Wine & Science seminar series
This seminar series gives researchers in our group as well as visiting scientists a chance to present their work, with plenty of time for discussion.


Autumn 2022 seminar programme

30 September at 14:00

Lei Gao: Modifying MAESPA for application in a spatially two-dimensional vineyard


MAESPA, a process-based ecophysiological and ecohydrological model, combines the radiation interception and leaf physiology routines from MAESTRA and the water balance routines from SPA. In order to apply this model in a spatially two-dimensional vineyard, in this study, MAESPA was modified to set two soil buckets, one under the canopy and the other representing the inter-row bare soil. Data obtained from an eddy covariance system, sap flow system, microlysimeters, and soil moisture sensors were used to evaluate the modeled photosynthesis, transpiration, soil evaporation, and soil water dynamics.  


2 September at 14:00

Sanna Sevanto: Directed plant-microbiome evolution to improve plant drought tolerance

Microbiome optimization could be a solution to improve the performance of biological systems. Yet, owing to challenges in finding and cultivating microbiomes that maintain their function in field conditions, use of microbes to improve plant productivity, crop stress tolerance or ecosystem carbon sequestration has not become widespread despite years of trials. Based on the strong interactions and interdependency of rhizosphere microbes and plants, directed plantmicrobiome evolution has been suggested as a means for developing microbiomes for these purposes. Here, this directed evolution approach was used to test whether microbiomes that influence plant physiology and improve plant performance under drought could be produced consistently. We cultivated Zea mays from seed in an artificial soil inoculated with microbiomes originating from a pine forest or a historically-droughted maize field. In the initial generation, water use efficiency (WUE) and stomatal closure point (SCP) were measured once the plants grew 10 leaves. The microbiomes of three plants demonstrating the best or worst WUE or SCP values for each microbiome source were selected for propagation to the next generation of plants, and the process was repeated for two additional generations. After three generations of directed evolution, the microbiome originating from the forest soil was able to consistently influence the SCP of the plants, while the microbiome from the agricultural field had no significant effect on SCP or WUE even if the microbial communities of best and worst planst diversified consistently. No single microbial strain was responsible for these effects, but consortia of bacteria related to the plant traits were identified using a dimensionality reduction method called Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA). Our results suggest that rejuvenation of agricultural soils might be critical for improved plant performance and carbon sequestration. Results on the reproducibility as well as use of these microbiomes in field conditions will be discussed.


Spring 2022 seminar programme

Friday 27th May 14:00-15:00

Dr. Elisa Stefaniak. "Modelling optimal plant carbon storage under stress"

Metsätieteiden talo 332/ (passcode 908134)


Predicting how environmental stress modifies vegetation function involves understanding how plant tolerate stress. For example, plants store non-structural carbohydrates which provide them with energy and materials during stress and expedite post-stress recovery. However, storing carbon requires an a priori action that, while having positive effects on future survival during stress, may be detrimental in the short-term by re-directing carbon from other crucial processes such as growth. I explore this growth-storage trade-off by employing a range of modelling techniques to describe the response of the optimal storage utilisation trajectory. The three methods used: optimal control theory (OCT), gap model simulation and model predictive control (MPC), allow for the characterisation of an optimal trajectory during a single stress event (OCT), the investigation of the long-term success of alternative storage strategies in a community of plants under stochastic stress (gap model) and exploring the acclimation of carbon storage to a stochastic environment (MPC). The results from these modelling exercises identify candidate storage-related allocation traits that can potentially link carbon storage strategies with other observable plant traits and processes.


Friday 6th May 12.30-14.00

Metsätieteiden talo 332/zoom:

Prof. Jaana Bäck, Biodiversity Digital Twins

Prof. Mari Pihlatie, TBA

Prof. Teemu Hölttä, Center of Excellency in Tree Biology

Prof. Jussi Heinonsalo, The formation and dynamics of deep soil organic matter storages (DEEP-SOM)


Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 624 7058 1272

Passcode: 129432


Autumn 2021 seminar programme

24th September


Chao Zhang, UH

Remote sensing of vegetation photosynthesis and biogenic volatile organic compounds: recent work and Academy Research Postdoctoral Researcher project plans


29th October


Katja Rinne-Garmston and Elina Sahlstedt, LUKE Ultra-high resolution carbon isotope analysis (d13C) of tree rings for tree physiological and climate change studies Zoom

12th November


Ram Oren, Duke/UH

Nitrogen in forest ecosystems


If you are interested in giving a presentation, don't hesitate to contact Jon Atherton and book your slot!

Time and location

Once a month on Fridays (dates can vary!), starting 14

Zoom and/or Room 332 unless announced otherwise, Forest Sciences Building, 3rd floor, Viikki

Potential speakers

The Wine & Science seminars provide a valuable channel of constructive criticism from a wide and multidisciplinary audience on your work. Anyone from a PhD student to a Professor can give a presentation. Wine Seminars are a great way to present ongoing work and discuss preliminary results so that the seminar has a chance to feedback on your work. Finalized studies can also be presented. The audience is usually composed of MSc and PhD students, postdocs and senior staff with diverse backgrounds, so it is good to prepare a few introductory slides.


Topics cover the measurement, characterization and modelling of physical and physiological ecosystem processes and their interactions with the environment and climate (very broad indeed!). If you doubt whether your subject fits in, don't hesitate to contact Jon Atherton.

For the audience

Wine & Science seminars are a great chance to learn new things, interact with other research topics, and come up with new ideas, synergies and even collaborators! The series is also a great place for visiting scholars to give a talk.