ONGOING PROJECTS

Global taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity of stream macroinvertebrate communities: unravelling spatial trends, ecological determinants and anthropogenic threats

 

Anthropogenic activities threaten biodiversity at global, regional and local scales. Addressing this situation requires knowledge of the main mechanisms underlying biodiversity patterns. While the threats facing large, charismatic organisms are relatively well-known, those facing small-sized organisms inhabiting freshwater ecosystems are poorly studied, especially at large scales and in terms of taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional facets of biodiversity. This scarcity of knowledge is largely due to the absence of an organized dataset on functional and phylogenetic information. This project (1) aims to increase understanding of functional and phylogenetic differences among stream macroinvertebrate faunas across the world, (2) examines variation in the responses of taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic biodiversity to natural and anthropogenic factors within distinct regions, and (3) predicts how environmental changes at global, regional and local scales affect stream macroinvertebrate biodiversity. These three aims will be achieved using standardized functional trait and phylogenetic datasets compiled during the project, as well as local biological and environmental data previously collected from 40 regions across the world. This project will also provide guidelines to policy makers and environmental managers to facilitate the conservation of stream biodiversity at different scales. This project will include collaboration with large numbers of researchers from across the world, as well as the training of students in a multi-disciplinary environment, integrating ecological, evolutionary, geographical and environmental sciences. The project is funded by the Academy of Finland between 2020 and 2024.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regoverning the existing hydropower system: integrating ecological, economic and societal aspects of sustainability

 

We are involved in this joint project of Finnish Environment Institute and Natural Resources Institute Finland on the ecological, societal, economic and legal consequences of river dams. We are mostly responsible for whole-community biodiversity and benthic macroinvertebrate analysis and assessment in this project. This project is funded by the Academy of Finland for a period from 2020 to 2024.

Securing biodiversity, functional integrity and ecosystem services in drying river networks

Most river networks of the world have intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams. The trend is that many more river networks are becoming threatened by an increasing probability of drying, but predictions where and how such changes will affect biodiversity and ecosystems services are unclear. We are participating in a very timely European Union H2020 funded project where the focus is on biodiversity and ecosystem services in streams and rivers prone to recurring drying. The project is led by Dr. Thibault Datry. We are specifically contributing to WP2: 'Drying river networks and biodiversity'. The project is ongoing between 2020 and 2023.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A synthesis of causes and consequences of environmental change in high-latitude catchments

 

Global change threatens to alter biodiversity and ecosystems services at different scales, and this progress is particularly alarming and rapid in the high-latitude regions of the world. These boreal and Arctic regions harbor a wide variety of catchments draining various geologies, soils and landforms. Such abiotic heterogeneity provides diverse possibilities for the biota to fill different ecological niches. Environmental conditions in boreal and Arctic catchments have been and are being modified by anthropogenic activities, such as climate warming, hydrological changes, land-use alteration, damming and eutrophication to name a few major threats. These threats are jeopardizing microbes, plants and animals dwelling in freshwater, riparian and terrestrial ecosystems in high-latitude catchments, which has been noticed as range shifts and local extinctions of species. The aim of this initiative is to help understanding the causes and consequences of these changes, as well as provide guidelines for environmental managers and policy makers to conserve these unique biotas and ecosystem services they provide.

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The project looks at catchments from local habitat scales to views from beyond the Earth. We thus have a multi-scale perspective and use a multi-methodological approach to understanding environmental change. This approach also necessitates extensive collaboration both with experts of different scientific fields and from different high-latitude regions.