Midsummer science

I am Jacob, 21 years old, and I just completed 3 semesters of studying Environmental Sciences in Landau. The moment when Mirco Bundschuh offered me to come to Sweden and work on his new and interesting project I knew I want to pause one semester to not miss this opportunity. Packed with 3 cooling boxes filled with frozen leaf material, I flew over to Sweden into my first adventurous internship abroad, which should become an exciting time to keep in mind.


One of the sampled streams (photo by J. Schnurr)

I arrived in Sweden in early April and was able to see a very nice but short spring. I guess the plants have to be very fast here to catch enough sunlight until the summer is over again. 🙂

The project, I worked on, dealt with the impact of agriculture on the health of stream ecosystems and combined laboratory work with actual field work. During the first weeks in the lab, I prepared leaf bags, which were filled with various leaf species separately and in mixtures. In June, we packed 2 cars with lab equipment and drove 600 km southwards to Skåne, more precise to Sjöbo, where we rented a nice house in the woods, that served as our headquarter for the next 30 days. There were so many things I have experienced with all the nice and friendly people I have met. Especially Gaby, a scientist from Slovenia. We had so much fun together and we became good friends. We baked a cake with rhubarb, which grew in the garden of our house in the forest. It was very delicious, not to say fantastic. Moreover, we tried the amazing veggie burgers at almost every MAX Restaurant we could find.
During that time, we were sampling 18 streams with different degrees of agricultural usage. We took water, sediment and macroinvertebrate samples, measured physical parameters, deployed the leafbags and passive samplers for the pesticide measurements, which were checked and renewed every week. Back in Uppsala, I kept working in the lab to sort out and distinguish the leftovers of the leaf material and determined the weight loss. In the near future all the data will be collected to get a clear overview of the stream`s state and their ecosystem quality.


Me standing in a stream after a runoff event, trying to reach the ground (photo by A. Feckler)

My experiences in lab and fieldwork, the scientists I have met and became friends with and the many things I have learned are worth more than I could have imagined. At this point I want to thank everyone, who helped me to catch this chance, especially Mirco Bundschuh and Alexander Feckler.

If you have any questions about my internship, contact me via email or ResearchGate.