Research - Plant Biology

In Plant Biology we study a diverse array of phenomena from molecular to ecosystem level. The common denominator is that we are dealing with different aspects of biology of plants and fungi. In addition, anthropogenic effects and global change on species and ecosystems has become an important starting point for most of the current research.

Our research topics include plant molecular and cell biology, evolutionary biology and phylogenetic analyses of diverse groups of fungi and plants, plant acclimation to various environments, population and community ecology of plants, and ecosystem ecology.

Current research groups / projects in alphabetical order according to group leader:


University Lecturer Pedro J. Aphalo: SenPEP - Sensory photobiology and ecophysiology of plants
Our aim is to elucidate how plants perceive information about their biotic and abiotic environment. Sensing of visible and ultraviolet radiation and the responses triggered by these signals are the main focus of our current research. >> Read more


University Lecturer Mikael Brosche: Plant Stress Natural Variation Group
Plant exposed to stressful conditions activate multiple plant defense signaling pathways,
our group study the interaction between these pathways using natural variation, molecular
genetics and gene expression analysis >> Read more


University Lecturer Johannes Enroth and PhD. Dietmar Quant: Character Evolution in Pleurocarpous Mosses
The group studies the character evolution and adaptive evolution of pleurocarpous mosses based on phylogenies achieved with morphological and molecular data. >> Read more


Professor Kurt Fagerstedt: Oxygen stress tolerance mechanisms in wild and cultivated plant species and Lignin biosynthesis in Norway spruce (Picea abies) and Silver birch (Betula pendula)
Research group has two topics, which are related to each other. On one hand research is concentrated on xylem cell differentation and cell wall lignin biosynthesis, and on the other hand on abiotic stress tolerance. The projects meet in the signaling and organisation of the programmed cell death. >> Read more


Professor Yrjö Helariutta: Wood Development Group
Our group investigates mechanisms of plant development and their adaptations on cell and molecular level. We are focused on plant vascular development and differentiation.
>> Read more


Professor Jaakko Hyvönen: Phylogenetic systematics
Our aim is to reconstruct evolutionary history (phylogeny) of the basal lineages of embryophytes (land plants). >> Read more


Professor Jaakko Kangasjärvi: Plant Stress Group
Our work combines plant physiology with genetics and molecular biology and concentrates on finding out how plants sense and transmit stress signals at the cellular level, with special emphasis on the role of reactive oxygen species and plant hormones during abiotic stress.
>> Read more


Academy Research Fellow Anna-Liisa Laine
We combine epidemiological, experimental, and molecular approaches to understand how eco-evolutionary feedback loops drive species interactions. Much of our work is focused on species interacting with Plantago lanceolata in the highly fragmented meadow network in the Åland Islands, Southwest of Finland. >> Read more


PhD Johanna Leppälä: Plant Speciation Genetics
The aim of my research is to identify genes involved in the development of postzygotic reproductive barriers between populations of Arabidopsis lyrata, and close relatives. Another objective is to understand the role of natural selection affecting the development of genic incompatibilities. >> Read more


PhD Ari Pekka Mähönen: Plant Growth Dynamics Group
Growth is a result of a concert action of cell division, expansion and differentiation.
We are taking advantage of molecular genetics and cell biology to study coordination of
these three processes to facilitate secondary growth in root cambium of Arabidopsis
thaliana. >> Read more


PhD Tuula Niskanen: Fungal systematic group (Basidiomycetes)
Our research is focused on the study of the diversity of Basidiomycetes and the identification of the species with DNA sequences (barcoding). At the moment we study the genera Cortinarius, Russula, Hydnum and Amanita. >> Read more


Docent Kirk Overmyer: Plant Fungal Interactions Group
We are interested in the molecular mechanisms of plant-fungal interactions. We use a multidisciplinary approach relying heavily on genetics and genomics of both host and pathogen. Our current focus is on plant associated yeasts; specifically the pathogenic yeasts of the genus Taphrina . >> Read more


Professor Jouko Rikkinen: Multidisciplinary Studies on the Diversity, Ecology and Evolution of Cyanobacteria, Eukaryotic Phototrophs and Fungi
We conduct multidisciplinary studies in botany, with a current focus on the diversity, ecology and evolution of fungal and cyanobacterial symbioses, especially lichens. >> Read more


Academy Research Fellow Matthew Robson: Canopy Spectral Ecology and Ecophyisology (CanSEE).  How does the spectrum of solar radiation penetrating a forest canopies influence understorey phenology and interact with climate to affect ecosystem processes?  Our group looks to identify the spectral signals received by plants through experimental approaches, and to integrate the ecophysiological responses to these signals so furthering our understanding of the ecology of forest canopies. >> Read more


Academy Research Fellow Michael Wrzaczek: Receptor-ligand signaling group
Our goal is to understand how transmembrane receptors function in signal perception and transduction at the molecular level in plants and how their interaction with ligands controls stress responses and plant development. We are also curious what evolutionary analysis of plant receptor proteins can teach us about their physiological and biochemical function.
>> Read more


University Lecturer Helena Åström: Plant Ecophysiology and Climate Change Group (PECC)
The group studies the effects of climatic change on northern plants. The main research focus is on the over-wintering strategies of plants and the photosynthesis of evergreens during winter. >> Read more


University Lecturer Helena Åström and professor (emer.) Carl-Adam Hæggström: Ecology of the field garlic (Allium oleraceum)
The aim of the project is to get information about the ecology, population biology and reproductive strategies (vegetative and generative reproduction) of Allium oleraceum in different populations in Finland. One focus of the work has been to study the distribution of tetraploid and pentaploid plants both in Finland and nearby areas. >> Read more