Murat – Life Science Informatics, MSc

I’m Murat, a first-year student in the Life Science Informatics master’s programme, and I’m excited to be one of this year’s HiLIFE Research Trainees! As part of a 4 month internship, I’ll be working with the Environmental and Ecological Statistics group at the University of Helsinki, along with the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), to develop mathematical and statistical models to predict the fate of Baltic ringed and grey seal populations. Our aim is primarily to determine the impact of ice cover loss, hunting, and accidental entanglements in fishing nets on future population sizes.

Being a seal in the Baltic is no picnic. Just a few decades ago, these charming pinnipeds were on the brink of extinction due to pollution and intensive hunting. Populations in the southern Baltic are still small and vulnerable, but northern populations have made a remarkable recovery thanks to hunting regulations and improvements in environmental conditions. They are even causing a bit of a stir among local fishermen who are having to compete with them for fish! By understanding how different management decisions might affect seal populations, we can better protect these amazing animals while also addressing the economic needs of local fisheries.

As an ex-engineer and financial analyst, I never imagined that I’d have the opportunity to work on a project that involves my long-standing love of wildlife. I’m thrilled to be a part of this project and can’t wait to see what insights our models will uncover.

See Murat’s introduction in Instagram, with some fascinating visuals: (posted on April 24, 2023).