New PhD Thesis: Knowledge-based marine conservation in oil spill risk management

Master of Science Riikka Venesjärvi will defend her PhD thesis at the University of Helsinki, Main Building, room 5, Fabianinkatu 33, Helsinki, on 13th of May 2016 at 12 noon.

The results of her thesis, partly carried out in former OILRISK project, demonstrate that environmental risk assessment models can be used to structure problems, integrate knowledge and uncertainty, and persuade decision-makers by visualizing the results. Since the objective of risk assessment is to synthesize information for environmental management and policy design, which should rely on the extensive use of scientific evidence, communication between academia and decision-makers is of great importance.

The main findings is that in oil spill risk management, the marine ecosystem should be prioritized based on its conservation value, recovery potential and protection effectiveness. Secondly, because preventive measures against oil accidents are considered cost-effective, maritime safety should be increased, with stricter and regional ship inspection practices. The effects of policy innovations should be assessed using probabilistic policy-support tools.

The opponent will be Assoc. Prof. Mark Dickey-Collas, Science Programme in General Secretary, International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), Denmark, and the custos Professor JUkka Horppila, Departnment of Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland.

The thesis is available online via  HELDA service.