P.O. Box 65 (Viikinkaari 2a, 2nd floor)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)294 1911
Faculty office open
International affairs, undergraduate studies and admission, Master's degree programmes:
bio-sci (at) helsinki.fi
PhD studies and admission:
bio-phd (at) helsinki.fi
bio-diploma (at) helsinki.fi
bio-hallinto (at) helsinki.fi
Welcome to the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences!
The Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences with its neighbouring units forms the largest and most prominent scientific and educational unit for life sciences in Finland.
The significance of biological and environmental knowledge for the entire society is increasing. Applications of biosciences play significant role in health care and medical sciences. They also are extremely important in answering to environmental questions such as conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources.
Better data needed to stop sixth mass extinction (26.4.2016)
Just five per cent of datasets meet a 'gold standard' needed for effective biodiversity conservation
Global carnivore conservation is at risk(4.4.2016)
Global land conversion is estimated to lead to significant range loss and conflict with local people in the regions critical for the survival of already threatened carnivore species.
Overfishing increases fluctuations in aquatic ecosystems (29.2.2016)
Overfishing reduces fish populations and promotes smaller sizes in fish. The fish also reach sexual maturity earlier than normal. However, the impact of overfishing is not restricted to fish: as the predators at the top of the food web dwindle, the stability of the entire aquatic ecosystem is at risk.
Museum samples of extinct butterfly populations show how populations rise and fall (23.2.2016)
Fragmentation of habitat affects the evolution of butterfly movement and makes them better adapted to a changing environment. However, if too much habitat is lost the evolutionary change is not sufficient to rescue the species from extinction.
Professor Ilkka Hanski receives the esteemed Frontiers of Knowledge Award (2.2.2016)
Professor Ilkka Hanski, a holder of the honorary title of Academician of Science, is the first ever ecologist and evolutionary biologist to receive the Frontiers of Knowledge Award in addition to the Balzan Prize and the Crafoord Prize in Biosciences.
ILS Doctoral Program's Best Mentor Award to Mikaela Grönholm (18.12.2015)
The Integrative Life Sciences (ILS) doctoral program started a new tradition by awarding the Best Mentor of the Year. The first recipient of the award is Docent Mikaela Grönholm from our Faculty.
CRKs fine-tune plant growth and defence (17.12.2015)
In addition to plant stress responses, cystein-rich receptor-like kinases (CRKs) are involved in many important developmental processes in plants. Niina Idänheimo proposes in her doctoral thesis that CRKs are essential regulatory elements of cellular redox circuits that relay environmental information to the cell. The role of CRKs in cellular crosstalk is essential for maintaining the delicate balance between growth and defence.
Ethanol prevents inflammatory cellular responses (3.12.2015)
Alcohol abuse predisposes to severe infections. On the other hand, light to moderate consumption of alcohol has been associated with a reduced incidence of cardiovascular diseases and other chronic inflammatory conditions. According to the doctoral thesis by Katariina Niemi these seemingly different responses could be explained by ethanol preventing inflammatory cellular responses in macrophages and mast cells.
Models help to predict the future of the Baltic Sea (23.11.2015)
Ecosystem modelling tools are necessary to explore how various human effects might affect Baltic Sea. But how complex the models should be? And how far into the future can we forecast? What will the future Baltic Sea look like?
Stepping up for vultures (20.11.2015)
Conservation scientists have so far largely focused on the biological side of conservation, but clearly almost no conservation project can succeed without considering the human dimension. Studying farmers’ behavior and decisions could help the conservation of species, such as vultures, that are strongly affected by the activities of humans.
Parasite community dynamics in host individual-level cannot be inferred from the host population-level (20.11.2015)
Tuomas Aivelo studied for his doctoral thesis the dynamics of parasite communities of rufous mouse lemur (Microcebus rufus) living in the eastern montaneous rainforests of Madagascar. He developed a new method to identify parasitic nematodes from fecal samples. The method works well for different host species, for example mouse lemurs and gastropods, and can be used to perform more efficient and faster surveys of previously unknown parasite communities.
Several reasons make species vulnerable for habitat loss (19.11.2015)
According to the thesis of Tanjona Ramiadantsoa, mode of dispersal, ecological specialization, temporal and spatial stochasticity, and competition are the most important mechanisms that should be considered while analysing species responses to changes in habitat structure.
