Exploring the Deep Waters of Research: A journey from Vigo to Bilbao

Dr Tobias Büring

It's been an eventful month for me as I embarked on an academic adventure that took me from the picturesque shores of Vigo, Spain, to the vibrant city of Bilbao. In this newsletter article, I am excited to share my experiences from my recent travels and the valuable insights I gained during my academic journey.


The journey began in Vigo, Spain, where I had the incredible opportunity to defend my PhD thesis on the fascinating Patagonian squid, Doryteuthis gahi. The defense panel comprised esteemed experts in the field: Sebastian Villasante, Anne Marie Power, and Catalina Perales Raya. My presentation, which lasted approximately 40 minutes, was an in-depth exploration of the research I had previously presented at the Fisheries Department in the Falkland Islands.

The real challenge, however, began when the panel delved into a rigorous 1.5-hour questioning session. Their insightful inquiries pushed the boundaries of my knowledge, encouraging me to think critically and provide comprehensive answers. After this intense exchange, I received the gratifying news that my thesis had been graded as “Sobresaliente” (outstanding).

**Bilbao: Networking and Knowledge Exchange at ICES Annual Science Conference**
From Vigo, I headed to the vibrant city of Bilbao to attend the ICES Annual Science Conference. This gathering of scientific minds from around the world proved to be an invaluable experience. I had the pleasure of meeting distinguished scientists such as Graham Pierce and Vladimir Laptikhovsky, providing an excellent opportunity to expand my professional network.

The conference was a melting pot of knowledge, with talks spanning a wide range of topics, including ecosystem-based management, stock assessment methods, and the management of far-ranging migratory species. 
I attended these sessions with great enthusiasm, eager to soak up new insights and perspectives that could benefit my ongoing research.

One of the highlights of the conference was a conversation with a lecturer who introduced me to the world of neural networks, specifically technologies like Keras and TensorFlow. This revelation opened up exciting possibilities for incorporating environmental factors and adopting a multi-species approach to stock assessment. It aligns perfectly with my current project, which involves modeling the spatial and temporal distribution of Illex argentinus based on oceanographic remote sensing data. This technology could potentially revolutionize our approach to assessing the stock of this squid species.

Back to the Falklands, I continued to process remote sensing data, and just learned recently how to identify ocean fronts, such as thermal and chlorophyll hotspots with the R package ‘grec’.

My journey from Vigo to Bilbao was more than just a series of academic events; it was a voyage of discovery and enlightenment. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to defend my thesis and engage with some of the brightest minds in marine research. The knowledge and insights I gained during this journey will undoubtedly shape the future of my research and contribute to our understanding of these remarkable marine species.

As I continue my work on improving the stock assessment of Illex argentinus, I am excited about the potential applications of neural networks and the interdisciplinary collaboration that lies ahead. I look forward to sharing more updates and discoveries with you in the coming months.

Thank you for your continued support, and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or would like to learn more about my research journey.

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