"Field work! Right now, I am focusing on learning new species to understand how the systems in the ocean work – it’ll make my job much easier. My personal favourites are snake pipefish and broadnosed pipefish."
Why did you want to study Sea and Society?
"First, I studied the Bachelor's programme in Marine Science. After that, I noticed there was a need for interdisciplinary knowledge, so I turned to the Sea and Society master’s programme.
That we need both the natural sciences and the social sciences perspective was something I learned when I studied Sea and Society. The breadth in subjects is something I think is quite unique for the programme."
What part of the programme do you benefit from most in your work?
"The knowledge about different methods, to be able to interpret results, and also compile results – these are three parts I have benefited a lot from. We also get the opportunity to go on an internship during the programme, it gives a work experience that is good to have."
Do you have any tips for new students?
"Talk to your fellow students! People who study Sea and Society come from different backgrounds and positions, which means that they have different perspectives. At the same time, everyone has one thing in common: we all care about the environment."
Interview: Lovisa Thoursie