Professor of Baltic Sea research at Tvärminne Zoological Station (TZS), Royal guest professor at the Baltic Sea Centre, Stockholm University

My role is to broadly promote Baltic Sea research and synthesis and marine ecological research. In my own research I work with understanding marine ecosystem processes in general and the ecology of seafloor habitats in particular. I am broadly interested in community ecology, exploring the value of biodiversity and the mechanisms important for its maintenance, and promoting basic science as a solid knowledge base to support decision-making. Examples of current research questions being addressed include the biodiversity of seafloor communities and their influence on carbon and nutrient transformation and retention along environmental gradients in coastal ecosystems, and cross-habitat quantifications of ecosystem metabolism and habitat-function relationships across coastal seafloor habitats.

Examples of current research projects:

  • The breathing seascape: resolving ecosystem metabolism and habitat-function relationships across coastal habitats. PI: Academy of Finland (01.09.2016 - 1.08.2020).
  • BONUS COCOA - Nutrient cocktail in coastal zones of the Baltic Sea – improving understanding of the transformation and retention of nutrients and organic matter in the coastal zone. Co-PI: funded jointly by the EU and the Academy of Finland (2014-2017).
  • Mångfaldens betydelse i våra kustvatten - hur påverkar miljöförändringar de ekosystemtjänster som våra kustnära vattenområden tillhandahåller? Co-ordinator: funded by Sophie von Julins Stiftelse (2017-2021).

Alf’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Alf’s profile in Google Scholar.

Research coordinator, acting director at TZS

I am currently the acting director as well as a research coordinator at TZS. My role is to facilitate all research projects at the station and to represent the station in different research infrastructure networks. I also work with general outreach, information and media contacts. I am a marine benthic ecologist with a particular interest in the links between soft-sediment invertebrate fauna, including invasive species, and ecosystem functioning. I want to know how environmental change, such as eutrophication, hypoxia, climate change, ocean acidification, invasive species, and the increasing amounts of microplastics in the sea, affects the benthic fauna and subsequently ecosystem functioning.

Examples of current research projects:

  • The breathing seascape: resolving ecosystem metabolism and habitat-function relationships across coastal habitats. Team member, Academy of Finland (01.09.2016 - 1.08.2020).
  • BONUS COCOA - Nutrient cocktail in coastal zones of the Baltic Sea – improving understanding of the transformation and retention of nutrients and organic matter in the coastal zone. Team member, funded jointly by the EU and the Academy of Finland (2014-2017).

Joanna’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Joanna’s profile in Google Scholar.

PhD Student at TZS
 

When asked what makes the northern Baltic Sea special, you might think about the vast expanses of ice that can transform the sea during the winter. But what you might not think so much about, is that in the summer parts of the archipelagos are transformed underwater by vibrant plant meadows. These meadows are also special to the northern Baltic because they are highly diverse with a unique assembly of plant species. We can use these meadows to ask questions that would be difficult to answer elsewhere. I investigate how the characteristics of plants affect ecosystem processes such as primary production and nutrient cycling, from individual to community scale. By doing this, we can better understand the underlying mechanisms which direct the fate of ecosystem processes in aquatic plant communities.

Current research project:

  • Relationships between plant traits and ecosystem processes along environmental gradients in temperate plant communities. PI: Camilla Gustafsson. Funded by Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation, (01.01.2015-31.12.2018).

Charlotte's profile in ORCID.

Postdoctoral Researcher at TZS, Guest Researcher at Uni. Southern Denmark

My research explores the productivity of coastal waters and the factors that drive fundamental ecosystem processes such as primary productivity and respiration. Seafloor habitats are a key focus of my work, because they represent hotspots of biodiversity and productivity within the coastal zone but they remain poorly studied. Filling in this knowledge gap requires a novel interdisciplinary approach that investigates productivity rates in combination with other factors of influence such as sunlight and nutrient availability, hydrodynamics, and biodiversity. The success of this work is tightly linked to the use of new and evolving technologies such as Aquatic Eddy Covariance and microsensor techniques.

