I am interested in spatial ecology, statistics, and conservation. My studies have focused on species’ spatial distributions from a methodological and a theoretical point of view. I develop statistical models for estimating species-habitat associations and predicting species distributions across their ranges. My methodological toolkit comprises statistical models, hierarchical Bayesian inference and spatially explicit functions. I am also interested in applying model outputs in conservation planning and decision making, for example estimating utilities of protected areas to species.
Before starting at Yale, I did my PhD at the University of Helsinki in Finland, where I studied spatio-temporal distribution of Arctic marine mammals along the Siberian Arctic coastline. I developed methods for integrating different data sets to tackle the shortage of survey data in that area. I used the modeling approach to quantify the stress from environmental change and risks from marine traffic on the marine mammals. As the result, I predicted the mortality risks of marine mammals due to oil accidents in the Siberian Arctic.
In the future, I will keep on developing spatio-temporal methods for species distribution modeling. The most interesting research ideas deal with integrating heterogeneous data sets in joint analysis and linking individual, population, and species level information to study species distributions in higher detail.
Weigel, B., Mäkinen, J., Kallasvuo, M., & Vanhatalo, J. (2021). Exposing changing phenology of fish larvae by modeling climate effects on temporal early life-stage shifts. Marine Ecology. Progress Series.
Vanhatalo, J., Huuhtanen, J., Bergström, M., Helle, I., Mäkinen, J., & Kujala, P. (2021). Probability of a ship becoming beset in ice along the Northern Sea Route–A Bayesian analysis of real-life data. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 184, 103238.
Helle, I., Mäkinen, J., Nevalainen, M., Afenyo, M., & Vanhatalo, J. (2020). Impacts of oil spills on Arctic marine ecosystems: A quantitative and probabilistic risk assessment perspective. Environmental science & technology, 54(4), 2112-2121.
Mäkinen, J., & Vanhatalo, J. (2018). Hierarchical Bayesian model reveals the distributional shifts of Arctic marine mammals. Diversity and Distributions, 24(10), 1381-1394.
Mäkinen, J., & Vanhatalo, J. (2016). Hydrographic responses to regional covariates across the K ara S ea. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 121(12), 8872-8887.