Institute Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden
I am a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher (ESR) from Georgia within the Pontocaspian Biodiversity Rise and Demise Program (PRIDE). My major responsibilities in the PRIDE Program are: (1) Establishing and maintaining web-based experimental interfaces for PRIDE datasets, models and databases as main data depository, dissemination, interactive modeling, and communication platform and (2) Establishing an effective communication strategy for policy makers, NGO’s, and the general public through stakeholder analyses. The resulting communication strategy will be used to design the Pontocaspian Information System PC-IS interface to allow stakeholders to retrieve relevant information and perform simplified model simulations of biotic responses to various global climate and environmental change scenarios.
I completed my Bachelor of Science degree at the Tbilisi State University, Georgia in the Department of Exact and Natural Sciences with a major in Biology. Afterwards, I pursued my Master's studies in the Munich Graduate School for Evolutionary Genomics, Ecology and Systematics at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich. For my master’s thesis I worked in the aquatic ecology department under the supervision of Prof. Herwig Stibor and Dr. Gabriele Trommer, researching the impacts of additional, anthropogenic nitrogen deposition on the plankton communities in Upper Bavarian lake ecosystems. After successful completion of my master’s studies I returned back to my country and joined the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia. In the Ministry I applied for the German government program “Migration for Development” and became a CIM (Centre for International Migration and Development) Returning Expert under the GIZ, working for sustainable development. Particularly, I worked for public awareness raising for the first one year at the Legal Entity of Public Law (LEPL) Environmental Information and Education Centre of the Ministry and later I moved to the Service of Biodiversity Protection where I was coordinating the National Biodiversity Monitoring System of Georgia (NBMS).
My research interests have always been oriented on evolutionary biology, biogeography and global change ecology related sciences however, working in the Ministry gave me slightly different perspectives on my future career pursuits.
Working at a decision making agency, especially at the Service of Biodiversity Protection granted me the opportunity of getting familiar with decision making processes, and how different conventions or agreements between the countries work. Also, I had an opportunity of regularly attending the meetings with scientific institutions and NGOs on the implementation of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan of Georgia (NBSAP) and taking part in the priority setting and strategic planning. On the other hand I worked at the LEPL 'Environmental Information and Education Centre' on implementation of the Aarhus Convention in Georgia and public awareness raising on different environmental topics. This enlightened me on the importance of information sharing and public participation in decision making processes. These experiences have broadened my scope and changed my views. So, currently I am very much interested in understanding the complex nature of science-policy and science-society interfacing for the sake of biodiversity protection. Particularly, understanding how the system works to reach the common goal, what are the shortcomings, solutions for those shortcomings and the role of science communication and outreach in resolving the biodiversity conservation related issues.
Current research topics
(1) Social network structure analyses behind the conservation organisations, academia and the government in Ukraine and Romania for understanding how Pontocaspian biodiversity related environmental issues are shared and communicated among different actors.
(2) Environmental policy analyses in Ukraine and in Romania to compare a non-EU conservation policy framework with the legislation which is in place in Romania, an EU representative. Both countries share responsibilities regarding the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve and the Black Sea.
(3) Researching public awareness on biodiversity in Ukraine and Romania for establishing the baseline conditions and exploring successful ways of practicing the citizen science in these two countries.
English advanced (C1)
Russian intermediate (B2)
German intermediate (B1)