Current research projects:

  • The Breathing Seascape: resolving ecosystem metabolism and habitat-function relationships across coastal habitats. PI Prof Alf Norkko. Academy of Finland Project (01.09.2016 - 31.08.2020).
  • Sediment resuspension: an understudied key factor for biogeochemical functioning of coastal habitats. (PI Prof. Ronnie N. Glud. Funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research (01.01.2018 - 31.12.2019).

Karl’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Karl’s profile in Google Scholar.

PhD student at TZS and Baltic Sea Centre, Stockholm University
 
My main interests are coastal ecology and management. I study ecosystem functions in the coastal zone, focusing on Baltic Sea benthic invertebrate animals and plants. I also look at how the joint effects of climate change and human-induced pressures such as nutrient loads might change the functioning of the benthic system and the ecosystem services it provides through model simulations.
 

Current research project:

  • BONUS BALTICAPP – Well-being from the Baltic Sea—applications combining natural science and economics. Funded jointly by the EU and the Academy of Finland (2015-2018).

Eva's profile in Google Scholar.

Researcher at TZS

I am investigating the role of benthic communities for ecosystem functioning. I am especially interested in how the benthic fauna is affecting the nutrient retention and transformation in varying coastal habitats. The coastal zone is very important because it provides us with many ecosystem services and maintains many important ecosystem processes. But with the ongoing eutrophication and threat of increasing hypoxia these ecosystems may be changed or impaired. For example, what happens to the functions and, on a larger scale, to ecosystem services if we lose or get changed fauna communities?

Current research project:

  • BONUS COCOA - Nutrient cocktail in coastal zones of the Baltic Sea – improving understanding of the transformation and retention of nutrients and organic matter in the coastal zone. Funded jointly by the EU and the Academy of Finland (2014-2017).

Johanna’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Johanna’s profile in Google Scholar.

Post-doctoral rearcher at University of Auckland and TZS.

I am a field ecologist and I am interested in biodiversity and ecosystem function in coastal soft-sediment, seagrass, and mangrove ecosystems. My current research focus is on the traits that make seafloor ecosystems resilient to human disturbances. Coastal marine ecosystems are some of the most impacted by multiple human activities, and my research aims to understand how different elements of biodiversity protect against the loss of ecosystem function under human disturbances in the coastal environment. Specifically, I am interested in teasing apart the elements of biodiversity that make seafloor macrofaunal communities resilient to human disturbances that occur at different spatial and temporal scales. My research aims to find practical ways to assess vulnerability of coastal marine ecosystems to future Anthropogenic pressures and disturbances.

Current research projects:

  • Assessing the role of biodiversity in maintaining coastal ecosystem health in the Anthropocene (Funded by: Rutherford Foundation, and Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation)

On-going projects involved:

  • Tipping points in coastal marine ecosystems (Funded by: New Zealand National Science Challenge, Sustainable Seas Tipping Points project; Project leader: Prof Simon Thrush)
  • Biophysical interactions in soft-sediments: effects of sediment nutrient enrichment on sediment stability

Rebecca’s profile at google scholar.

 

PhD student at TZS.

The intensity and frequency of marine heatwaves have increased globally not sparing the Baltic Sea, an environment already stressed by e.g. eutrophication and hypoxia. My research focuses on the impact of such episodic events on benthic communities and the maintenance of their respective ecosystem functioning of bioturbation and nutrient cycling. Organisms possess different strategies in adapting to changing environmental conditions – but what are the consequences of prompt, intense changes? What traits are favorable in coping with such events? Additionally, I will also assess what habitats (seagrass meadows, bladder wrack belt, mussel bed, etc.) are most susceptible to marine heatwaves.

Current research project:

  • The role of episodic events for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in coastal waters. Funded by Walter & Andrèe de Nottbeck Foundation.

Post-doctoral researcher at TZS

Seagrasses and other aquatic plants are foundation species that maintain biodiversity and modify the abiotic and biotic environment. They form vast underwater meadows that can contain up to 8-9 co-occurring plant species. My research interests lie in the field of marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning with a focus on submerged vegetation i.e. seagrasses and other vascular aquatic plants. More specifically, I explore how aquatic plant functional diversity in terms of functional traits can be linked to ecosystem processes (e.g. primary production and nutrient cycling) and properties (community resilience and recovery) in submerged aquatic plant meadows.

