The Lammi Biological Station of the University of Helsinki in Hämeenlinna is getting a new professor of environmental research at the beginning of November, as Kimmo Kahilainen (born 1975) is relocating from Norway to Finland.
Kahilainen is no stranger to the location of the professorship, jointly funded by the University of Helsinki, the City of Hämeenlinna, the Regional Council of Häme and the Vanajavesi Foundation, as he has worked at a number of Finnish research stations over his research career spanning roughly 20 years.
“Tvärminne in Hanko, Lammi, Seili, Muddusjärvi, Värriö, Kilpisjärvi, Kevo...,” Kahilainen lists his previous research and study locations.
He points out that research stations are not only for research. They have a key role in training students in fieldwork.
“Without places where to organise field courses for students, we will soon have no researchers capable of fieldwork. Independently collected datasets are vital for assessing and modelling the status of ecosystems. In Finland, research stations are closely involved in international cooperation, with international researchers visiting them regularly.”
The job description of Kahilainen’s professorship specifies environmental research pertaining to aquatic ecosystems. The Lammi Biological Station is located on the shore of Lake Pääjärvi, a well-known lake valuable to research in a multitude of ways. In addition to various short-term projects, natural phenomena have been monitored on the lake for decades. In other words, scientists have been studying long time series. In fact, research stations have an important role in the collection of such series and in international cooperation.
“At Lammi, we will keep on investigating the eutrophication and browning of lakes. Personally, I'm interested, among other things, in the environmental conditions under lake ice. Very little is still known of these conditions, and the same applies to the significance of winter for lake organisms in general. In addition, by means of modern technology, we can combine remote sensing data obtained by drones with satellite data and, for instance, monitor changes in the catchment. We could take it further by adding data on water quality,” Kahilainen contemplates.
The newly appointed professor praises the work done in the field of environmental research by his predecessor, Professor Lauri Arvola.
“Lauri Arvola conducted a lot of significant collaboration locally, nationally and internationally. It’s a good direction to continue in. Public engagement is central to my duties, and researchers are obliged to make science available to the public.”