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Meet our Biology alumni

Nina Black, MSc in Biology, Animal Ecology, 2022

Curatorial assistant in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge

Museum specimens

I am currently a curatorial assistant in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. My job is part of a National Science Foundation grant working to preserve genetic material from primary type specimens. Primary type specimens are the individual specimens that were used to describe a species and are among the most important specimens in museum
collections because they are used to determine new species. Throughout the week, I go around to different collections and subsample tissue from the type specimens and place the samples into the museum’s cryogenic collection for long term preservation. What’s cool about this job is that I have gotten to work in the Ichthyology, Ornithology, Malacology, Mammalogy, and Invertebrate Zoology collections. If you are interested in this project here is a link for more information: Preserving the Genomes of the Type Specimens

In addition to my work with type specimens, I prepare study skins for the Ornithology collection. This involves removing all the organs and tissue of the bird, stuffing it with cotton, sewing it up, and repositioning the feathers. Once the skin is dry, it goes into the collection.

Previously I did several years of field work in the United States, such as a tern colony nest-monitoring study, a field sparrow nest-searching job, as well as many years volunteering and working as a bird ringer at different stations. I also used to work in a reception at a gym, and I want to point out that even though that job was really boring and you had to deal with all kinds of people, it was a valuable experience because I learned a lot about patience and now I know how to deal with customer service.

During my Master's I had great encouragement and freedom to choose what I wanted to study. In my final semester at Lund, I was able to secure an internship at the University of Copenhagen Zoological Museum, which counted towards my degree. That internship is the reason why I am working at my current job.

I was also involved in the Post-LUVRE bird ringing project in Ammarnäs, where I gathered data for my master’s thesis project. This was my favorite task during my studies in Lund because I got to do something I am passionate about in the most beautiful place on Earth, an experience I could not have gotten anywhere else. I also went back to Ammarnäs 2 more times on my own after finishing my program and will probably be back again soon!!

What I really loved about my master’s program and my time in Lund was how comfortable it felt to be in the department and how close-knit all the people in my program were. I felt really at ease going to professors asking for help. I also felt that all of us students in my program were like a unit, and although we worked on different topics and had different interests, we helped each other a lot.

Lund University is a great choice because you will be surrounded by cool, smart people from many different places and backgrounds, you will have the freedom to study however and whatever you like, and you will always be able to find help for whatever challenges you. Also there is really good Italian food in the Ekologihuset. 


Rieke Lo Madsen, MSc in Biology with specialisation in Ecology, 2020

PhD student at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences

sampling mosses

My research focus on monitoring carbon fluxes to and from forest soils. The aim is to explore possible effects of forest management on the carbon balance. The work includes a lot of field sampling, but I also get to teach, work in the lab and behind the desk.

During my first summer after coming to Lund I joined an extensive field work campaign where we measured carbon stocks in areas, throughout Sweden, that were affected by the 2018 forest fires. After finishing my MSc, I got employed for a second round of field work on the same project. In Lund, I also worked in the botanical garden, both as a student guide and as an assistant in their shop. Previously, I have been working as a teaching assistant in various botany courses. 

The first master's course that I followed, Soil and Plant Ecology, was very inspiring to me: We were challenged through semi-independent research projects that included field sampling and various laboratory analyses. This spiked my interest in biogeochemistry, which I explored further by including courses from the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science. In my work now, I use several of the field and lab techniques that I learned during my studies in Lund!

The flexibility that I had in my master's programmed allowed me to not feel locked on one path but to explore and find inspiration during my studies. I truly enjoyed my time in Lund, also due to the distinct social atmosphere: I lived in a so-called “nation” and participated in voluntary work. I quickly found good friends and felt a sense of community. 

If you are looking for a master's programme that can offer freedom and structure at the same time, a master's in biology at Lund University is a great choice. You can expect to meet enthusiastic lecturers who are good disseminators and up-to-date on their field of research. Studying at Lund University I experienced an open, diverse, and international environment that surely broadened my perspective.


Hannah Burger, MSc in Conservation Biology, 2020

Environmental Analyst at the Swedish Species Information Centre, SLU Artdatabanken

Field work in the mountains

I now work at SLU Artdatabanken (Swedish Species Information Centre), at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Uppsala. Artdatabanken is, amongst other things, known for making the red list of Sweden, providing information on the taxonomy of Swedish species and for Artportalen, a citizen science portal where anyone can report in species observations.

Here I work with (geographical) data analysis of citizen science data, specifically that of protected species.

After my master’s, I studied Swedish and did an internship at the Biological museum at Lund University. I really enjoyed getting to know the people working at the Department of Biology and exploring the entomological collections hidden in the basement of the Ecology Building. When I felt comfortable enough speaking Swedish, I worked with science communication at Söderåsen National Park. It was a lot of fun to make exhibitions, write folders, hold guided tours and organise scavenger hunts and other activities. 

From my education at Lund University, I have, especially, use of the critical thinking and presenting skills that we got to develop further during the master’s. The atmosphere at the lectures and seminars was really good and questions and discussions were always encouraged (no matter how “stupid” the question may seem to you). I really liked that it was so flexible and that you could make the master’s your own. If I wanted to take an extra course at another university (also outside Sweden), that always seemed possible. 
While the education was great, I feel that the best things with my master’s program and my time in Lund have been the friends and connections I’ve made. I feel very fortunate to have met so many nice people and can only think back fondly of my master’s. 

If you’re into birds, Lund is the place for you. A lot of cool research on bird ecology and biology is being done in Lund and the researchers are always happy to chat about birds. But “even” for us non-birders (or semi-birders), there is a lot of opportunity here for a good education, tailored to your interests, in an encouraging and healthy learning environment.