"Since I was a child, I have always loved the outdoors. My love for the natural environment evolved into a pursuit of a career in geology and environmental sciences at Victoria University of Wellington."
After completing the MSc at the Antarctic Research Centre, Olya decided to take a break from academia and began working as an environmental geologist for an engineering company. Through this work, she was exposed to planning and adaptation for climate change impacts and realised this is the topic she would love to explore further through PhD studies.
"Enrolling at ARC for a PhD and working with the NZ SeaRise Programme, under the supervision of Associate Professor Richard Levy, has enabled me to pursue my passion", says Olya.
Olya's PhD project investigates the carbon sequestration potential of Aotearoa’s saltmarshes and their resilience to the future impacts of sea-level rise.
"Our coastal wetlands are key to mitigating future impacts of climate change as they sequester and store large quantities of atmospheric carbon in their soils. Coastal wetlands could therefore play an important role in Aotearoa’s journey towards a zero-carbon future and present a unique opportunity as nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation. However, very little is known about Aotearoa’s coastal wetlands. Many of them have been drained without any clear understanding of the impact on wildlife or carbon sequestration and what the implications will be for such land with sea-level rise. The remaining wetlands are under pressure from surrounding land use and rising sea levels."
Olya believes that this project has the potential to provide the data and direction needed for establishing a blue carbon credit scheme in Aotearoa and inform land-use and coastal adaptation planning.