Fish introductions affect freshwater ecosystems in many ways (18.11.2015)
Terrestial sources can be very important in supporting introduced brown trout populations in small lakes at high latitudes. Introduced brown trout alter the abundance of micro- and macroinvertebrates, tells Marco Milardi in his doctoral thesis.
Nemalin myopathy diagnosed more easily (6.11.2015)
A new combination ofi NM-CGH microarray and exome-sequencing has accelerated mutation detection in nemalin myopathy, increased the coverage of the NM genes and improved the diagnostics of both NM and NM-related disorders.
There might be ways to exploit renewable energy and protect biodiversity (30.10.2015)
Global expansion of bioenergy possesses serious threats to biodiversity, whereas solar energy could have potential for power provision with limited impacts on biodiversity.
Proteins secreted by macrophages: differences between former reactive arthritis patients and healthy people (20.10.2015)
The doctoral thesis of Elina Välimäki aimed for exploring proteins secreted from human macrophages exposed to endogenous danger signals alone, and in combination with microbe-derived signals.
Her study showed for example that in persons with a former history of inflammatory joint disease reactive arthritis, the protein complex inflammasome is activated normally upon detection of microbe-derived signals. However, the secretion of two inflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor and IL-23, is lower compared to the release of these cytokines from cells of healthy controls.
New interaction regulating synapse formation found (19.10. 2015)
Dendritic spines in the central nervous system are crucial for learning and other cognitive processes. Olaya Llano aimed in her doctoral dissertation to identify molecular regulators of the structure and function of dendritic spines. She discovered that neuron-specific potassium chloride transporter KCC2 and guanine nucleotide exchange factor bPIXb act in synergy to regulate spinogenesis and synapse development.
Fruit fly research reveals genetic mechanisms of dietary sugar sensing (2.10. 2015)
Scientists have identified a sugar sensing regulatory network, which is composed of several genes. Deregulation of this sugar sensing network leads to severely disturbed energy metabolism. The new insight gained in this study may also benefit research into human metabolic diseases.
Noble crayfish: ecological factors are important to the causes and consequences of immune defence (23.9. 2015)
Geographical variation in resistance to the crayfish plague and immune defence is, according to Christina Gruber's doctoral dissertation, independent of historical disease outbreaks in the studied subpopulations. Her research also demonstrates, for the first time in invertebrates, reproduction-related endogenous seasonal variation in the immune defence of noble crayfish.
Stress changes cholesterol transport in atherosclerosis (18.9. 2015)
Macrophage-reverse cholesterol transport pathway is an important anti-atherogenic mechanism. The pathway is effectively modulated by psychological stress and mast cell activation, both of which are involved in atherosclerosis.
Social media data could contribute to conservation science (15.9. 2015)
Planning conservation actions requires up-to-date information on biodiversity, but also on human pressures. Scientists who collect data are few and far between on a global scale, but nature enthusiasts are everywhere. Spending time on social media might be helpful for biodiversity conservation.
From Bryoria to Sulcaria: A new lichen species named (10.9. 2015)
Although Bryoria, a lichenized euascomycete genus, is a conspicuous, easily recognized and frequently collected, its species boundaries are poorly known. The results of Hanna Lindgren's doctoral dissertation show for example that Bryoria pseudocapillaris and B. spiralifera actually belong to the genus Sulcaria. Phylogenetic analyses also revealed that these two species are the same and they were named anew as Sulcaria spiralifera.
Biological functions strongly associated with caste phenotypic differences across the ant phylogeny (10.9. 2015)
Queens and workers of social insects often share a similar genome, suggesting that the basis of this dimorphism must result from differences in expression of the same genes. The doctoral thesis of Claire Morandin demonstrates the plasticity of caste-biased expression patterns in ants at several levels. Few genes retain their caste-biased expression patterns across closely related species, lineages, or development stages.
Academy Research Professor Ilkka Hanski receives honorary title of Academician of Science (4.9. 2015)
Ilkka Hanski (b. 1953) is one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology. He is well known for his pioneering work in metapopulation biology and has conducted research on biodiversity and biodiversity conservation more generally.
Dissertations (on Finnish site)