University homepage Suomeksi På svenska In English
University of Helsinki Faculty of XXX

Environmental Change Research Unit - ECRU


Tracking carbon dynamic patterns and climate forcing through post-glacial mire development history by combining modern flux measurements and palaeoecological information
Impacts of climate change on Arctic environment, ecosystem services and society (CLICHE)
Biomarkers – a new potential method to study highly humified peat components
Past water table fluctuations and related changes in carbon accumulation rates in mires – a quantitative multi proxy-based reconstruction from different climate regimes
Impacts of multiple environmental stressors on subarctic lake food web dynamics (MESS)
Climate variability in NW Europe during the past 4000 years and its ecological consequences (CLIM-ECO)
Science workshop on past, present and fututure climate change
Long-term changes in lake ice conditions in northern Finland
Responses of Boreal ecosystem carbon exchange to changing environment in different spatio-temporal scales
Former Projects

Contact information:

Environmental Change Research Unit (ECRU)
Department of Environmental Sciences
P.O. Box 65 (Viikinkaari 1)
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki

Phone: +358-9-1911
(main switch board)
or see People


Jan Weckström



Lake Kilpisjärvi NW Finland, Photo: Ari Weckström


EC Environment and Climate Research Programme; Contract ENV4-CT97-0562 (Korhola)

Duration: 1998-2001

General description:

Pinnularia abaujensis/gibba, Photo: Jan WeckströmDiatoms (Bacillariophyta) are unicellular microscopic algae, which are common worldwide in aquatic environments, usually in great abundances and diversity. They are well preserved in sediments and due to their short life cycle they respond quickly to environmental changes. They are particularly suitable for water quality monitoring and reconstruction, especially for changes in pH, nutrient status and salinity.

The project brings together 16 diatom - environment datasets from Europe (and parts of Africa & Asia) to produce a single high-quality, integrated and harmonised calibration data-set (training set), with site information and environmental data. From this training set, new, more accurate and more widely applicable transfer functions will be derived for key hydrochemical variables, whilst at the same time exploring the relationship of diatoms with other environmental (especially climate) gradients on a European scale.

Specific objectives:

  • to bring together a series of small datasets from the whole of Europe (and parts of Africa & Asia) to produce a single high quality, integrated and harmonised training set of diatoms, with site information and environmental data;
  • to combine the training set data with taxonomic information, electronic images of diatoms, and software for data analysis on a CD-ROM;
  • to derive new, more accurate and more widely applicable transfer functions for key hydrochemical variables;
  • to explore the relationship of diatoms with other environmental (especially climate) gradients on a European scale;
  • to evaluate a range of techniques for environmental reconstruction and evaluation, and to develop a set of guidelines for ”best practice” in developing transfer functions;
  • to map the geographical distribution of surface sediment diatoms and explore the extent to which distributions are most strongly influenced by water chemical, climatic, biogeographic or other factors;
  • to distribute all data and numerical procedures as a complete information system using the World Wide Web (WWW) and on CD-ROM.

Project partners:

Co-ordinator: Helen Bennion, Environmental Change Research Centre , University College London (UK)


Finnish research team: