Evie Huhtala

evie.huhtala@new.ox.ac.uk

 

Background

Since the terrifying Geography lessons on anthropogenic change in middle school, I’ve wanted to make a difference for nature through my future career, and have later realised that to be at the frontier of this change, and in contact with nature in the work itself (as I’d like to be), that the best way to do this is be involved in the research for solutions to these problems facing nature. The intactness of wilderness and flourishing of ecosystem biodiversity is crucial for the healthy functioning of our Earth System, and its human communities in concert, but is of course increasingly under threat with climate change and unsustainable practices / consumption - which I would love to help mitigate or provide solutions to, through my research.

Though a little torn between studying solutions for climate change or for the sustainable use of natural resources, I was strongly drawn to the masters project I’ve undertaken with Gwilym and Hollie concerning more this sustainability side, as it has a real impact to be made in the monitoring and downstream protection against overfishing in the incredibly valuable reef environments of the Coral Triangle. This project thus bringing me to work with the ICCS that Hollie and Gwilym are a part of, and I am honoured to be involved with.

 

 

you blond woman in a warm blue coat with hood pulled up, she is in the woodsMy secondary research interests include the plant root mycobiome; leading me to pursue a summer research internship with Phil Poole’s rhizosphere lab, and monitoring for the protection of biodiversity; leading me to pursue another summer research internship with Rob Salguero-Gomez and John Jackson estimating calcareous grassland biodiversity using drones. However following each lecture on the Anthropocene given as part of the Ecosystems and Ecology / Ecosystems, Conservation and Sustainable Development modules I’ve taken over the course of my study at Oxford, I’ve increasingly realised the urgency of research needed for the protection of nature across multiple fronts, and that I want to be involved much more closely with the issues facing nature, and in the research for solutions to them, directly. Thus my main research interests are in studying solutions for unsustainable use of / practices in nature (which my masters project pertains to), or in researching viable solutions for climate change, such as the largely un-developed but promising Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement (OAE) carbon negative technology.

 

 

 

My project is in investigating data gaps of small scale fisheries in the Coral Triangle remotely using Google Earth; focusing on Sarawak in Malaysia initially for proof of concept, to scale up if possible to include other areas of the Coral Triangle too, such as the highly biodiverse Bohol Sea of the Philippines. The project involves identifying and characterising potentially unknown small-scale fisheries which are largely unmonitored, and yet contribute significantly to overfishing in the Coral Triangle; developing a database of their locations and characteristics, validating a portion of this data by comparing findings with locations previously reported in the literature, and analysing the data, to make inferences regarding the size, coverage and impact through a proxy of fishing intensity, for these small-scale fleets. I will then develop a sampling protocol for further field-based data collection to build on and validate these findings, and critically assess these methods and results, to hopefully develop a mode of producing robust, valuable estimates of fishing extent and intensity, at a very low cost (being remote), to increase data availability for conservation management, or further research.

 

Employment/Experience:

• Summer research assistance work under Rob Salguero-Gomez and John Jackson at RainDrop, Wytham Woods (16/7/21 - 30/7/21)

• Summer research assistance work with Phil Poole’s Rhizosphere lab, supervised by Andrzej Tkacz (1/9/21 - 1/10/21)

• Placement at the Francis Crick Institute’s Cell cytoplasm and microtubules lab (Summer 2018)

 

Other Experience:

• Volunteering at the Montgomeryshire wildlife trust (2019 - 2021)

• Media director of the Oxford Climate Society (2022 - 2023)

 

Co-author to the paper (pending publishing) “Flexible estimation of biodiversity with short-range multispectral imaging in a temperate grassland” led by John Jackson at the RainDrop site.

 

young woman with very long blonde hair