I am a Senior Lecturer in Ecological Modelling in the Quantitative and Applied Ecology Group (QAECO) at the University of Melbourne. In this page you can find a bit about my background.
I have a general interest in wildlife monitoring techniques, demography and population dynamics, the study of species distributions, and the statistical methods that underpin these areas. But of course, always keeping in mind the ultimate step: how these feed into the decision-making process for biodiversity conservation and management so that the allocation of the often scarce conservation resources can be optimized. Pressing conservation problems have to be solved in an efficient way, making the best decisions in the light of available knowledge, and cleverly choosing what new information can be useful for achieving our targets!
As an engineer, I am fascinated by the potential of new and emerging technologies to revolutionise the way we collect data about species and habitats. Making the best of this opportunity requires building new bridges with other disciplines and key players, including the Industry. I’m committed to helping move this agenda forward! I’m especially keen in the idea of open-platform collaborative technology development, which I am convinced has an important role to play in enabling the broad-scale intake of technological advances in Conservation and Ecology.
My interest in applied ecology and conservation led me to refocus a career initiated as an R&D telecommunications engineer working in the development of mobile phones for Nokia in Finland.
In 2008, I completed an MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College London organized by Professor E.J. Milner-Gulland and the Zoological Society of London, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. For my project I carried out fieldwork in Madagascar, monitoring Alaotran gentle lemurs (the cutest lemur ever!) among the dense marsh vegetation of the last wetland that this species can call home. I then used the locations of the sightings to create a fine-scale species distribution model based on satellite-derived predictors, to inform conservation of this critically endangered species. At a personal level, I got two conclusions out of my project: that I really liked fieldwork, and that my contribution to the world was more likely to happen using my quantitative skills while sitting in front of a computer!
My next step was a PhD at the department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Kent (UK) with Prof. Byron Morgan, in an ecological statistics group that is part of the UK’s National Centre for Statistical Ecology. I looked at more integrative approaches to study a community of species, including multi-species synchrony in demographic parameters and the role of the environment as a synchronising and asynchronysing driver. Within the framework of Integrated Population Modelling (the simultaneous estimation of abundance and the demographic parameters driving its fluctuations), I investigated the population changes happening at the seabird breeding community on the Isle of May (Scotland) using census, ringing and productivity data gathered over 25 years, making inference within the Bayesian framework.
Finally, here’s a picture of the books I have on my shelf, in case they say something about myself!