Current research projects:

  • Functional traits in diverse seagrass communities: the relative importance and roles of effect and response traits. PI: Academy of Finland (01.09.2016-31.08.2019).
  • Relationships between plant traits and ecosystem processes along environmental gradients in temperate plant communities. PI: Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation (01.01.2015-31.12.2018).
  • Diversity strikes back: Does functional diversity enhance resilience in vegetated benthic communities. Co-PI. The Swedish Cultural Foundation (2018).

Camilla’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Camilla’s profile in Google Scholar.

 

I am studying sediment erodibility and resuspension in coastal areas of the Baltic Sea. I am specifically interested in the environmental drivers behind the spatial and temporal variability of sediment erodibility in natural environments.

Current research projects:

  • Sediment erodibility and resuspension in shallow coastal areas of the Baltic Sea. Funded by Heikki ja Hilma Honkasen säätiö, Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation, Onni Talaan säätiö (2015-2018).
  • BONUS COCOA - Nutrient cocktail in coastal zones of the Baltic Sea – improving understanding of the transformation and retention of nutrients and organic matter in the coastal zone. Funded jointly by the EU and the Academy of Finland (2014-2017).

Mari's profile in the University of Helsinki research portal.

PhD student at TZS

I am investigating the reasons behind a recent decline of flounders at the Finnish coast. Flounders are the most common flatfishes in the Baltic Sea. They are marine benthivorous fishes and important fishery targets. I am especially interested in the mechanisms controlling population/stock variability of flounders in the northern Baltic Sea. Recent findings have revealed that the flounders in the northern Baltic Sea in fact consist of two distinct species, constituting mixed stocks with temporally and spatially shifting dominance ratios. These findings do not only change the basis for stock assessments, management and conservation of Baltic flounders, but also profoundly change how we understand the ecology of the mixed populations and how we should study these fishes and their stock dynamics now and in the future. 

Current research projects: 

  • Population dynamics and characteristics: decline of flounder in the northern Baltic Sea. Past funding Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation, Svenska kulturfonden, Oskar Öflunds stiftelse, Waldemar von Frenckells stiftelse, and Suomen Luonnonsuojelun säätiö.
  • Evolutionary and conservation genomics of rapid ecological speciation in the Baltic Sea. Collaborator; PI Dr. Paolo Momigliano. Funding: Finnish Cultural Foundation (2018), Academy of Finland (9/2018–2021).

PhD student at TZS

The project examines the role of increasing accumulations of drifting detritus on the organic carbon fate of key coastal habitats in the Baltic Sea. The overall aim of this project is to study the fate of macroalgae-derived organic carbon, and examine how detritus source characteristics might affect the composition of organic carbon in coastal areas influenced by large external inputs of algal detritus. An additional aim is to investigate how this role may change seasonally.

Current research project:

  • The effects of increasing accumulations of algal detritus on the fate of organic carbon in shallow coastal habitats from the Baltic Sea. Funded by the Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation.

Kahma's profile in the University of Helsinki research portal.

Post-doctoral researcher at TZS

Climate change, eutrophication and species introductions promote changes in the structure and function of marine benthic communities. My research focuses on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in the benthos with a special emphasis on invasive species. I am interested in what affects the structuring of the communities, and how the biotic and abiotic interactions affect the outcome of different processes. More specifically I am studying the effects of macrofauna and environmental factors on bioturbation and nutrient cycling in the coastal environment.

Current research projects:

  • Changes in the population of a key species, Limecola balthica, 1926-2017. Post doc, funded by Viking Line, (2018).
  • Diversity strikes back: Does trait diversity enhance resilience in aquatic plant and faunal ecosystems. Co-PI: funded by Svenska Kulturfonden (2017-2022).
  • Chasing a moving target: From wriggling worms in the warming mud to ecosystem-level effects and management of our valuable seas. Post doc, funded by the Nottbeck foundation (2019-2020).

Laura’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Laura’s profile in Google Scholar.

