Ecology (PhD, Adjunct Prof.), group leader

My research is interdisciplinary and problem-driven. This means that as I am interested in trying to find solutions for nature conservation, the main questions of my research are often inspired by practical problems and gaps in knowledge. To find optimal solutions one usually needs a holistic approach to understand the ecosystem. Furthermore, in order to apply research results in conservation, different fields of science are often needed to understand the human society, i.e. it’s values, decision making, juridical barriers etc. For collaborations, research inquiries, and dissertations, please feel free to contact me by sending an email (susanna.lehvavirta@helsinki.fi). Click the TUHAT research portal link to find more information.

Invertebrates and statistical analyses (PhD, Adjunct Prof.)

My research interests include the responses of invertebrate and plant communities to urbanisation.  To this end I concentrate on the effects of various urban features, such as habitat edges, trampling intensity, and greenspace fragmentation in general, on communities in remnant urban forests, meadow habitats, vegetated/green roofs and mires. Additionally, during the past years I have become interested in using urban soils as in situ laboratories to investigate decomposition and soil quality, and to involve students and citizen scientists to learn about the importance of soil biodiversity and ecological processes. Feel free to contact me via email (johan.kotze@helsinki.fi). More information about my research in TUHAT research portal.

User-perspective, adoption of green roofs, associate leader (MSc, doctoral student) 

My field of expertise is environmental sociology and environmental social science, specifically urban questions and qualitative methods.  My research issues concern values, meanings and experiences related to urban green roofs, future-oriented co-design, and implementation of scientific knowledge in planning processes. I have studied urbanites’ mental images of different kinds of green roof solutions, on-roof experiences (e.g. restorative), and how green roofs are adopted and realized in large construction processes. In broader context, I am exploring tools to integrate user perspective into urban greening, using green roofs as model spaces. I am developing future-oriented methods for studying expectations for green roofs, based on e.g. the method of empathy-based stories, MEBS, to be used in the context of participatory planning and design. At the moment, I am working on case-studies in a comprehensive service center/assisted living, and a residential house with different green roof solutions in Helsinki. I am cooperating with several national and international researchers, for e.g. developing the methods. Feel free to contact me via email (marja.mesimaki@helsinki.fi)! See TUHAT research portal to find more information.

Runoff quality and quantity (PhD, Adjunct Prof.)

My research background is in aquatic ecology with the focus on food web interactions in eutrophic lakes subject to various restoration efforts. However, rehabilitation is not sustainable as long as external loading is not adequately controlled, which, in turn, is not possible until the degree of various sources of pollution is known. The loading of nutrients and other contaminants from urban sources is a topic worth studying, as cities are disproportionately located next to aquatic ecosystems. Urbanised ecosystems, characterised by surfaces impervious to water, have low capacity to generate ecosystem services, such as surface water drainage and purification of stormwater. Green infrastructure, including green roofs, bioinfiltration basins, wetlands and other bluegreen structures, may have great potential for managing urban runoff, while the performance of such measures in cold northern climate has received very little attention in scientific research. There is too little knowledge on how to efficiently improve runoff quality by using constructed ecosystems. My aim is to find sustainable, ecological solutions to build green, resilient cities that cause minimal problems downstream. Feel free to contact me via email (kirsi.kuoppamaki@helsinki.fi) and see TUHAT research portal to find more information about my research and activities. I am a member also in the Urban Ecosystems research group.

Substrate properties and soil animals (PhD, post doc)

In my master thesis I studied the repellent effect of birch oil distillate on the land snail Arianta arbustorum. In my PhD work I continued working on the same topic: the effects birch oil distillate as a molluscicide and its ecotoxicological effects Recently, I have been studying the use of biochar as a soil amendment and its impacts on the plant growth and leaching of nutrients and pesticides from agricultural soils. Currently I also study the functioning of green roofs under Finnish climatic conditions by exploring the properties of green roofs that give rise to an active soil animal community, efficient cycling of nutrients and carbon, plant growth and management of stormwater in green roofs. I am interested in the plant growth and runoff quality and quantity in green roofs established by using recycled materials, biochar and mycorrhiza amendment. I am also working as a researcher in the Plant Health team in Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). Feel free to contact me via email (marleena.hagner@helsinki.fi). More information in TUHAT research portal. I am a member also in the Urban Ecosystems research group.

Vegetation (PhD, post doc)

My research interests lie in the field of biodiversity, community and invasion ecology of plants and GIS. I am especially interested in the impact of environmental conditions on the occurrence and diversity of plant species. Previously, I have studied plant diversity and invasions at community and population levels and assessed how environmental conditions (e.g. disturbance, climate) and species characteristics affect plant communities in natural and man-made habitats. Green roofs provide a new, man-made habitat for plants. I explore how environmental conditions (e.g. substrate) contribute to plant community composition and to the success of individual plant species at green roofs. Furthermore, I am interested in whether green roofs can maintain biodiversity of native plant species or are they easily invaded by non-native species. Feel free to contact me via email (miia.jauni@helsinki.fi). More information in TUHAT research portal.

