Current and Former Members of Aquatic Biogeochemistry Research Unit (ABRU)
Tom Jilbert is Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) within the Ecosystems and Environment Research Program (ECOENV). His position is co-funded by University of Helsinki and Vesijärvi Foundation. Tom is specialized in the study of sediment biogeochemistry and phosphorus cycling, in particular in eutrophied and low-oxygen aquatic environments. Tom is involved in various collaborative projects within ABRU, with other research groups in ECOENV, and with national and international partners, including University of Turku, Finnish Geological Survey, University of Utrecht (Netherlands) and Stirling University (UK). In 2018 Tom will co-ordinate an international symposium on lake restoration in Lahti, Finland and give a keynote talk at the Ocean Deoxygenation Conference in Kiel, Germany.
Susanna Hietanen is an Academy Research Fellow and the leader of the "Nutrient cycles in aquatic ecosystems" group within ABRU. Currently she leads the project "Biogeochemical links between eutrophication and climate change in the Baltic Sea" and is responsible for ABRU work in the project "COCOA: Nutrient cocktails in coastal ecosystems". She is a specialist in the aquatic nitrogen cycle, having extensively studied denitrification, anammox, nitrification and DNRA in sediments and water columns both in freshwaters and in the Baltic Sea. Currently her focus is especially on the factors affecting nitrous oxide production and consumption by different processes in aquatic ecosystems.
Karoliina Koho is an Academy Research Fellow and the Principal Investigator in two Academy of Finland funded projects. Her work is focused on the interface of ecology and biogeochemistry, investigating how benthic (micro)organisms influence oxygen dynamics, and nutrient and carbon cycling in sediments. Her research to date has focused on understanding of biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem dynamics in low-oxygen settings, such as oceanic Oxygen Minimum Zones (OMZs), as well as survival strategies of single celled eukaryotes (benthic foraminifera) in these hostile environments. In addition to benthic ecology and biogeochemistry, Karoliina's previous projects have included aspects of paleoenvironmental research and development of foraminiferal paleoindicators, or proxies. These aspects of her research background connect her understanding of modern day aquatic biogeochemistry to long-term elemental cycles on Earth.
Karoliina in TUHAT
Jesse Harrison is a postdoctoral researcher working on the Academy of Finland "Next Generation Tool for Environmental Assessment" project, focusing on the applications of high-throughput sequencing in benthic monitoring surveys. Previously he worked as a postdoc at the Universities of Vienna (Division of Microbial Ecology) and Edinburgh (UK Centre for Astrobiology), where his research topics included single-cell microbiology and the habitability of extreme ecosystems. Jesse also has a continuing interest in research into the environmental impacts and fate of microplastics. His wider roles have included serving on the European Commission-funded AstRoMap European Astrobiology Roadmap Panel, a Defra Technical Advisory Group focusing on the biodegradability of plastic waste, and collaborating on the NASA BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains) project.
Eero Asmala is a post-doctoral researcher funded by Academy of Finland, based at Tvärminne Zoological Station. His research covers broadly organic matter biogeochemistry in coastal areas. His current project focuses on short-term variations in river discharge (such as rain events) and their effect on organic matter inputs to coastal areas.
Myrsini Chronopoulou is a postdoctoral researcher currently working on the role of benthic foraminifera and their endobionts in key biogeochemical processes, as well as the application of Next Generation Sequencing as a biomonitoring tool. Her PhD research (University of Essex) focused on the impact of crude oil on microbial communities and the role of nitrogen fixing bacteria in oil impacted marine environments. During her previous postdoctoral projects (Queen Mary, University of London & University of Essex) she studied important aspects of the nitrogen cycle (e.g. production of nitrous oxide and nitrogen gas) and the carbon cycle (methanogenesis and methane oxidation) in the ocean, as well as in freshwater ecosystems. Her research is characterised by a dual approach, a) looking at the processes occurring in the ecosystem by applying chemical and stable isotope analysis and, b) targeting the microbial communities involved in these processes by in-depth molecular analysis (e.g. high throughput sequencing techniques) and subsequent bioinformatics/data analysis.
Myrsini on TUHAT
Dana Hellemann is a PhD student working on benthic nitrogen cycling in dark coastal sand sediments of the Baltic Sea. Sand sediments are often underrepresented in coastal studies due to their ability to facilitate advective pore water flow at suitable permeabilities, which challenges biogeochemical measurements. Dana has been working in estuaries and coastal sites along a North-South gradient throughout the Baltic Sea, which includes environmental gradients such as trophic status (anthropogenic footprint, nitrogen loading), organic matter quality and quantity, sediment composition. Her main research question is to find out how efficient the deep coastal sands in the Baltic Sea are in removing land-derived nitrogen loads via di-nitrogen production. Dana's work is part of the BONUS project "COCOA: Nutrient Cocktails in the Coastal Zone of the Baltic Sea" and the Academy of Finland project "Biogeochemical links between climate change and eutrophication in the Baltic Sea". Currently Dana is funded by the Onni Talas Foundation and the Finnish Cultural Foundation. You can read her blog here!
