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Fishing for Data

July 20
In the same boat
Here we take a look at some of the marine institute scientists and the crew involved in this survey.​ 

On the subject of otoliths, we begin with Jane Godiksen​, a researcher whose expertise involves demersal fish and otolith work including growth analysis, microchemistry and age reading quality assurance. 

jane.jpg

What's your role at the marine institute?

We have this project called quality assurance of age readings and it includes all the commercial species we have at IMR. It's meant to make sure that we agree within our institute and with the other institute we work with on the ages, because when you read otoliths you can get your own ideas and if you don't talk to people you stay with those ideas. A lot of otoliths are not that easy to look at; there are a lot of split zones and you can turn them into two zones easily. You need to agree on that.

Every year we have an internal exchange. So all the age readers of a certain species read a certain amount of otoliths, we go through them and see what we do and don't agree on. And then of course we attend the ICES exchanges workshops as much as we can. So it's a way to keep the quality up. There are a lot of different ways to do it. How many we use for these exchanges is different from species to species.

What's your experience with IBTS cruises?

This is my first. I'm usually participating in surveys on the Barents Sea.

What's your favourite thing about being at sea on a survey like this?

It's nice to get away from the office and be hands on with things. I think it's important to be out there seeing what happens. One of the good things with the lab is you have scientists mixing with technicians.

What's the biggest challenge?

I don't know. It's fun. I love it. It can be hard working the shifts sometimes. But you get used to it after a few days. There are nights you can't sleep because of the weather. If there's something to do in the lab it's ok because when you work, you work, and you're awake. But when there's nothing and you just hang around then it's hard to stay awake. It can be hard to go to bed right after dinner or wake up and eat dinner!​

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