Restorative and aesthetic experiences of visitors (PhD, post doc)

My studies concentrate mostly on restorative and aesthetic experiences of people in urban forests. I’m mainly studying what kinds of forests are most restorative, and what elements make forests aesthetically appealing. I have found, for example, that people feel more restorative inside urban forests with a closed view to the urban environment compared to edge environments where visibility to the urban matrix is open or semi-closed. Currently, I’m studying the aesthetics of dead and decaying wood in urban forests and parks. My studies concentrate mostly on restorative and aesthetic experiences of people in different types of green spaces. As my background is in biology I am especially interested in combining the ecological qualities of ecosystems to aesthetic and other experiential qualities of environments. My studies concern both empirical work as well as theoretical and conceptual exploration on what aesthetic qualities of environments actually are. Feel free to contact me via emial (kaisa.hauru@helsinki.fi). More information in TUHAT research portal.

Vegetation (MSc, PhD student)

Having background in landscape architecture (Warsaw University of Life Sciences, 2008), in 2011 I started working on my PhD thesis titled: “Green roofs in northern climates: plant community, diversity and roof performance in Finland”. Main focus of my study is survival of plant species from habitats as dry meadows, with special attention given to Finnish native species and archaeophyte species. My survey includes also following aspects: species richness, optimal species composition, green roof construction and water run-off. I am interested in various urban ecology aspects (green infrastructure, biodiversity, habitat provision and many more). Feel free to contact me via email (malgorzata.gabrych@helsinki.fi). More in formation in TUHAT research portal.

Invertebrates (MSc, doctoral student)

My research focuses on invertebrate communities of green roofs. I’m particularly interested in green roofs as habitats for species connected to dry meadows and, hence, in the potential of green roofs in invertebrate conservation. Besides the biodiversity aspect, I’m interested in the ecology of green roof invertebrate communities. Vegetated roofs tops offer a new and exciting platform for studies on population and community dynamics in highly fragmented landscape. Related to this, I’m studying colonization processes on newly built roofs. Feel free to contact me via email me (kukka.kyro@helsinki.fi) and see TUHAT research portal to find more information.

Moss roofs (MSc, doctoral student)

I have a background in ecology with a M.Sc. from the University of Helsinki. My Bachelor’s thesis focused on green roofs in general. In my Master’s thesis I studied green roofs in more detail focusing on mosses. Currently as a PhD student I’m studying moss species and substrate properties on green roofs. I also have a degree and work experience as a international wilderness guide.

My research focuses on novel ultra light solutions concerning mosses on green roofs. I want to explore how we can benefit from the extraordinary characteristics of mosses which allow them to survive and flourish in a hostile environments such as human made artificial landscapes.

I started my PhD in 2014 with the supervision of adjunct professors Susanna Lehvävirta and Johannes Enroth. At the moment I have two research roofs in Helsinki - the roofs are located in Kaisaniemi Botanical garden and in Meilahti Sports center. These roofs cover altogether more than 5000 m2. My research is funded by Kone foundation. If you have questions or ideas, please do not hesitate to contact me via email (jm.niemikapee@gmail.com). More information in TUHAT research portal.

Plant symbiotic microbes (MSc, doctoral student)

Green roof research has been gaining its popularity and importance in academia more and more. However, if plants could not survive on green roofs, none of the researches could be conducted at all. So my researches focus on growth and survival of green roof plants since my Master’s thesis, specifically applying plant-growth-promoting-microbes in the soil to achieve or partially achieve the goal. I focused on two commonly used beneficial microbes: Bacillus amyloliquefaciens (bacterium) and Rhizophagus irregularis (arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus, formerly known as Glomus intraradices) on vascular plants (berry plants, ornamental plants, and grass). I have been working both in greenhouse and green roof conditions for different experimental layouts. Contact me via email (long.xie@helsinki.fi)

Policy instruments (graduate student)

Taina Suonio: policy instruments, Roslings Manor Gardens – Taina Suonio has been in an utmost crucial role in negotiating, planning and establishing experimental green roofs through her expertise and wide contact network. Contact me via email (taina.suonio@helsinki.fi).

  • Taina Suonio: policy instruments, www.rmgardens.fi
  • Renan Benicke: outdoor spaces for children (University of Münster)
  • Iiris Lettojärvi
  • Elina Laurén
  • Väinö Huhtalo
  • Jutta Kasurinen
  • Inga Savolainen