Professor of Baltic Sea research at Tvärminne Zoological Station (TZS), Royal guest professor at the Baltic Sea Centre, Stockholm University

My role is to broadly promote Baltic Sea research and synthesis and marine ecological research. In my own research I work with understanding marine ecosystem processes in general and the ecology of seafloor habitats in particular. I am broadly interested in community ecology, exploring the value of biodiversity and the mechanisms important for its maintenance, and promoting basic science as a solid knowledge base to support decision-making. Examples of current research questions being addressed include the biodiversity of seafloor communities and their influence on carbon and nutrient transformation and retention along environmental gradients in coastal ecosystems, and cross-habitat quantifications of ecosystem metabolism and habitat-function relationships across coastal seafloor habitats.

Examples of current research projects:

  • The breathing seascape: resolving ecosystem metabolism and habitat-function relationships across coastal habitats. PI: Academy of Finland (01.09.2016 - 1.08.2020).
  • BONUS COCOA - Nutrient cocktail in coastal zones of the Baltic Sea – improving understanding of the transformation and retention of nutrients and organic matter in the coastal zone. Co-PI: funded jointly by the EU and the Academy of Finland (2014-2017).
  • Mångfaldens betydelse i våra kustvatten - hur påverkar miljöförändringar de ekosystemtjänster som våra kustnära vattenområden tillhandahåller? Co-ordinator: funded by Sophie von Julins Stiftelse (2017-2021).

Alf’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Alf’s profile in Google Scholar.

Research coordinator, acting director at TZS

I am currently the acting director as well as a research coordinator at TZS. My role is to facilitate all research projects at the station and to represent the station in different research infrastructure networks. I also work with general outreach, information and media contacts. I am a marine benthic ecologist with a particular interest in the links between soft-sediment invertebrate fauna, including invasive species, and ecosystem functioning. I want to know how environmental change, such as eutrophication, hypoxia, climate change, ocean acidification, invasive species, and the increasing amounts of microplastics in the sea, affects the benthic fauna and subsequently ecosystem functioning.

Examples of current research projects:

  • The breathing seascape: resolving ecosystem metabolism and habitat-function relationships across coastal habitats. Team member, Academy of Finland (01.09.2016 - 1.08.2020).
  • BONUS COCOA - Nutrient cocktail in coastal zones of the Baltic Sea – improving understanding of the transformation and retention of nutrients and organic matter in the coastal zone. Team member, funded jointly by the EU and the Academy of Finland (2014-2017).

Joanna’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Joanna’s profile in Google Scholar.

PhD student at TZS.

The intensity and frequency of marine heatwaves have increased globally not sparing the Baltic Sea, an environment already stressed by e.g. eutrophication and hypoxia. My research focuses on the impact of such episodic events on benthic communities and the maintenance of their respective ecosystem functioning of bioturbation and nutrient cycling. Organisms possess different strategies in adapting to changing environmental conditions – but what are the consequences of prompt, intense changes? What traits are favorable in coping with such events? Additionally, I will also assess what habitats (seagrass meadows, bladder wrack belt, mussel bed, etc.) are most susceptible to marine heatwaves.

Current research project:

  • The role of episodic events for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in coastal waters. Funded by Walter & Andrèe de Nottbeck Foundation.

Post-doctoral researcher at TZS

Seagrasses and other aquatic plants are foundation species that maintain biodiversity and modify the abiotic and biotic environment. They form vast underwater meadows that can contain up to 8-9 co-occurring plant species. My research interests lie in the field of marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning with a focus on submerged vegetation i.e. seagrasses and other vascular aquatic plants. More specifically, I explore how aquatic plant functional diversity in terms of functional traits can be linked to ecosystem processes (e.g. primary production and nutrient cycling) and properties (community resilience and recovery) in submerged aquatic plant meadows.

Current research projects:

  • Functional traits in diverse seagrass communities: the relative importance and roles of effect and response traits. PI: Academy of Finland (01.09.2016-31.08.2019).
  • Relationships between plant traits and ecosystem processes along environmental gradients in temperate plant communities. PI: Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation (01.01.2015-31.12.2018).
  • Diversity strikes back: Does functional diversity enhance resilience in vegetated benthic communities. Co-PI. The Swedish Cultural Foundation (2018).

Camilla’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Camilla’s profile in Google Scholar.

 

I am studying sediment erodibility and resuspension in coastal areas of the Baltic Sea. I am specifically interested in the environmental drivers behind the spatial and temporal variability of sediment erodibility in natural environments.

Current research projects:

  • Sediment erodibility and resuspension in shallow coastal areas of the Baltic Sea. Funded by Heikki ja Hilma Honkasen säätiö, Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation, Onni Talaan säätiö (2015-2018).
  • BONUS COCOA - Nutrient cocktail in coastal zones of the Baltic Sea – improving understanding of the transformation and retention of nutrients and organic matter in the coastal zone. Funded jointly by the EU and the Academy of Finland (2014-2017).

