Group members

Group leaders

Atte Komonen

Atte Komonen
My research covers empirical conservation ecology of populations and communities at local and macroecological scales. I have been mainly interested in the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on insect populations and communities in forest ecosystems. I have also been documenting large-scale changes in species ranges, and disentangling the underlying ecological factors and species traits. More recently my research has focused on intervention ecology, i.e. on the consequences of habitat management and restoration on biodiversity.


Panu Halme
I am broadly interested in biological diversity and especially its conservation. I am currently studying the conservation ecology of several species groups in forested ecosystems. On one hand, my focus is on the negative effects of human activities such as forest management, biofuel harvesting and other land use intensification. On the other hand I am studying the potential of different interventions to halt the current loss of biodiversity. These interventions include restoration, habitat management and conservation planning.

Postdoctoral researchers, artists and doctoral students

Anna Olden


Anna Oldèn
I study the impacts of various habitat management methods on biodiversity. I have specialized on the ecology of bryophytes (mosses and liverworts). Currently I study the effects of different kinds of brook-side buffer zones on biodiversity and microclimatic conditions. In addition, I work on data sets of multiple species groups in wood-pastures, meadows and road verges

Pira Cousin
I work in different disciplines of visual art. I do art of trash and abandoned material, and also use natural material for my art work. Environmental issues are increasingly important for me. At the moment I work in Katoava luonto -project which provides me a great opportunity to work together with natural scientists and find new directions and meanings for my work.





Ilona Helle
My PhD project focuses on constructed and restored wetlands and their biodiversity. The aims of the project are to investigate the effects of the characteristics (i.e. size, mean depth, shoreline length and age) of the agricultural constructed wetlands on vegetation and on waterbirds. I also study the effects of land use and habitat connectivity of the constructed wetland site on waterfowl diversity, densities and breeding success. Moreover, I study what are the landowners´ motives to apply EU-subsidies for wetland construction and how cost efficient they are. My supervisors are Panu Halme, Atte Komonen and Riikka Paloniemi.

Clara Lizarazo
I am a crop Scientist with experience in diversifying cropping systems, novel crops – particularly grain legumes and oil crops, nutritive quality and adaptation of agriculture to climate change. I am interested in environmental conservation, biodiversity in rural ecosystems and development of sustainable cropping systems. Currently I am doing postdoctoral research on citizen level ecological compensation actions (at the University of Jyväskylä) and on finding strategies to improve caraway (Carum carvi L.) oil quality (at the University of Helsinki).






Eini Nieminen
My research interests cover the topics of socially centred conservation science. In my PhD work I survey the ecological and economic effects and social acceptability of voluntary nature conservation. My topic arises from the observation that the current Finnish conservation politics seems to reckon the responsibility of maintaining biodiversity increasingly on private landowners’ will to preserve, and less on binding conservation laws. My aim is to find out, which possible ecological effects this may have, which trade-offs it causes between ecological and economic values, and how do people not owning land respond to the increasing authority of landowners in conservation questions. My supervisors are Janne Kotiaho and Panu Halme.

Beñat Olascoaga
I am a forest ecologist interested in plant physiology and plant optical signals. My research has been focused on characterizing temporal dynamics in biochemical and biophysical acclimation mechanisms that uncouple remotely sensed data from photosynthetic gas exchange data in boreal trees. Lately, my research interests have moved towards plant biodiversity and conservation as well as science popularization. In my current research I study mechanisms to empower citizens to get involved in ecological compensation actions.


Jenna Purhonen
I am primarily interested in biodiversity, especially in terms of how it is impacted by humans and in how it can be conserved. During my PhD project, I want to explore the ecological importance and roles of poorly known fungal groups on dead wood as well improving our methods of detecting these species. I will also investigate how different forest management actions, like traditional practices and biofuel harvesting, affects fungal communities on dead wood. This information will hopefully give new insight into conservation issues concerning fungal communities on dead wood as a whole, but also add to our understanding of the species that are commonly neglected. My supervisors are Panu Halme, Atte Komonen and Seppo Huhtinen.


Kaisa Raatikainen
In my PhD project, I study the management and significance of traditional rural biotopes from the perspective of sustainable development. A holistic approach is applied in order to indicate factors that are the most critical to the quality of management of traditional rural biotopes in Finland. Biological relevance, social acceptability, and cost-effectiveness of currently used management practices and Finnish subsidy system financing the management are discussed. My supervisors are Panu Halme, Mikko Mönkkönen and Elizabeth S. Barron.





