The Optics of Photosynthesis Laboratory is part of the Ecosystem Processes Group at the Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR)/Forest Sciences of the University of Helsinki. OPL is also part of the Viikki Plant Science Centre. In addition we collaborate with a wide and multidisciplinary range National and International Partners and Projects (see below). Get in touch if you are interested in collaborating with us!

Key Collaborators [in brackets field of collaboration]:


  • Adj. Prof. Esa Tyystjärvi, Plant Biophysics Project, University of Turku, Finland. [Photoinhibition of PSII]
  • Adj. Prof. Matti Mõttus, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, Espoo, Finland. [Forest Structure and Radiative Transfer]
  • Prof. Eva Mari Aro, Department of Biochemistry, University of Turky, Finland. [Molecular regulation and acclimation of photosynthesis]
  • Dr. Eija Honkavaara, Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, Espoo, Finland. [Hyperspectral imaging, unmaned aerial vehicles]
  • Dr. Matts Robson, Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki, Finland [Canopy Spectral Ecology, role of UV light]
  • Prof. Janne Ihalainen, Nanoscience center, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. [Time-resolved Fluorescence Spectroscopy, Lifetime analysis]


  • Prof. Josep Peñuelas and Dr. Iolanda Filella, Global Ecology Unit, CREAF-CSIC-UAB, Bellaterra, Catalonia, Spain [Ecosystem Ecology and Remote Sensing]
  • Dr. Caroline Nichol, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK [Remote sensing of the carbon cycle]
  • Dr. Alasdair MacArthur, NERC-Field Spectroscopic Facility, University of Edinburgh, UK [Field Spectroscopy]
  • Prof. Yongguang Zhang, Nanjing University, PRC [Multiscale fluorescence measurements]
  • Prof. Jose Ignacio Garcia-Plazaola, Plant Biology and Ecology, University of the Basque Country, Spain. [Dynamics and functional roles of plant pigments]
  • Dr. Luis Alonso and Prof. Jose Moreno, Remote Sensing Department, University of Valencia, Spain [Leaf fluorescence spectroscopy methods]
  • Prof. Christian Frankenberg, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech, USA [Remote sensing of chlorophyll fluorescence]
  • Assistant Prof. Troy Magney, Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis, USA [Multiscale fluorescence measurements]
  • Prof. Uwe Rascher, Forschungszentrum, Jülich, Germany. [Leaf and canopy Fluorescence measurements]
  • Prof. Joe Berry, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, CA, USA. [Fluorescence measurements and Remote Sensing]

Collaborative Projects and Consortia:

7) BiBife (2019-2023). Biogeochemical and biophysical feedbacks from forest harvesting to climate change. Porcar-Castell (WP Leader)

6) Harmonious COST Action (2019-2023). On the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Environmental Monitoring. Jon Atherton (MC Member)

5) Senseco COST Action (2018-2022). The COST Action Optical synergies for spatiotemporal SENsing of Scalable ECOphysiological traits” (SENSECO) brings together scientists working with multiscale optical Earth Observation of vegetation. The goal is to enable synergistic multi-sensor use and transferability between European research groups.

4) SpecNet – Linking optical measurements with flux sampling around the world. SpecNet is an international network of scientists and flux sites conducting spectral measurements. The general goal is to increase the potential of such measurements through standarization and data sharing. We are active partners.

3) The Finnish Centre of Excellence in Atmospheric Science- From Molecular and Biological processes to the Global Climate (2014-2019). This is the third term (total 18 years) of a 6 year Centre of Excellence project lead by Academy Professor Markku Kulmala. We are part of the FCoE and contribute by evaluating optical proxies to track vegetation dynamics.

2) OPTIMISE (COST Action ES1309) (2014-2017). The Project: “Innovative Optical Tools for Proximal Sensing of Ecophysiological Processes” is a four year COST Action. The goal of the project is to bring together scientists working in the areas hyperspectral remote sensing, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and spectral information systems in order to improve our capacity to study and upscale different vegetation processes. Our Lab is actively participating in the project with Porcar-Castell acting as Dissemination Leader and MC member for Finland.

1) EUROSPEC (COST Action ES0903) (2010-2013). The Project “Spectral Sampling Tools for Vegetation Biophysical Parameters and Flux Measurements in Europe” was a four year COST Action. The goal of the project was to develop common protocols and new instruments within a larger European network for optical measurements, bringing together scientists and industries in order to increase the reliability, value and cost-efficiency of the existing spectral observations within the European flux network. Our Lab was actively participating with Porcar-Castell acting as WG Co-coordinator.


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