A biologist from Ukraine assists our scientists in studying Latvian nature

A biologist from Ukraine assists our scientists in studying Latvian nature

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Sergey Kuznetsov, Latvian Radio-4

“I am Oksana Nekrasova, I work at the Institute of Zoology of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in the Department of Wildlife Monitoring and Protection. I am a candidate of biological sciences, a member of the committee of the Red Book of Ukraine, a member of the committee for the conservation of wild animals. My main focus is herpetology and aquatic animals. Herpetology is the science that deals with the study of amphibians and reptiles.

In 2014, Oksana met biologists from Daugavpils University – Mikhail Pupins and Artur Shkute. Cooperation has been established during this period.

Oksana is now working on two European science projects in Daugavpils after being forced to leave Kyiv because of the war. “I did not understand what was happening until the last moment.

Colleagues from Europe call me, who look at everything that is happening from the outside and ask why I live. I have a war 20-30 kilometers away, because we left Kyiv for a Dhaka. They are bombing, you are constantly hiding in the basement and you think that this is not true, but tomorrow I will wake up and this will not happen. There is no such understanding, because it can not be explained logically. “Because suddenly it is necessary to kill everyone, I do not understand,” the woman shared.

Oksana Nekrasova admits that her Latvian colleagues persuaded her to leave. My daughter and I only got a laptop for work, documents and some sleeping bags that were in the country, and so we went to the train station in Kyiv, as there was certainty that this would not be for long.

“My neighbor wakes me up, he says there are some hotspots on the horizon. And we are on the train. Where are we going? I said I did not care – it flashes, it stops. The train turns off the lights, we stand for a long time in the field. We are waiting for messages, because it is not clear what is ahead, so we reached the border. Friends from Daugavpils University Mikhail and Artur were waiting for us. I am grateful to my colleagues who take care of us and work to evacuate us. “

Now Oksana continues to do research. It models the processes that must solve environmental problems, gives answers to the influence of various factors in nature. For example, in the Oksana Nekrasova database there are about 300 such influencing factors: “We can combine all of these, do modeling, do mathematical research, look for patterns. Identify areas to be protected and make predictions for the future, the so-called scenario. “We can identify areas where the climate is good enough for this species to live, we can predict that.”

Oksana’s field of expertise lies at the intersection of mathematics and biology. Based on the calculations, field studies are being conducted to confirm or disprove whether it is worth releasing these animals into this lake in order to rehabilitate the population.

Raising animals in an incubator is half the job and in order to be able to reproduce successfully in their natural environment, a lot must be taken into account.

“Everything in nature is interconnected, and therefore, when something disappears in nature, it turns out that this leads to the extinction of other animals and plants. All of these are closely related, which is why we say that amphibians are very good biomarkers. – he explained.- When we see that amphibian populations are disappearing, we think immediately. If they disappear, then something is wrong, something is wrong with the water. “This shows that this area can even be a threat to people, something happened there.”

The head of the Latgale Zoo and biologist Mikhail Pupinsh is happy to work with Oksana Nekrasova:

“We have tried to work with Oksana for a long time, but 4-5 years have already passed in official projects. Of the major projects, this is the work of Daugavpils University. This is an aquaculture development and modeling project in Latvia. This is a project with a realistic orientation that allowed the modeling of what is happening in aquaculture. Oksana was one of the leading modeling scientists there.

The work will now be carried out in a pan-European project, which explores the characteristics of the recovery of the sea turtle population throughout Europe. Why does it work in some places and not in others?

“Oksana’s work there is one of the core activities that allows you to assess the quality of these populations, maybe the population is dying not because something is happening, but simply because the climate has changed here. It is time for immigration. No one stays in one place all the time. “Conversely, the climate is changing in such a way that we have to take care of those who are well now,” Pupins said.

Mikhail Pupinsh directly says that the work of Oksana Nekrasova is a strong contribution to Latvian science in terms of what our nature will be like in 20, 30 and even 100 years.

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