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Meet the team: Kristina Kunz

Kristina was part of the GoWest team, analyzing the polar cod that came up in the SUIT net and their food sources.

Background Questions

1. Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?

I grew up in the south-west of Germany and I live in the north-west of Germany right now. They city is called Bremerhaven and is located close to Bremen.


2. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to become a vet. Now, I do the oposite: I often have to kill fish


3. Do you have any pets? If so, tell us about them – breed, name, age, personality quirks…

Unfortunately, I don’t because I’m often away. For my studies, however, I had a whole bunch of polar cod that had to live in individual tanks. That’s how I found out that fish have very distinct personalities.


4. Who is someone you admire and why?

I admire Fridtjof Nansen because he was so convinced about his theory that the natural drift would transport his ship to the north pole that he outlasted 3 years and plenty of tragedies


5. Write a haiku to describe your work (3 lines with 5, 7 and 5 syllables respectively)

You get a German poem from the famous Heinz Erhardt:

Das Meer ist tief, das Meer ist blau, im Meer da schwimmt ein Kabeljau. Da kömmt ein Hai von ungefähr, Das Meer ist tief, das Meer ist blau, im Meer da schwimmt kein Kabeljau.


Translation (unfortunately it doesn’t rhyme, which makes it much less fun)

The sea is deep, the sea is blue

There is a cod swimming in the sea

A shark approaches out of the sudden

I think it was from the left – I can’t remember

The sea is deep the sea is blue

There is no cod swimming in the sea


A few Science questions

1. What is your title? What would you say you do here?

I do have a PhD degree since March this year. I measure the respiration of diverse zooplankton in order to quantify its metabolic rate in the field. The higher the metabolic rate, the less energy it carries (to its predators – such as polar cod).


2. What motivated you to choose this particular field?

My actual field is fish physiology. I chose working with fish because I wanted to enter marine sciences since my early years at university. During an exchange in Norway, I met the best supervisor this world has ever seen. He was studying fish and “infected” me with his passion. Ever since, I could not let go anymore.


3. How many years have you been studying or working in this field?

7 years in fish physiology

2 years in fish population genetics during my time in Norway


4. What’s the best part of your work?

That’s definitely being out in the field! I love being at sea and I enjoy the life and atmosphere on research vessels.


5. What are the main challenges you face in your work?

To keep my fish alive and to ensure they have the best life possible in capture.


6. What is one aspect of your work that you think the public should know more about?

Polar cod become slower with ocean acidification. Therefore it will become an easier prey and might decrease in abundance.


7. If you could know the definitive answer to one question in your field, what would that question be?

Will the rise in Arctic water temperature enable the exchange of Atlantic and Pacific fish species (passing through the Arctic Ocean)?


8. What are 3 things you’ve learned so far on this trip (could be related or unrelated to your work)?

There actually are polar bears in the Arctic

Arctic zooplankton is huge!


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