Kaisa Tervonen
I am working as a project manager in the Sieniatlas– citizen science project at Jyväskylä University Museum. The aim of this project is to inspire and educate amateurs to collect fungal biodiversity data. Thus, we will get information of fungal species for conservation purposes. I am also a part-time PhD student at University of Jyväskylä. In my thesis I study the fungal species of endangered traditional rural biotopes (wood-pastures and meadows) to find out how management and environmental factors affect their fungal biodiversity. My supervisors are Panu Halme and Atte Komonen.

Satu Tuittila
I have a broad background in contemporary dance as choreographer, teacher and performer. Collaboration with other art forms, improvisation and site specific (other than theatre space) performances are typical for my work. As a fresh Futures studies master I am exited to develop my work to collaboration with natural scientist. Sustainability and ecological issues have inspired my work almost a decade and in futures studies my expertise is in participatory workshops with both professionals and citizens.

Anna-Kaisa Tupala
In my core interest is to combine ecological offset research to social science methods. Since ecological offsetting has been largely in controversial discussion I aim to bring a new multidisciplinary point of view into dialogue: citizens values, attitudes and motivation are in my focus. My background is in environmental science and already there I wanted to enlarge my understanding towards political and societal questions. I am one of the scientists in Katoava luonto research group and our ambition is to study micro scale ecological compensations via art and science.

M.Sc. & B.Sc. Students 



Ida-Maria Huikkonen
I am interested in all kinds of boreal habitats, from forests to peatlands and also aquatic habitats. Species knowledge is also very close to my heart, and I find community ecology interesting too. My master’s thesis concerns mitigated agricultural wetlands and their dragonfly species. The goal of my thesis is to find out whether dragonflies can use these man-made habitats for reproduction, hence adding to the biodiversity of agricultural lands. Also, I study what traits within the wetlands (vegetation, watershed area ect.) might have an effect on the species richness of the dragonflies. My supervisors are Ilona Helle and Merja Elo.





Sara Ihalainen
I’m interested in conservation ecology, environmental policy, bioenergy sources and entomology (mainly in Heteroptera). My goal is to promote sustainable development and take both social and environmental aspects into account while doing so. In my Master’s thesis I focus in environmental policy that is related to one of the most important bioenergy sources in Finland: energy wood. I will represent the most important political strategies that control the amount and use of coarse woody debris (CWD) in Finnish forests. CWD is highly important to many species. Many saproxylic species are already endangered, but the amount of energy wood needed is increasing. My supervisors are Jari Haimi, Panu Halme, Saana Kataja-aho and Janne Kotiaho.





Valtteri Jokinen
Having been interested in nature since childhood, I'm now concentrating my passion into conservation biology and species diversity. My master's thesis rolls all this into one: using meadows, I'm studying the effects of cutting vs. grazing. The goal is to understand better the mechanics of human-induced disturbances on fauna. From a conservation point of view, my research could be used in the planning of conservation action, in order to increase community diversity and functionality. For the purpose, I have pit-trapped spiders from several sites. My future intentions include to become an expert arachnologist. My supervisors are Atte Komonen and Jari Haimi.

Erkka Laine
My interest covers biodiversity and its impact on human well-being, as well as the impact of humans on biodiversity. I have for long been fascinated by invertebrates and it intrigues me how they have taken their current forms and life-cycles. Lately I have been studying Heteroptera and Trichoptera. Amongst my other interests are elements such as psychology, languages and cultural differences, communication and economics. In my thesis, I focus on how environmental variables (e.g draught, pH, phosphorous and nitrogen concentration), as well as species-relationships constitute to biodiversity in small waterbodies without fish. My supervisors are Atte Komonen, Heikki Hämäläinen and Jukka Salmela.

Salla Pitkänen
I'm interested in almost all things in biology but I have been extremely interested in forests and their biodiversity since I was little. Now I’m seeking to learn more about the effects humans have on the forests and other ecosystems. In addition to this I find the interactions between different species fascinating.

Anna Lähde

I can’t say one thing about biology or environmental sciences that interests me the most. Both nature observation and questions, like how we could live more sustainable and conserve our wonderful nature, are important to me. I can combine these by telling people how important nature is for us and asking what nature means for them. So the environmental education plays a significant role in my life.

 In our bachelor thesis we study wasps and their possible impact on pollination. The subject caught our attention because it combines a lot of our interests in the field of biology. Our supervisors are Atte Komonen and Minna-Maarit Kytöviita.