1/2019: On the photo from left top: Markku Koskinen, Tatu Polvinen, Elisa Halmeenmäki, Lukas Kohl, left middle: Iikka Haikarainen (alumni), Anuliina Putkinen, left low: Minna Santalahti (alumni), 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.



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.

Elisa Vainio (formerly Halmeenmäki)

I’m a postdoctoral researcher in this group, studying CH4 and N2O exhange of trees and forest floor. I defended my PhD thesis “The contributions of soil, ground vegetation and trees to the methane exchange of boreal forest” in September 2019.

I first started to work in this group and on the topic while 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.



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.





PhD students

Minna Santalahti (2012-2018)

Iikka Haikarainen (2017-2019)

MSc students

Iikka Haikarainen (2015-2016)

Petteri Pyykkö (2016-2018)

Homa Ghasemi (2017-2019)

Nandita Rajan (2017-2018)

Interns, summer workers, and trainees

Luca Galeotti (MSc student/intern, University of Bologna, Italy, 2018)

Rodrigue Friaud (MSc research intern, 2019)

Nadine Freistetter (Erasmus+ 2019-2020)