1/2019: On the photo from left top: Markku Koskinen, Tatu Polvinen, Elisa Halmeenmäki, Lukas Kohl, left middle: Iikka Haikarainen, Anuliina Putkinen, left low: Minna Santalahti, Mari Pihlatie, Marjo Patama, Salla Tenhovirta.


Mari Pihlatie

Academy Research Fellow (2015-2020), ERC starting grant holder (2018-2023), Associate professor in Environmental Soil Science (2017), Principal Investigator (PI) in Viikki Plant Science Center (ViPS), and PI for soil research at SMEAR II station at Hyytiälä, University of Helsinki. Leading the team working on CH4 and N2O oxide exchange in forest ecosystems.

Expertise in plant-soil interactions, soil biogeochemical processes of carbon and nitrogen cycles, with a strong focus on developing greenhouse gas flux measurement methods from plot to ecosystem scales. I’m also a cross country skier and a mother of three kids.



Markku Koskinen

I’m an environmental scientist (ScD 2017) with experience in peatlands, hydrology, soil gas exchange research and building measurement devices. In the project my responsibilities first include building an automated soil gas exchange measurement system at the SMEAR II station in Hyytiälä and later studying and designing soil methane exchange process models. My research interests include the role of redox conditions in the carbon and nutrient fluxes in ecosystems.

I play the drums and used to play the violin, and enjoy outdoor activities such as walking our dogs and trekking in all seasons. I also try to instil some sense of respect and wonder for the natural world in my child.


Elisa Halmeenmäki

I’m doing a PhD thesis in the project about identifying sources and sinks of methane in a boreal forest. I first started to work in this group and on the topic doing my Master’s thesis in 2013. My focus is on the general view of the CH4 exchange of the forest area at SMEAR II station in Hyytiälä.

In addition to research I enjoy jogging and kettle bell, and I have two adorable pets (a rabbit and a turtle) to take care of.





Iikka Haikarainen

I´m a PhD student working in the project about CH4 fluxes of boreal tree species. In my thesis I focus on direct CH4 flux measurements from trees, determining the regulating factors behind tree CH4 fluxes and upscaling these fluxes to tree and forest level. I first started to work in this group in 2015 as a master student.

I´m also climbing enthusiast and I like spending time with wide range of other sport and outdoor activities.




Anuliina Putkinen

I started in the group in 2016 and currently work as a post-doc. I’m a microbiologist and thus in this project my responsibility is to analyze the role of microbes in the methane cycle of boreal forests. In my PhD thesis, I explored these same processes in boreal peatlands, which continue to be a “pet” topic of mine.

Forest is my environment also during my free time – you can often find me there either with a compass, a camera or a mushroom basket.


Petteri Pyykkö

I’m a Master’s student in meteorology on my fifth year. Currently working on my master thesis that is about methane measurements and uncertainties arising from measurement techniques on a drained wetland site Lettosuo in southern Finland. I started in the project as a summer worker in 2016, and have since collected data for my thesis in summertime of 2016 and 2017.

I’m very interested in climate change and extreme weather phenomena and I also do some reading of the topic and weather watching in my spare time. In addition I go to gym, jogging and play some badminton and tennis.





Homa Ghasemi

I am Master student in Atmospheric Science and currently working on my thesis which is focusing on Methane emission from tree stem in boreal forest. I have started my work in the project on Spring 2017. I am interested in Art and trying to learn more about nature.









Minna Santalahti

I am a PhD student at the University of Helsinki, Department of Agriculture and Forestry. I am a microbiologist and I have mainly focused on soil microbial ecology using DNA-based methods and pyrosequencing. Currently, I am finalizing my PhD thesis, which concerns of soil fungal communities in boreal forest, how different natural disturbances are affecting the communities and their functions. I have wide perspective to different aspects of soil microbial ecology, as I have been working with fungi, archaea and bacteria in different soils in several projects. In this project, my aim is to quantify methanotrophs and methanogens from different compartments of the forest.

For me, classical ballet is the way of forgetting all stress and troubles, to concentrate completely on expressing the music and doing the perfect movement. It is the art form, like science, of endless learning. In addition to dancing, I like to bicycle, walk outdoors and ski in winters.





Nandita Rajan

I am a Master’s student in atmospheric science with background in atmospheric chemistry and biogeochemical cycles. I joined this group in autumn 2017 to work on my master’s thesis project and my topic is about nitrous oxide emissions from drained peatland forest soils, and CoupModel simulation. This project is in collaboration with a research group at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

I like travelling, music, bird-watching, photography etc.. Summer in Finland is my favourite time to be outdoors cycling, and enjoy sports like tennis. I’m also trying to learn the Finnish language.


Lukas Kohl

I am an isotope biogeochemist with a background in soil and environmental chemistry. I use the tools of analytical chemistry to understand the world around us and solve important problems. More specifically, I am interested in ecosystem processes and how the shape the biogeochemical cycling of carbon and nutrients around us. I am enticed by learning how microorganisms and plants shape their environment one molecule at a time, thus shaping ours as well.

I am also interested in how pollutants are produced, transported, and degraded in the environment. In the past, I studied how nutrients influence microbial processes during plant litter decomposition, investigated how climate shapes soil formation of centuries, searched for the source of methane in ultra-basic, reducing groundwaters (pH>11, eH -500 mV) at Mars analogue sites, and tested how long wildfire-derived pollutants are retained in house

My work in the Forest CH4 and N2O goup focus on distinguishing between different sources of methane released by plants, like aerobic methane production within trees or microbial methane produced in soils and released through trees,  and in understanding the biochemistry behind these processes.

When I am not working, I make, listen, and dance to music and try to spend as much time in nature as possible.

Marjo Patama

I’m a PhD student with a master’s in environmental ecology (2017). Previously, I’ve studied the effects of environmentally relevant toxicants on different plant species. Even though I used to poison plants in the laboratory, I’ve always found climate change extremely interesting. Consequently, my current focus is on aerobic tree CH4 emissions and I’m going to study how the climate change-related stress factors affect these emissions from trees.

Therefore, I’m a plant scientist by day, but also a metal band vocalist by night. I like lifting heavy weights, but during the summer I’m more or less attached to my portable dancefloor (aka. longboard dancing).






PhD Student. Agronomist (MSc 2012) with a background in plant and forest pathology and forest ecology. Current research interests are the sources of methane emissions from trees in boreal forests. Working for the project From Processes to Modelling of Methane Emissions from Trees (MEMETRE). As a mother of three, I usually have my hands full, but the spare time I have is spent knitting and sewing or tending for my ever-growing collection of houseplants.