Pirta Palola is a PhD student at the Oxford Seascape Ecology Lab. Coming from a multidisciplinary background in biology and economics, she has a deep interest in the interdisciplinary study of complex adaptive systems. In her past research, she has studied the effects of multiple anthropogenic stressors on marine ecosystems using computational modelling. Furthermore, she has worked on the monetary and non-monetary valuation of natural capital.
In her PhD research, she studies land-sea connectivity in tropical coastal environments using remote sensing and machine learning technologies. Specifically, she is interested in the spatial-temporal patterns of nutrient flows across the land-sea interface and their ecological significance. Ultimately, her work seeks to inform land-sea management strategies that support the resilience of coastal ecosystems to climate change.
During her placement at The Alan Turing Institute, Pirta works on developing a deep learning-based tool for mapping and monitoring nutrient flows in tropical coastal environments. The mapping of nutrient flows in coastal waters is based on capturing the spectral signature of chlorophyll-a (proxy for nutrient concentration) from drone and satellite data. The deep learning models for nutrientscape mapping are evaluated on field data collected from multiple study sites in French Polynesia. In sum, Pirta’s project aims to: 1) advance deep learning approaches to better understand and manage tropical coastal ecosystems globally; 2) enable scientists to leverage an open-source tool to gain new insights to the ecological significance of nutrient connectivity.