How do ecological and environmental processes shape the world we live in? How can we make solid inference and conclusions on these processes from data?
Research in the interface of ecology and statistics

Our research can be broadly divided into two themes: 1) developing statistical methods for analysing ecological and environmental data and to support environmental management and decision-making and 2) ecological and environmental change research. There is a strong connection between these two main themes in all work we do. 

Due to our role in the interface between ecology and statistics, we are affiliated to two Departments of the University of Helsinki: the Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Program at the Faculty of Biosciences and Environmental Sciences, and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the Faculty of Science. We are also part of the Research Centre for Ecological Change, a large consortium of ecological change researchers.

Statistics and machine learning

Statistics is a mathematical science with focus on analysis and interpretation of data. It is the traditional data science that is nowadays more important than ever. Statistics research provides tools to analyze data and extract information from it. It plays a central role in almost all fields of modern societies; including the modern change making technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. Statistical methods are also key tools in solving global challenges related to environmental change and globalization.

Our research in statistics focuses on hierarchical Bayesian modeling and decision analysis. Specific research areas  include spatial and spatio-temporal statistics, Gaussian processes, state-space models, Bayesian optimization, optimal design of observational studies and computational methods.

Ecology and Environmental Sciences

Ecology studies the distribution and abundance of species, and their interactions with other species and the environment. Biodiversity denotes the variety and variability of life. Biodiversity is essential for the well being of human society. Understanding how biodiversity and ecosystem processes respond to environmental changes is mandatory to understand the subsequent consequences to ecosystem functions and services, such as food safety and human health.

Our research concentrates on ecological changes and their implications to ecosystem functions and services in general. Specific research lines include species distribution modelling, biodiversity ecosystem function (BEF) relationship, population and fisheries management, environmental management and risk assessment.

Publications and PhD theses produced in the EnvStat group