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Department of Geosciences and Geography
Physical Geography


Miska Luoto

Bioclimatic Modelling Research Group

The Bioclimatic Modelling Research Group investigates the impacts of climate change on biota at multiple temporal and spatial scales. Climate change impact modelling is of the one of the most dynamic areas of research partly because of the implicit political and scientific pressure associated with this topic. There are various approaches to this field. Our main contribution has been on the methodological side. We have progressed climate change impact modelling by increasing the ecological realism of the the models, e.g. by including soil quality, topography and biotic interactions in the modelling framework. Most of these developments concern the so-called 'species distribution models' or 'bioclimatic envelope models'.

Miska Luoto (Univ Helsinki)
Juha Aalto (Univ Helsinki, Finnish Meteorological Institute)
Sakari J. Salonen (Univ Helsinki)
Annina Niskanen (Univ Helsinki)
Heidi Mod (Univ Helsinki)
Henri Riihimäki (Univ Helsinki)
Risto K Heikkinen (SYKE)
Juha Pöyry (SYKE)

Current research projects

Impacts of climate change on Arctic vegetation and biodiversity
High-latitudes are undergoing rapid and significant change associated with climate warming. This puts global change research at the centre of the international scientific agenda. This project will 1) investigate dynamics and the main drivers of recent changes in the Arctic vegetation; 2) threats caused by climate change to Arctic plant diversity, and 3) develop projections of the changes in the Arctic plant biomass patterns under future climates. This project is part of the consortium Impacts of climate change on Arctic environment, ecosystem services and society (CLICHE) funded by the Finnish Research Programme on Climate Change (FICCA), Academy of Finland.

Remote sensing and GIS in biodiversity modelling
Remote sensing (RS) produces valuable information for biodiversity mapping and monitoring. Due to high spatial and temporal coverage, RS data have clear advantages compared to any other source of information. This research project aims to develop novel approaches to integrate RS and geographic information (GI) data into biodiversity assessments. Our ultimate goal is to provide information which is directly applicable in defining biodiversity assessment practices that better meet the requirements of the sustainable use of natural resources and land use planning. The research group has close linkage to Long-Term-Ecological Research network (LTER). Funded by the Academy of Finland.

Spatial modelling of periglacial processes
Determination of the environmental factors controlling earth surface processes and landform patterns in cold regions is one of the central themes in periglacial geomorphology. In this project, we focus on the spatial modelling of periglacial processes under the global change. Additionally, we investigate and develop novel spatial approaches in predictive geomorphic mapping.

See the science highlights of my ongoing research projects.