2021. March 4., Thursday
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Diving in his Spare Time

Biologist Dávid Mucsi, graduate of the University of Szeged, spent a month doing research in Hermanus, South Africa. He observed sharks, measured their hormone levels and studied them with video traps.

David Mucsi graduated from the Faculty of Science and Informatics at the University of Szeged with the specialization of supraindividual biologist. In addition to the University of Szeged, he was a guest student at ELTE where he completed four marine biology courses. He wrote his thesis on the mandibular adaptation of cartilaginous fish species.


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- You have chosen an interesting research topic and if we consider the fact that Hungary does not even have a sea…

- Sharks and rays have always been interesting for me since I was a child and the fact I was already doing scuba diving at the time when I had to choose the topic of my thesis helped me in making my final decision. In the beginning I was a little uncertain about the subject as it was hard to imagine how to do such research in a country with no access to any sea, but luckily, on the different social networking sites of research groups dealing with sharks, I spotted an opportunity for a trainee position a month in the Hermanus Shark Conservancy in South Africa. I applied and I got accepted a few weeks after.


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- Could you tell us about your experiences in Africa?

- The research centre is in a town in a fantastic bay about 120 kms away from Cape Town. The head of the South African Shark Conservancy (SASC), Meaghen McCord Gray, made it possible for me to deal with eight different shark species including the ‘big white’. We carried out morphometrical measurements and took DNA samples. I learned how to catch a shark and participated in some ongoing research, such as measuring stress hormone levels of sharks in the presence of sea-lion scent and assessing the population of white sharks living in False Bay. We placed video traps in the sea, which provided information about the diversity of local species. We also marked sharks. Apart from working on the site, we also focused on the documentation and analysis of the measured data. Once a week we took part in lectures where we got an insight into the work of guest lecturers supported by National Geographic and other recognised nature research firms. Weekdays were spent with work (sometimes even Saturdays, too). On the weekends, however, we went diving in nearby waters.


- What kind of prior education do you have in diving?

At the University of Szeged, Attila Cseh introduced me into the world of diving; I am grateful to him for the stable foundations. Currently I’m a Divemaster in the SSI diving system, and I participate in trainings as well along with András Rácz and Róbert John, who are acknowledged representatives of technical dives. My regular divesites include several points in the Adriatic Sea and certain safari routes in the Red Sea. I had the privilege get to the Laccadive Sea surrounding the Maldives, where I could dive with great manta rays and whale sharks.


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- What was your most exciting experience in diving or working in Africa?

- During diving, I met a huge variety of species, such as sea lions, chimaeras. During one of these tours, we went by boat further than the Cape of Good Hope to dive with blue sharks in the open waters. It was a fantastic experience to dive with white sharks: they swam a few meters ahead of us with their deep, pitch-black eyes. From the mainland, I saw hundreds of dolphins, whales, seals and once I met a baboon family. All that I saw, learned, experienced during these four weeks have added a lot to my present knowledge.


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- What are your further goals and plans?

- Currently, I’m studying for my master’s degree at the University of Veterinary Medicine. I visualize shark ethology as my main research topic, which will hopefully contribute to the understanding of these wonderful animals.


Anna Bobkó

Photo: Dávid Mucsi

SZTE Experience

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Hamza Baniata – Faculty of Science and Informatics

I am Hamza Baniata, a first-year student at the Doctoral School of Computer Science, and I am From Jordan. SZTE is continuously supporting research and it has an internationally recognized, highly ranked group of professors. It also offers courses and research topics that are strongly related to my research field; Cloud Computing, Fog Computing and Internet of Things. All of this motivated me to apply to the University/Department of Software Engineering. Szeged is a calm city, full of love and peace. The University of Szeged is similar to the city, which provides the perfect environment for creation and development. Studying at the university requires a high level of effort, commitment and seriousness. Applying to the university and having these characteristics are my two pieces of advice to prospective students. It is very early to define my future now, but I am planning to apply to a research position in my field after graduation and if I had the opportunity, I would love to contribute my effort and knowledge in advancing such a wonderful and respected university.


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Tamerlan Mendybayev – Faculty of Agriculture

My name is Tamerlan Mendybayev. I am from capital of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan. Currently I am first year student at the Faculty of Agriculture. I chose the University of Szeged as my study destination for several reasons: firstly, it is a well-known applied science institution in Europe and the best in Hungary. Secondly, the program is designed with a significant focus on the developing practical skills of the students and there is a University pilot farm where students keen their skills and implement their knowledge in practice. Undoubtedly, University of Szeged is a place where students become professionals in their academic field.

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