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Sophia N. Wassermann


PhD student in Marine Science at the National University of Ireland, Galway & Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholar. Interested in computational approaches to issues at the intersection of fisheries and climate change. Currently modelling mackerel collective behaviour. MSc in Biodiversity & Conservation (with Distinction) from Trinity College Dublin; B.A. in Environmental Studies from Vassar College.


  1. Before you become a marine biologist, swim a mile in their fins: the day-to-day of science.

    When speaking to some first-year undergrads this week, my PhD sister, Morag, brought up a really good point about picking what research you want to do. Many of us in marine biology/science love sharks, whales, octopus, seabirds, etc., and they’re often what instigated our interest in the ocean. However, when picking a research topic or applying for a program it’s important to think about what you’ll do day-to-day. …


  2. IEA 2019 Poster - It's wrong but is it useful? Validating theoretical models of fish collective behaviour

    I’m writing this post to accompany a poster presented at the Irish Ecological Association conference in Galway, January 2019. …


  3. Research Cruisin': Free whale-watching trip in the Celtic Sea? Oh, and some fish science.

    5/5 would recommend


  4. Iceland Recommendations

    If you’re a friend of mine, then welcome to my recommendations for Iceland! If you’re stumbling upon this blogpost from the wider web, also welcome! I used to live in Iceland and my partner (Jónsi) is Icelandic. Hence, we get a few requests to provide recommendations for travelling in Iceland. Most of these recommendations are for Reykjavík & the South Coast, as that’s what I’m most familiar with. …


  5. What I've been doing in my 'spare time': The 5th International Conservation Congress

    Ahh hello dear reader, summer greetings and warm salutations to you! It’s been almost a month since the culmination of ~ 1.5 years of working on the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress, held at the end of June in Kuching, Malaysia (on Borneo!). I was the Student Chair / Deputy Co-Chair of the conference as the lion’s shark’s share of my role as the Student Representative to the Board of the Society for Conservation Biology’s Marine Section. …


  6. Research Cruisin': My First Trip with the Irish Marine Institute

    “Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds” …


  7. Sometimes Science is Boring.

    Starting a new year is always slow. For me, after the rush of the holidays, January feels particularly dull. The cold and the dark start to bother me in a way they didn’t before the new year. These days, my looming PhD clock also does nothing to mollify my existential wintertide dread. Ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but, as I feel like I’ve been saying all year, it’s a tough time of year. …


  8. Deck the Halls with Shoals of Mackerel: I Presented a Poster!

    To start my festive season, right around the start of Hanukkah in fact, I attended Ecology Across Borders 2017, hosted by the British Ecological Society (BES), with The Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (GfÖ), Nederlands-Vlaamse vereniging voor ecologie (NecoV), and the European Ecological Federation (EEF) in snowy Ghent, Belgium. …


  9. If you Wannabe their PhD Student: Re-framing Cold Emails

    In her article for FemSTEM, Melissa C. Márquez makes the excellent point that cold emails are an essential part of networking. If you’re not familiar with the term, emails are ‘cold’ when you are contacting someone whom you haven’t met or communicated with previously. They can be scary to send, but they’re how I ended up doing research in Iceland and how I got my PhD project. Cold emails are particularly nerve-wracking when you’re contacting someone you greatly respect. However, in this post, I want to break down the difference between respecting someone and fearing them. I think viewing your worth as equal to those further along in their careers can help combat “imposter syndrome” and improve your self-confidence. I’ll also give you my tried and tested cold email format. …


  10. Highland Statistics or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Stats

    In this post, I’m going to discuss the statistics course I recently attended and my personal history with statistics and mathematics, as I think this is an area where many junior scientists, especially women, feel insecure. The course was with Highland Statistics: Introduction to mixed modelling and GLMM (frequentist & Bayesian approaches). It just so happened to be in Trondheim Norway. A week of statistics and gorgeous scenery, what could be better? …