PhD student at TZS

I explore the role of benthic animals for carbon and nutrient cycling in the Baltic Sea. Coastal ecosystems are highly threatened by climate change and eutrophication, with harmful consequences for biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Benthic macrofaunal communities play a pivotal role in biogeochemical cycling and can increase the nutrient binding capacity of the seafloor, which enhances ecosystem resistance to eutrophication. I am adapting theories of ecological stoichiometry to explore the elemental contents in benthic invertebrates to see whether these animals function as nutrient sinks or sources in the ecosystem. I am very interested in biological traits, and the goal of my research is to understand how the features of animals are linked to whole ecosystem processes.

Current research project:

  • Elemental stoichiometry of benthic invertebrates as driver of coastal biogeochemical cycles. PI Anna Villnäs. Funded by University of Helsinki and the Nottbeck foundation (2019-2021).

Researcher at TZS, University of Helsinki and the Baltic Bridge, Stockholm University

My research focuses on exploring the role of key coastal habitats (e.g. bladder-wrack and blue mussel rocky beds, seagrass and bare soft-sediments) in the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning of the Baltic Sea. We are using the Aquatic Eddy Covariance as a cutting-edge way to quantify habitat-function relationships across key coastal habitats. I am also interested in the effects of increasing accumulations of drifting macroalgal detritus on the functioning of coastal habitats. I study how detritus source dynamics and characteristics might affect benthic communities, oxygen dynamics and the composition of carbon in coastal areas affected by eutrophication and influenced by large drifting accumulations.

Current research projects:

  • The Breathing Seascape: resolving ecosystem metabolism and habitat-function relationships across coastal habitats. Collaborator. PI Prof. Alf Norkko. Funded by Academy of Finland (01.09.16–31.08.20).
  • Baltic Sea eutrophication: the effects of increasing accumulations of drifting algal detritus on the functioning of shallow coastal habitats. PI. Funded by Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation. (01.01.2017–31.12.2020).

Iván’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Iván’s profile in Google Scholar.

Researcher at TZS

Our coastal environments provide a wide range of essential ecosystem functions and services. These diverse, productive environments are threatened by disturbances such as climate change and eutrophication. As a marine benthic ecologist, I explore how structural and functional aspects of biodiversity relates to ecosystem functions and services, and how changes in the environment affect this relationship. In current research, I use biological traits to estimate the role of benthic fauna for carbon and nutrient turnover in the coastal ecosystem. Although I perform basic ecological research, I strive to make research findings relevant for environmental management and for the general public.

Current research projects:

  •  Mångfaldens betydelse i våra kustvatten - hur påverkar miljöförändringar de ekosystemtjänster som våra kustnära vattenområden tillhandahåller? Co-PI: funded by Sophie von Julins Stiftelse (2017-2021).
  • Elemental stoichiometry of benthic invertebrates as driver of coastal biogeochemical cycles. PI. Funded by University of Helsinki and the Nottbeck foundation (2019-2021).
  • BONUS COCOA - Nutrient cocktail in coastal zones of the Baltic Sea – improving understanding of the transformation and retention of nutrients and organic matter in the coastal zone. Post doc: funded jointly by the EU and the Academy of Finland (2014-2017).

Anna’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Anna’s profile in Google Scholar.

PhD student at TZS and the Department of Geosciences and Geography

I look at benthic diatom communities in the coastal zone. I want to define environmental factors and biotic interactions that drive the spatial and temporal change in diatom community and trait composition, and I aim at linking diatom diversity to ecosystem functioning, such as productivity. My research includes Baltic Sea diatom communities at different geographical scales: from a local study in the Tvärminne region to a study comprising several countries.

Current research project:

  • A trait-based approach for diatom functional biogeography in the Baltic Sea. Funded by the Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation.

Leena’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Leena's profile in ResearchGate.

Researcher at TZS

I have been studying blue mussel population dynamics at Tvärminne Zoological Station for > 20 years. My research interest circle around spatial ecology, also including temporal questions, i.e. how and why species use their environment as they do and how a changing environment affect their ecology. I am also interested in community ecology, including in addition to benthic invertebrates also macrophytes and fish. My recent 10 years were spent as senior advisor and conservation biologist at the state owned enterprise Metsähallitus. Through the day-to-day work with marine conservation issues, including legislation, environmental assessments and management, my niche and interest lies in the interface between ecosystem ecology and applied ecology.

Current research project:

  • Living at the edge. Funded by the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.

Mats’ profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Mats’ profile in ResearchGate.