Monday 24. June 2019

What are UW students doing this summer?

Master’s students at the University Centre of the Westfjords are finishing up their coursework and heading into their thesis research time period. Every year, students have the opportunity to design their own project anywhere in the world, and out of the 22 students in this year’s cohort, 11 will conduct their thesis research in Iceland. Of those 11, five will be doing their research here in the Westfjords and we are highlighting their projects here.

Six other students will be working on Icelandic topics outside the Westfjords, such as dolphins in Skjalfandi Bay, eider farming in South Iceland, and seal-watching tourism in Hvammstangi. The remaining 11 students will focus on research topics all over the world, such as invasive shrimp in Greece, offshore aquaculture iAmerica, RAS aquaculture in Finland, and indigenous fisheries in Canada.

We wish all the students good luck during their thesis research, and if you see them around town, feel free to ask them for more details on their research!

Erin Kelly is studying youth migration trends in the Westfjords and perceptions of job opportunities on local fisheries. This is important because youth outmigration rates are threatening local fishing towns and understanding these patterns can assist to improve the future population and economy of the Westfjords. She is advised by Dr. Þóroddur Bjarnason from Háskólinn á Akureyri.

Jamie Carroll is studying oystercatcher (tjaldur) families around Pollurinn in Ísafjörður. This is important because understanding how oystercatchers are utilizing coastal or inland resources and how that might change and be translated to breeding success is vital for understanding their population ecology and contributing to management decisions. She is advised by Dr. Verónica Méndez from Rannsóknasetur HÍ Suðurlands.

Kerstin Frank is researching forests in the Westfjords and their linkage to coastal ecology.This is important because afforestation activities have increased in Iceland in recent years and will increase in the future. However, the effects of large-scale changes in vegetation on water and aquatic ecosystems have not been much studied in Iceland yet. Especially regarding future afforestation programs in Iceland it is essential to gather further knowledge concerning this matter. She is advised by Daniel Govoni from SIT and Dr. Brynhildur Bjarnadóttir from University of Akureyri.

Michelle Valliant is studying the relationship between maerl bed (coralline algae) habitat fragmentation and fish species abundance and richness in Ísafjörðadjúp.  This is important because maerl provides nursery grounds for a variety of fish and fish species that are important for the fishing industry. She is advised by Dr. Guðbjörg Ásta Ólafsdóttir and Dr. Ragnar Edvardsson from Rannsóknasetur HÍ á Vestfjörðum.

Sheng Wang is looking into the environmental impact of cruise ships in Ísafjörður. This is important because the research will assess the pollution generated from cruise ships in order to provide and implement a further management plan. The picture was taken while interviewing the captain of S/C Panorama. 


Our students are conducting some interesting research this summer.
Our students are conducting some interesting research this summer.