skip to content

University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute

 

Biography

Prem Gill is a PhD candidate leading the "Seals from Space: the study of Antarctic pack-ice seals by remote sensing" priority project with the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Outside of this, Prem is heavily interested in increasing opportunities for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) and working class persons to attend leading institutes / universities and enter non-typical fields (e.g. polar and conservation science).

As part of this, Prem has a founded a network to support, connect and highlight ethnic minorities in polar research (https://twitter.com/PolarImpact). In addition, in Prem’s role as British Antarctic Survey’s ECR Diversity Champion, he is also working with the Foreign Office to develop a Diversity in Antarctic Science Strategy to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Antarctica's discovery. The aim is to attract and retain talent from under-represented groups. Prem plans to hold a seminar highlighting minorities in the polar field and establish a shadowing scheme to pair up STEM grads from under-represented groups with polar scientists.

Currently, Prem is involved in two public engagement projects: an immersive virtual reality art exhibition utilising audio and imagery from his Antarctic seal research with the Alan Turing Institute; and a WWF and FCO project showing the history of man’s interaction with Antarctic seals from exploitation to conservation.

Research

Antarctic ice seals are long-lived, upper trophic level predators and amongst the largest consumers of Antarctic krill. The monitoring of Antarctic ice seal populations can indicate changes in the Antarctic ecosystem's status and health. However, Antarctic seals inhabit the dynamic and inaccessible sea ice zone, making traditional survey methods (e.g. by boat and plane) logistically difficult. As a result of these challenges, reliable population estimates and habitat information for ice seals are critically lacking. To overcome the limitations of traditional surveys, Prem's research looks into the use of very high-resolution (VHR) satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery to study Antarctic ice seals. The overall aim is to develop a novel and reliable computer vision model that utilises VHR satellite and UAV imagery for dynamic conservation management and planning at regional scales.

Other Professional Activities

  • Polar Impact: Ethnic Minorities in Polar Science (Founder).
  • Early Career Research (ECR) Diversity Champion, British Antarctic Survey.
  • Diversity in Antarctic Science Initiative - steering committee member, Foreign and Commonwealth Office / British Antarctic Survey.
  • BAS Artificial Intelligence Lab (Member).
  • Cambridge Group for Earth Observation (Member).
  • "Exploitation to conservation: the cultural and ecological significance of past, present and future interactions between man and seal within Antarctica" – An awareness-raising, WWF and FCO funded, Public Engagement project to mark the 200th Anniversary of the discovery of the South Shetland Islands. Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Polar Regions Department and WWF.
  • Seals from Space VR Art Installation - “An immersive VR experience with visuals of the seals and the Antarctic coupled with a UK urban soundtrack interlaced with the calls of the seals. Aimed at a 12 - 19 years old audience we want to showcase the conservation efforts of BAS and how data science techniques with satellite data can be used to monitor and help scientists mitigate and manage the environmental damage being caused by humanity. This is to encourage the audience of the possible career opportunities in conservation and data science”. British Antarctic Survey and the Alan Turing Institute.
PhD Candidate
BAS Early Career Researcher (ECR) Diversity Champion

Affiliations

Classifications: 
Research keywords: 
Social
Biodiversity
Business
Climate Change
Conservation
Conservation Biology
Disturbance
Ecosystems
Landscape Ecology
Modelling
Philosophy
Sustainability