Irina is a marine mammal biologist specializing in pagophilic seal species research and conservation with a main focus on land-locked and semi-land-locked populations. She is a post-doctoral researcher supported by the UW Future of Ice Initiative and NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Lab (NMML).
In 2009, she earned a Diploma with distinctions, majoring in Biodiversity and Nature Conservation. In 2013, she earned her PhD in Ecology at St. Petersburg State University in Russia.
Recognized for the caliber of her international cooperative skills and marine expertise, Irina was awarded the competitive Global Fellowship in Marine Conservation offered by the Duke University Marine Laboratory in 2013. Before coming to the Polar Science Center, Irina was part of the Baltic Fund for Nature in Russia, and collaborated with ASCOBANS, the Marine Mammal Commission (USA), Metsähallitus Nature Heritage Service (Finland), and the Council of Europe. Her international joint efforts included seal aerial surveys, tagging projects, and studies of seal-fisheries conflict and seal population threats in the Baltic, Caspian, and Irish seas, as well as in Lake Ladoga.
With the guidance by her supervisors Drs. Kristin Laidre (PSC/UW-APL) and Peter Boveng (NMML), Irina’s goal is to assess the resilience of ice-associated seals to a warming climate and loss of ice in the Sea of Okhotsk. Her current project actively engages her other science and research interests of mathematics, programming, and practical conservation. Her endeavors to study the ice-associated seal species in the Sea of Okhotsk will involve abundance estimates and distribution maps, compiling extensive data from Soviet-era archives from the 1960s-1980s, and model constructs for population viability. These elements will help provide a well-defined case study that demonstrates the uncertainties of species’ resilience to climate change due to their inability to shift ranges. Irina looks for forward to further exploring the broad field of marine conservation biology, hopefully making a significant contribution through research and newly developed approaches.
Irina’s previous projects:
2011-2015: Bering and Okhotsk Sea Seal Survey (BOSS) – data analysis and reporting
2009-2015: Caspian International Seal Survey (University of Leeds, UK) – Irina was part of the annual field expeditions out of Kazakhstan, applying her skills as a seal specialist and marine mammal observer on industrial icebreakers. She was also a trainer for the observer program.
2014: Telemetric study of ringed seals in the Gulf of Finland – field work, project administration
2013-2014: Russian static acoustic monitoring of Baltic harbour porpoise (RUMBAH) – project coordination, data analysis and reporting
2011-2012: Assessment of ringed seal bycatch in commercial fisheries and its impact on seal populations in Lake – Ladoga, Northwest Russia – project coordination, aerial surveying, field work, data analysis, etc.
2009-2010: Development of regional protected areas in North-West Russia – project coordination and reporting.