Meet researchers of our Soils and Climate Change research group.
Kristiina Karhu, Group Leader

I am Associate Professor in Soils and Climate Change at the University of Helsinki, Finland. My background is in Environmental Science & Policy and Forest Soil Science. I am interested in microbial responses to climate change, and how we can mitigate climate change by better understanding the processes that for example lead to formation of stable C in soils from microbial residues. I study soil C and N cycling by combining field experiments, laboratory incubation studies, and stable isotopes.

Maiju Kosunen

My background is in forest ecology, more specifically in topics related to forest soil carbon and nitrogen cycling, disturbances, silviculture and entomology. Currently, my main research is concentrated on the effects of natural forest disturbances and salvage loggings on soil carbon sequestration and microbial residues in soil. In my doctoral dissertation, I examined site features that predispose forests to insect outbreaks as well as on the impacts of insect and storm disturbance on forest ecosystems. 

Riku Maltari

My research focus is the analysis of amino sugars from soil samples using High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-analysis combined with ortho-phthalaldehyde(OPA)-derivatization. Amino sugars are an important biomarker for quantification of bacterial and fungal necromass in the soil and their analysis is frequently cumbersome. When combining on-line OPA derivatization with HPLC, amino sugar analyses can be performed more rapidly than with previous methods. My interest is to try to discover the differences between the precision and accuracy of amino acid measurement with the HPLC method and previous gas chromatography (GC)-based measurements. I also search for new biomarker molecules to further increase the amount of information gained from these analyses. I obtained my doctoral degree in the Lignin group at the Chemistry department of University of Helsinki. My doctoral dissertation was about mild and green solvent fractionation and depolymerization of lignin and lignocellulosic biomass. 

Bin Song
Angela Martín Vivanco

I am a soil scientist specializing in soil conservation and sustainability, with a focus on soil carbon (C) dynamics. I study soil microbes’ role in the regulation of C fates using elevational gradients as proxies for temperature changes in the Peruvian Andes and Amazon Forests. This approach helps me investigate how predicted warming affects soil nutrients and microbial communities, which influence C dynamics. Specifically, I am investigating the linkage between microbial C pump theory and C use efficiency through incubation studies with 13C-glucose tracing method. This research includes soil characterization and the measurement of enzyme activities to analyse soil microbial stoichiometry. Additionally, I am exploring microbial community composition, using PLFA (phospholipid fatty acid analysis) and aminosugar profiling and how temperature and nutrient availability shape the direction and magnitude of priming effects.

Eva-Maria Roth

I am particularly interested in the effects of forest management practices on long-term soil carbon storage. In my doctoral research, I examine how different silvicultural systems (continuous cover forestry and rotation forest management) affect the soil carbon stability and the soil fungal community. I have conducted field studies in central and eastern Finland. My doctoral studies are funded by Finnish natural resources research foundation and Kone foundation.

Joanna Victoria Simms

I am a doctoral student that is interested in ecosystem modelling. My current project is to mathematically model the transfer between mycorrhiza and pine trees using game theory, optimisation and values from literature, along with the University of Helsinki Forest Modelling group. This will allow us to look at strategies in interspecies relationships, as well as adding more realistic nitrogen limitations to ecosystem models. 

Xuhui Luo
Aiwei Huang

Dr. Subin Kalu, Doctoral Researcher 2017-2022
Subin Kalu received a dissertation award from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry 

Dr. Outi-Maaria Sietiö, Postdoctoral Researcher 2020-2022

Dr. Sylwia Adamczyk, Postdoctoral Researcher, 2019-2020

Ass. Prof. Kevin Mganga, Postdoctoral Researcher, 2018-2020

Prof. Nele Meyer, Postdoctoral Researcher 2018-2019