Research groups of the Ecosystems and Environment research programme

Below are the introductions of the research groups that operate partly or wholly at the research programme in alphabetical order.


Aquatic Biogeochemistry Research Unit
Group leader: Tom Jilbert
In Aquatic Biogeochemistry Research Unit we study how the essential elements of life, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and silicon cycling are cycled in water and sediment. These are the key nutrients whose availability determine the distribution of life in Earth’s aquatic environments. 

Group leader: Anne Ojala
Algological Research Group is studying algae from versatile angles - we combine basic and applied research and try to understand how algae adapt to their environment and how this knowledge can be used when solving sustainability problems.

Aquatic Ecotoxicology in an Urban Environment

Arctic Ecosystems Research
Group leader: David N Thomas

The aim is to integrate biogeochemical & ecological research within and between “systems” in the Arctic through national and international collaborative research. This will be done by bringing wide-ranging research expertise together to form complimentary research together to help answer big questions such as: How will interconnected Arctic ecosystems change in the rapidly changing climate? Closely associated with this are the questions of how such changes will impact on society. Therefore, a strong goal for the group is that the research outputs will be pertinent for stakeholders and policy makers.


Benthic Ecology Team Tvärminne
Group leader: Alf Norkko
The benthic ecology team at TZS focuses on marine ecology, from basic science to more applied conservation and management issues. Research lines include disturbance ecology, spatial ecology, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, climate change, invasive species ecology and food-web interactions.


Comprehensive and sustainable systemic change
– a network for comprehensive and sustainable systemic change

Creative adaptation to wicked socio-environmental disruptions (WISE)
WISE aims to improve decision making over wicked socio-environmental disruptions and to increase Finland’s resilience and adaptation to such disruptions.


Group leader: Atte Korhola

The central research theme in ECRU is the development and application of empirical, geospatial, computational and modeling tools to detect global environmental changes and to analyse their ecological and societal impacts. We mostly work on the arctic environment that is undergoing rapid change...

Environmental Policy Research Group (EPRG)
Group leader: Janne I. Hukkinen
EPRG studies the socio-cognitive aspects of environmental policies and sustainable technologies. Since 2008, several research projects have built up the group’s competence in environmental risk governance, knowledge integration in environmental and technology issues, and sustainability indicators and scenarios.


Group leader: Susanna Lehvävirta

Interdisciplinary research in man-made urban green infrastructure, including green roofs and walls providing many ecosystem services in built areas.

Fisheries and Environmental management
Group leader: Sakari Kuikka
The Fisheries and Environmental Management Group focuses on the interaction between ecosystems and human society. We identify the risks in the use of natural resources, carry out decision analysis between the renewable resources and biodiversity, and integrate the different sources of data and knowledge using Bayesian analysis.

Human-Nature Transformations
Group leader: Christopher Raymond
In the Human-Nature Transformations Research Group we develop inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches for recognising diverse human-nature relationships and for promoting transformations toward a just, healthy and sustainable future.


Lake Ecosystem Dynamics
Group leader: Jukka Horppila
Our research focuses on the functioning of lake ecosystems, especially on food web interactions and their implications on lake management, and on the connections between top-down and bottom-up regulators in the pelagic and littoral zones of lakes.


Group leader: Alf Norkko

The Marine Ecosystems Research Group (MERG) at the University of Helsinki combines researchers focusing on marine biodiversity and ecology to biogeochemistry, physics and ecosystem modelling.

Marine risk governance group
Group leader: Päivi Haapasaari
MARISK explores marine and maritime risks and environmental problems in their societal and governance context, using social scientific and interdisciplinary methods.


Nature-Based Solutions
Group leader: Aki Sinkkonen
Nature-Based Solutions Research Group concentrates to solve globally significant environmental problems. Research objects range from micro-organisms to ecosystems and to people prone to man-made environmental changes.


Sustainable Urban Systems
Group leader: Sanna Ala-Mantila
Our interest in SUS is to detect, define, and address externalities associated with urban living and environments, focusing on ultimately improving human and planetary wellbeing. This requires systemic understanding on urban areas.


Terrestial Interactions
Group leader: Juha Mikola
In our research group, we are interested in how plant and decomposer communities interact in terrestrial ecosystems, how herbivore communities can manipulate this interaction and how these interactions together control the functioning and climatic responses of terrestrial ecosystems.


Group leader: Heikki Setälä

Exploring the structure and functioning of urban green- and blue spaces

Urban Environmental Policy
Group leader: Sirkku Juhola
The topics of our research group relate to climate change adaptation, maladaptation and climate change mitigation.