2020. December 2., Wednesday
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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

93292160_608489396406408_4799535565693255680_oOlney Rodrigues - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

My name is Olney Rodrigues de Oliveira and I am from Brazil. I am currently pursuing my PhD studies in the Doctoral School of Education at SZTE. I chose the University of Szeged because it’s one of the best universities in Europe, especially in the field of education. I personally love Szeged because it is safe and I love the architecture, the cultural events, the local Market Mars Tér and so many other beautiful destinations. For my studies I wanted to have an excellent university in a good quality life city and Szeged offers me that. It’s neither too big nor too small, I can ride my bike to go to my classes and practically everything is within a walking distance. I would advise the prospective students to enjoy the city during their stay, the cultural and historical events, know other international students and make a lot of friends, visit other cities in Hungary and make good memories. I am pretty sure that you will be proud of this priceless experience. Before coming to Hungary I worked several years as a teacher. I love the academic environment, the libraries, relationship with students and the feeling to be involved in the acquisition of new knowledge. That is why I plan to be part of a University as a professor as well as to keep researching in different aspects of the process of education. I am so thankful to be here and I believe that the Universe brought me to Szeged because the city and the University are the experience that I need in my life now.

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Nikki - Faculty of Health Sciences and Social Studies

My name is Nikki and I am from Iran. Currently I am a second year student studying Physiotherapy at the University of Szeged. I really like the Environment of Szeged as it is a true University City where you can meet people from around the world. I consider Szeged as my second home since I have established my own path here and I have a lot of friends who make me feel home. The reason why I came to Szeged is because I was informed by one of my friends about the fact that the University degrees are EU accredited and will help me to reach my goals and open doors for future job opportunities. Once I have obtained my degree, I would like to stay in Hungary and pursue a post graduate program. Later on I will seize the opportunity to gain some job experience in my field here in Hungary before I hold my ground in Europe.

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