College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Technology

Norwegian Catch

Grant-Hughes-Baldwin standing on one of the most stunning backdrops in Lysefford.

Environmental Science and Technology undergraduate student Grant Hughes-Baldwin satisfied both his love for travel and his passion for marine ecology by studying abroad for a semester at the University of Oslo in Norway.

“I chose Norway as my destination due to its unique society and its unadulterated nature,” says Hughes-Baldwin. “Even more, it gave me the opportunity to travel to nearby countries and experience a diverse spectrum of cultures, which sets apart the Nordic countries from the rest of Europe.”

Bordering the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Norway is the perfect place to study the different aspects of marine pelagic ecology, benefitting from a long coastline drawn by the numerous fjords that characterize the Norwegian landscape. “I started off by studying about the oceanography of the entire region, followed by studies of phytoplankton,” notes Hughes-Baldwin. Phytoplankton represent the algal photosynthesizing component of the plankton. They form the beginning of the food chain for aquatic animals.

Hughes-Baldwin was enthusiastic to learn more about the diverse marine life that populates the Norwegian waters, particularly the Northern cod, herring and jellyfish. “It was fascinating to discover the advantages some fish benefited from, and that subsequently determined the water column they can survive in successfully,” says Hughes-Baldwin. Hughes-Baldwin’s research tasks also included gathering water samples from the Oslofjord, aboard a research vessel. “We tested water quality with respect to oxygen levels, nitrogen levels, and overall visibility due to primary productivity, ” explains Hughes-Baldwin. 

He also collected samples of phytoplankton, zooplankton, copapods and algae for further studies to be performed in the lab. I took home one of the cod we caught on the first cruise,” shares Hughes-Baldwin, adding that he cleaned the fish and prepped it for cooking all by himself. “I ate my own Norwegian catch!” proudly smiles Hughes-Baldwin.

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