BIO-info (en)

Tribute for Magnar Aksland

Magnar got his Cand. Real. degree in mathematics in 1971, and was the following year employed as a scientific assistant at the University of Bergen. Here, he was also employed as a university lecturer at the Institute of Mathematics (1973-1975). Further on, Magnar was employed at the Department of Fisheries Biology at UiB from 1975, where he worked as an associate professor until he retired with age pension in 2012.

Magnar was the mathematician at the Institute, and taught the heaviest subjects within modern fisheries biology, where measurements of the populations, age distribution, natural mortality and more were connected in a mathematic virtual population that can be studied in a model tool. Today, computers are able to calculate the conditions of this population with ease, in order to find a sustainable extraction, which forms the foundation of today’s quota.

Magnar was a stringent mathematician, and he taught one of the most important courses in classic fisheries biology: population monitoring. Here, methods of acoustic, trawl cruises, tagging of fish etc were mediated, often with a lot of formulas, including the statistical apparatus behind the modern survey design.

Scientifically, Magnar contributed to the field of biomass measurement of fish on a more fundamental level. He often argued in favor of introducing new technology at an early stage, and this attitude had a great beneficial impact both for the research and for the fishing industry.

Magnar was a competent programmer, who swore to his Macintosh machine, and to pure C programming. The last ten years, he regained interest for acoustics, as he could read raw-digitalized echo signals from split-beam echo sounders with his new Mac. Here, he developed new, interesting methods combining single fish counting and echo integration, which is still not in use on expeditions. Further on, he calculated the statistical benefit and increase in precision, by using multi-beam echo sounders on patches of schooling fish in an elegant way. This is now to be expanded and published by younger scientists.

When Magnar retired with age pension in 2012, he was still in very good shape and we all expected him to hike in the mountains for years to come.

Sadly, this was not the case.

Friends and colleagues at UiB and IMR in Bergen would with this like to shine light on Magnar’s memory.

Egil Ona (IMR/UiB)

Magnar Aksland

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