Working with sea turtles has always been on the list of "things to do" for me. I had the amazing opportunity to be trained as a student in Italy by, in my opinion, one of the greatest sea turtle researcher, Dr Sandra Hochscheid, at the Zoological Station in Naples. http://www.szn.it
During my time in Naples I fell in love with ecology, conservation and movement ecology and I established a long term connection with Sandra. After my PhD, with better quantitative skills, I took the opportunity to collaborate with Sandra and help in the analysis of part of an Argos dataset on large juvenile individuals of Caretta caretta inhabiting the Mediterranean sea.
I acquired my PhD at the University of Aberdeen in November 2017. What a fantastic journey! My PhD was funded by the NERC CASE scheme and I was lucky I had amazing supervisors from RSPB and Marine Scotland Science as CASE partners. For my PhD I focused on two species of diving seabirds: Common guillemot (Uria aalge) and Razorbill (Alca torda)
As already started during my master, I kept nourishing my desire for learning about modelling, both statistical modelling and individual based modelling. So, during the PhD time I developed the quantitative skills necessary to analyse high frequency and multi-dimensional bio-logging data collected with GPS, time-depth recorders and accelerometers on diving seabirds. I highlighted the necessity for developing novel applications for the analysis of extremely detailed movement data. By using unsupervised machine learning algorithms, GAMs and hierarchical models, I addressed questions related to behavioural characterisation, behavioural responses to varying different types of food resources and habitat profitability, and the role of effort and past experience in determining the type of behaviour performed (Chimienti et al. 2016, 2017). These questions are steps that contribute to the bigger aim of understanding how animals adapt and respond to changes in habitat characteristics.