The BioGeoClimate Modelling Lab focuses on understanding and predicting the past, present, and future biosphere.
Species distribution modelling

Species distribution modelling (SDM) is a widely used approach to examine and predict biological responses in space and time. SDM is used to gain insights in 1) overall species distributions, 2) their past-present-future probability of occurrence, and 3) to quantify species–environment relationships. Research in the lab is focused on increasing the ecological realism of the distribution models and is developing models from both theoretical and applied perspectives. The lab is at the forefront of progress, especially in including true field measurements such as soil properties, biotic interactions, productivity, and earth surface processes in the modelling framework. Our predominant study subject is vegetation (vascular plants, bryophytes, and lichens), but we also model other taxa: birds, butterflies, amphibians, mammals, and diatoms.

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Keywords: Species richness| Biotic interactions | Stacked species distribution models


Earth surface processes

The lab studies Earth surface processes, such as geomorphology, ground-surface properties, and soil thermal-hydrological conditions, and their interactions with biota and climate, by using spatial modelling methods. Moreover, the lab specializes in predictive mapping of various geomorphological features typical in cold regions, such as cryoturbation and permafrost in mires. Besides investigating the spatial and temporal variation of Earth surface processes, the drivers of soil moisture and temperature patterns are one of the main topics of the lab, as land-atmosphere interactions and their impacts on the changing environment are yet largely unknown. Additionally, ground surface carbon fluxes are a recent interest of the lab, as carbon is a principal element in the biosphere-atmosphere feedback system.

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Keywords: Thermal and hydrological conditions of soil | Soil-vegetation-climate interactions | Geomorphology

Remote sensing of the environment

One of the main focuses of the lab is to bring ecological relevance to remote sensing with novel technologies used in environmental research. Our aim is to address questions regarding both biotic and abiotic environments, such as species diversity, primary productivity, and ground-surface conditions, as well as drivers controlling the accelerating global change. There is a fundamental research gap to be filled concerning both up- and down-scaling of environmental data and models, which the lab addresses by combining multiscale remotely sensed data with in situ observations and measurements and unmanned aerial missions. The The lab utilizes multitemporal data from micro- to macroscales by using, for example, Structure from Motion, thermal infrared, LIDAR, and global satellite data.

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Keywords: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) | LiDAR | Hyperspectral remote sensing | Landsat | Sentinel | MODIS | AVHRR

Climate: past, present, and future

Climate predictions to the past, present, and future are important in order to understand the effects of ongoing climate change on ecosystems, earth surface processes, and ground-surface conditions. The lab develops both empirical and mechanistic modelling methods for accurate estimation of climatic variation at local and regional scales. The aim is to add realism to current climate data by examining the micro- and mesoscale drivers of climate at the atmospheric boundary layer, such as solar radiation, plant canopies, and cold-air pooling. Past climates are studied by applying models of biotic response to study the development of climate across geological time based on fossil datasets. These past and present climate model developments further improve the predictions of future climate with different greenhouse gas scenarios.

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Key words: Climate change | Palaeoclimate | Topoclimate

Arctic environmental change

Arctic regions are particularly vulnerable to global change as they comprise of ecosystems that respond strongly to even slight changes in climate or land use, resulting in cascading consequences for Earth systems. Collectively, these effects will alter ground-surface conditions, vegetation, biodiversity, and bio-geochemical fluxes. The lab examines environmental change in the Arctic through questions concerning the interactions of biota, Earth surface processes, and climate. For example, the lab has studied the effects of different climate change scenarios on vegetation, refugia persistence, and Earth surface processes, and investigated the role of soil moisture in climate change impact forecasting. Our multi-layer study designs provide new insights into studying species distributions, ground-surface conditions, and climatic changes, and their interactions.

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Key words: Shrubification | Permafrost | Refugia