Research groups

Our international and high-quality research groups look for solutions to current environmental problems. Research-based knowledge in environmental sciences can be used in society to curb climate change as well as to foster biodiversity and habitats in support of environmental and human wellbeing.
Research groups of the Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme

Research groups that operate wholly or partly under the Research Programme ECOENV in alphabetical order.


Algological Research

Group leader: Elina Peltomaa

Algological Research Group is studying algae from versatile angles - we combine basic and applied research and try to understand how algae adapt to their environment and how this knowledge can be used when solving sustainability problems.

Arctic Ecosystems Research

Group leader: David N Thomas

The aim is to integrate biogeochemical & ecological research within and between “systems” in the Arctic through national and international collaborative research. This will be done by bringing wide-ranging research expertise together to form complimentary research together to help answer big questions such as: How will interconnected Arctic ecosystems change in the rapidly changing climate? Closely associated with this are the questions of how such changes will impact on society. Therefore, a strong goal for the group is that the research outputs will be pertinent for stakeholders and policy makers.


Benthic Ecology Team Tvärminne

Group leader: Alf Norkko

The benthic ecology team at TZS focuses on marine ecology, from basic science to more applied conservation and management issues. Research lines include disturbance ecology, spatial ecology, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, climate change, invasive species ecology and food-web interactions.


Comprehensive and sustainable systemic change

– a network for comprehensive and sustainable systemic change

Kudelma also in Finnish

kokonaisvaltaisen ja kestävän systeemisen muutoksen verkosto

Creative adaptation to wicked socio-environmental disruptions (WISE)

WISE aims to improve decision making over wicked socio-environmental disruptions and to increase Finland’s resilience and adaptation to such disruptions.


Environmental Change

Group leader: Atte Korhola

The central research theme in ECRU is the development and application of empirical, geospatial, computational and modeling tools to detect global environmental changes and to analyse their ecological and societal impacts. We mostly work on the arctic environment that is undergoing rapid change...

Environmental Policy Research Group (EPRG)

Group leader: Janne I. Hukkinen

EPRG studies the socio-cognitive aspects of environmental policies and sustainable technologies. Since 2008, several research projects have built up the group’s competence in environmental risk governance, knowledge integration in environmental and technology issues, and sustainability indicators and scenarios.


Fisheries and Environmental management

Group leader: Sakari Kuikka

The Fisheries and Environmental Management Group focuses on the interaction between ecosystems and human society. We identify the risks in the use of natural resources, carry out decision analysis between the renewable resources and biodiversity, and integrate the different sources of data and knowledge using Bayesian analysis.


Human-Nature Transformations

Group leader: Christopher Raymond

In the Human-Nature Transformations Research Group we develop inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches for recognising diverse human-nature relationships and for promoting transformations toward a just, healthy and sustainable future.


Lake Ecosystem Dynamics

Group leader: Jukka Horppila

Our research focuses on the functioning of lake ecosystems, especially on food web interactions and their implications on lake management, and on the connections between top-down and bottom-up regulators in the pelagic and littoral zones of lakes.


Marine Ecosystems

Group leader: Alf Norkko

The Marine Ecosystems Research Group (MERG) at the University of Helsinki combines researchers focusing on marine biodiversity and ecology to biogeochemistry, physics and ecosystem modelling.


Nature-Based Solutions

Group leader: Riikka Puhakka

Nature-Based Solutions Research Group concentrates to solve globally significant environmental problems. Research objects range from micro-organisms to ecosystems and to people prone to man-made environmental changes.


Past Present Sustainability (PAES)

Group leader: Jussi T. Eronen

PAES focuses on understanding the ecological and climate related interlinkages with human activities in the present day and in the long-term historic past. The research perspective is from natural sciences and is enriched by interdisciplinary Post-docs and collaborations outside the core discipline.

Plank­ton Biod­iversity

Group leader: Aleksandra Le­wan­dowska

Plankton is a basis of marine life, contributing nearly 50% to global primary production and playing a significant role in climate regulation due to carbon sequestration and formation of clouds. Yet, ongoing climate change strongly affects biodiversity and functioning of plankton communities by altering their metabolism and leading to geographical redistribution of species. The Plankton Biodiversity Lab focuses on interactions in plankton communities. We are interested in biodiversity patterns within and between trophic levels, species coexistence and predator-prey dynamics across multiple temporal scales.


Sustainable Urban Systems

Group leader: Sanna Ala-Mantila

Our interest in SUS is to detect, define, and address externalities associated with urban living and environments, focusing on ultimately improving human and planetary wellbeing. This requires systemic understanding on urban areas.


Urban Biodiversity Lab

Group leader: Ian MacGregor-Fors

The main goal of the Urban Biodiversity Lab is to untangle the patterns and mechanistic processes behind wildlife responses to urbanization. For this, we consider the three primary dimensions of urban systems – ecological, physical, and social – at different spatio-temporal scales. By generating first-class evidence-based knowledge through a diverse, inclusive, and collaborative approach (where networks of students at all academic levels and colleagues – both institutional and external – play central roles), we aim to support and direct local and regional stakeholders towards making evidence-grounded decisions that are in accordance with more biodiverse, livable, and resilient cities.

Urban Ecosystems

Group leader: Heikki Setälä

Exploring the structure and functioning of urban green- and blue spaces

Urban Environmental Policy

Group leader: Sirkku Juhola

The topics of our research group relate to climate change adaptation, maladaptation and climate change mitigation.