Mari's profile in the University of Helsinki research portal.

PhD student at TZS

The project examines the role of increasing accumulations of drifting detritus on the organic carbon fate of key coastal habitats in the Baltic Sea. The overall aim of this project is to study the fate of macroalgae-derived organic carbon, and examine how detritus source characteristics might affect the composition of organic carbon in coastal areas influenced by large external inputs of algal detritus. An additional aim is to investigate how this role may change seasonally.

Current research project:

  • The effects of increasing accumulations of algal detritus on the fate of organic carbon in shallow coastal habitats from the Baltic Sea. Funded by the Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation.

Kahma's profile in the University of Helsinki research portal.

Post-doctoral researcher at TZS

Climate change, eutrophication and species introductions promote changes in the structure and function of marine benthic communities. My research focuses on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in the benthos with a special emphasis on invasive species. I am interested in what affects the structuring of the communities, and how the biotic and abiotic interactions affect the outcome of different processes. More specifically I am studying the effects of macrofauna and environmental factors on bioturbation and nutrient cycling in the coastal environment.

Current research projects:

  • Changes in the population of a key species, Limecola balthica, 1926-2017. Post doc, funded by Viking Line, (2018).
  • Diversity strikes back: Does trait diversity enhance resilience in aquatic plant and faunal ecosystems. Co-PI: funded by Svenska Kulturfonden (2017-2022).
  • Chasing a moving target: From wriggling worms in the warming mud to ecosystem-level effects and management of our valuable seas. Post doc, funded by the Nottbeck foundation (2019-2020).

Laura’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Laura’s profile in Google Scholar.

PhD student at TZS

I explore the role of benthic animals for carbon and nutrient cycling in the Baltic Sea. Coastal ecosystems are highly threatened by climate change and eutrophication, with harmful consequences for biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Benthic macrofaunal communities play a pivotal role in biogeochemical cycling and can increase the nutrient binding capacity of the seafloor, which enhances ecosystem resistance to eutrophication. I am adapting theories of ecological stoichiometry to explore the elemental contents in benthic invertebrates to see whether these animals function as nutrient sinks or sources in the ecosystem. I am very interested in biological traits, and the goal of my research is to understand how the features of animals are linked to whole ecosystem processes.

Current research project:

  • Elemental stoichiometry of benthic invertebrates as driver of coastal biogeochemical cycles. PI Anna Villnäs. Funded by University of Helsinki and the Nottbeck foundation (2019-2021).

Researcher at TZS

Our coastal environments provide a wide range of essential ecosystem functions and services. These diverse, productive environments are threatened by disturbances such as climate change and eutrophication. As a marine benthic ecologist, I explore how structural and functional aspects of biodiversity relates to ecosystem functions and services, and how changes in the environment affect this relationship. In current research, I use biological traits to estimate the role of benthic fauna for carbon and nutrient turnover in the coastal ecosystem. Although I perform basic ecological research, I strive to make research findings relevant for environmental management and for the general public.

Current research projects:

  •  Mångfaldens betydelse i våra kustvatten - hur påverkar miljöförändringar de ekosystemtjänster som våra kustnära vattenområden tillhandahåller? Co-PI: funded by Sophie von Julins Stiftelse (2017-2021).
  • Elemental stoichiometry of benthic invertebrates as driver of coastal biogeochemical cycles. PI. Funded by University of Helsinki and the Nottbeck foundation (2019-2021).
  • BONUS COCOA - Nutrient cocktail in coastal zones of the Baltic Sea – improving understanding of the transformation and retention of nutrients and organic matter in the coastal zone. Post doc: funded jointly by the EU and the Academy of Finland (2014-2017).

Anna’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Anna’s profile in Google Scholar.

Post doctoral researcher at TZS.

I look at benthic diatom communities in the coastal zone. I want to define environmental factors and biotic interactions that drive the spatial and temporal change in the species and trait diversity of diatom communities, and I aim at linking diatom diversity to ecosystem functioning, such as productivity. My research includes Baltic Sea diatom communities at different geographical scales: from a local study in the Tvärminne region to a study comprising thousands of kilometers.

Current research project:

  • A trait-based approach for diatom functional biogeography in the Baltic Sea. Funded by the Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation.

Leena’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Leena's profile in ResearchGate.

Researcher at TZS

I have been studying blue mussel population dynamics at Tvärminne Zoological Station for > 20 years. My research interest circle around spatial ecology, also including temporal questions, i.e. how and why species use their environment as they do and how a changing environment affect their ecology. I am also interested in community ecology, including in addition to benthic invertebrates also macrophytes and fish. My recent 10 years were spent as senior advisor and conservation biologist at the state owned enterprise Metsähallitus. Through the day-to-day work with marine conservation issues, including legislation, environmental assessments and management, my niche and interest lies in the interface between ecosystem ecology and applied ecology.

Current research project:

  • Living at the edge. Funded by the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.

Mats’ profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Mats’ profile in ResearchGate.