Dana in TUHAT
JP Myllykangas is a PhD student in the project “Biogeochemical links between climate change and eutrophication in the Baltic Sea”. He studies methane processes in coastal sediments and water column of the Baltic Sea. His research topics range from large scale disturbances down to specific processes concerning microbial production and consumption of methane. He is especially interested in estuarine environments and learning what are the main drivers behind spatial and temporal changes in methane processes in these systems and how they connect to eutrophication and climate change.
JP in TUHAT
Mari Joensuu is a PhD student studying sediment erodibility and resuspension in coastal areas of the Baltic Sea. She is specifically interested in the environmental drivers behind the spatial and temporal variability of sediment erodibility in natural environments. She is also a member of the Benthic Ecology Team at Tvärminne Zoological Station.
Mari on TUHAT
Iines Salonen is a PhD student specialized in microbiology and focusing on benthic foraminifera and the sedimentary microbial community. It is known that microbes can act as essential symbionts for foraminifera as well as a food source, but the nature and prevalence of these relationships and their importance in marine biogeochemical cycles is understudied. In her research she applies molecular methods such as Next Generation Sequencing to study the identity and activity of microbial communities inside the foraminifera and in the surrounding sediment. Furthermore, Iines conducts isotope labelling experiments to track carbon transfer from microbes to foraminifera. The fieldwork for the project is carried out in intertidal areas (the Netherlands) and in a deep-sea setting (Japan). In addition to this, Iines is studying microeukaryote communities and their temporal variation in Baltic Sea sediments.
Iines on TUHAT
Soila Silvonen recently gained her MSc in limnology and she is currently working as a technical assistant in the Next Generation Tool for Environmental Assessment project. She is especially interested in different anthropogenic impacts on aquatic ecosystems, as well as their management, and lake and coastal restoration. She wrote her MSc thesis about a lake restoration method commonly used for treating eutrophication, and she has also worked in research projects concerning the effects of different environmental variables on macrofauna communities. Her focus in the current project is on the identification and quantification of macrofauna for further investigation of the effects of fish farm induced eutrophication on benthic communities.
Soila on TUHAT
Pirita Anttila is a University of Helsinki MSc student working on her thesis “Effects of heavy metals on benthic macrofaunal communities” within the larger project “Next Generation Tool for Environmental Assessment”. She focuses on identifying species in sediment macrofaunal samples and combining the results with sediment heavy metal and organic content analysis results.
Adjunct Professor Petra Tallberg is an expert on the biogeochemical cycling of silicon who worked in the Nutrient cycles in aquatic ecosystems-group of Susanna Hietanen. She is currently involved in the international research projects “Marine primary producers under thinning ice - past responses and future projections for high Arctic Greenland” (at the Geological Survey of Denmark) and “Promoting phosphorus mobilization in soils using silicon fertilization” (at University of Evora, Portugal). Former projects and research interests include biogenic silica analysis, the Si cycle in the Baltic Sea, silicon-phosphorus interactions, terrestrial Si cycling, diatom sedimentation dynamics, phytoplankton ecology and aquatic food web restoration. She is also active in the field of environmental education.
Gunnar Jakobs was a post-doctoral guest researcher in Susanna Hietanen's team. He is a specialist in the pelagic methane turnover in the central Baltic Sea, including the determination of methane oxidation rates using 14C labeling experiments, analysis of dissolved methane in seawater and identification of microorganisms involved. He has studied the seasonal and spatial variability in water column methane distribution as well as the methanotrophic response to changing environmental conditions. In addition he has investigated the links between denitrification and methanotrophic processes in the marine environment using bioreactor based enrichment experiments. He currently works at Center for Nuclear Technologies, Technical University of Denmark.
Anni Jylhä-Vuorio worked as a technical assistant in 2015 in Susanna Hietanen's project "Biogeochemical links between eutrophication and climate change", in 2016 for Tom Jilbert within the project "Phosphorus burial in Lake Vesijärvi", and in 2017 with Karoliina Koho within the project "Next Generation Tool for Environmental Assessment".
Peter Petros completed a research project at ABRU in 2017 studying the particle size dynamics of suspended particulate matter (SPM) in Pohjanpitäjänlahti estuary using data gathered from a LISST-100X particle size analyzer. Peter will return to his native Australia to graduate from his MCEng at the University of Melbourne before coming back to Finland to begin a PhD position studying drained peatland hydrology, up north at the University of Oulu.
Rosa Tiihonen completed her MSc research project in ABRU in 2016 studying the factors conrolling the distribution of iron and manganese in coastal sediments of the Gulf of Finland (supervisors Tom Jilbert and Susanna Hietanen). She then worked with Karoliina Koho as a technical assistant in the project "Next Generation Tool for Environmental Assessment".