Chanon Olley



College: College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences
Discipline: Mathematics
Department: Mathematics & Statistics
Research Centre/Unit: CDT in Environmental Intelligence

As a student in the Environmental Intelligence CDT, I have the unique position of being able to work across boundaries between disciplines, connect people together and integrate various ways of thinking. My PhD project is in partnership with Devon Wildlife Trust, which aims to map existing marine habitats that are vital for ecosystems and are excellent for carbon sequestration. The limited habitats remaining around the UK are in need of conservation and restoration. Integration of remote sensing datasets with machine learning will help to automate the mapping process and inform wildlife trusts and other organisations of the habitat locations and drivers of habitat loss, including anthropogenic disturbance and climate change. I will be working alongside geographers, data scientists and ecologists in this endeavour.

The interconnectedness of our world, our oceans and our interaction with the environment means that we must take into account a wide range of perspectives and ways of thinking. I aim to consider non-UK approaches to the sustainable management of coasts, and to thinking about climate change in general, by conducting fieldwork with local communities in another part of the world (TBC). The conflicting unity and duality of humanity and the environment underpins the urgency to reflect on our own practices and core values.

My master's degree in mathematics specialised in applied mathematics, including complexity and mathematical biology. This has given me the ability to think in depth and approach problems by method of transfer learning and adaptation. My brief training in Aikido at the University of Warwick showed me the importance of big-picture thinking and seeing the world through fluxes rather than through compartmentalisation. This way of thinking is greatly applicable to environmental science and is an approach I aim to incorporate in my work.