Juupajoki medal #13

Juupajoki medal #13

The municipality of Juupajoki has granted the 13th Juupajoki medal to academy professor Markku Kulmala. The medal was granted already in 6th of December 2017 but was handed over last Wednesday 7th of March in ceremony at Juupajoki town hall.

Academy professor Markku Kulmala (photo: J. M. Cano).
Academy professor Markku Kulmala (photo: J. M. Cano).

Academy professor Kulmala has had a profounding role in designing and building the SMEAR-station network (Station for Measuring Ecosystem Atmosphere relations). In addition to Finland’s four SMEAR-stations there is one in Estonia and one in China, Nanjing. The biggest and oldest of the stations is SMEAR 2 in Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station.

The work done by Markku Kulmala and his research team is of paramount importance for the global climate change research! He has been working in Hyytiälä since the middle of 1980’s and the SMEAR 2 was founded in 1996.

Academy professor Markku Kulmala is the leading researcher of physics and chemistry of atmospheric aerosols and the most cited researcher in geosciences. He is one of the founders of the discipline of ecosystem-atmosphere interactions. His research groups work has increased vastly our knowledge about the mechanisms behind the global climate change.

Markku Kulmala giving a lecture at Juupajoki town hall (photo: J. M. Cano).
Markku Kulmala giving a lecture at Juupajoki town hall (photo: J. M. Cano).

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  • Juupajoki medal is designed by Anssi Madetkivi in 1983 and it is the highest mark of honour from the municipality of Juupajoki. The medal can be granted as a recognition for the work or act done for the municipality.
  • Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station is an active field center of multidisclipinary research on forests, peatlands and atmosphere. A central topic is the role of forests and peatlands in climate change, which is a complex issue as the forests and peatlands act both as a source and a sink of greenhouse-gases and are also gradually becoming a more important source of bioenergy for the society.
  • Smear research stations are to measure the relationship of atmosphere and forest in boreal climate zone. The main aims of research are:
    • Biosphere – aerosol – cloud – climate interactions.
    • Biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, sulphur and water.
    • Analysis of gaseous and particle pollutants and their role in cloud formation.
    • Analysis of water, carbon and nutrient budgets of soil.
    • Analysis of environment and tree structure on gas exchange, water transport and growth of trees.
  • Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR)

Hyytiälä intro, short version from RESTAT UHEL on Vimeo.

Environmental change on trophic interactions in the Baltic Sea

Eider duck has recently been classified as endangered within the EU (photo: Heikki Eriksson).
The eider duck has recently been classified as endangered within the EU (photo: Heikki Eriksson).

A new research initiative at Tvärminne Zoological Station (TZS) brings together long-term research projects and conducts field and laboratory experiments, all in order to understand the function of the Baltic food web and how it is affected by environmental change. The research focuses on a community module consisting of blue mussels, eider ducks and white tailed sea eagles. This module forms a central part of the Baltic ecosystem and contains a keystone species, a mesopredator and a top predator and it links the marine and the terrestrial environments. We investigate the direct and trophically mediated impacts of environmental change within this group of closely interacting species representing three different trophic levels. Special emphasis is put on the trophic interactions surrounding the eider duck and how these affect its population development. The eider populations are in precipitous decline and the species was recently classified as endangered within the EU. We hope to understand what processes are driving the eider populations and to mitigate potential threats.

Blue mussels covering the rocky bottom (photo: Kim Jaatinen).
Blue mussels covering the rocky bottom. The blue mussel is the main food item for eider ducks (photo: Kim Jaatinen).

In 2017 Kim Jaatinen (TZS) and Markus Öst (Åbo Akademi) conducted their traditional fieldwork studying the Tvärminne eider population. This season was especially interesting and worrisome: the research group recorded an all time low in the population’s offspring production. Normally the 12 km wide research area produces between 1000 and 2000 ducklings, but this year only a mere 41 ducklings were seen in the standard duckling survey conducted at the end of June. Predation by sea eagles plays a major role in this low production but also other causes are under investigation.

Bird number NS1A6243m ready to go (photo: Heikki Eriksson).
One more eider female measured, sampled and ready to go (photo: Heikki Eriksson).
Young eider ducks (photo: Heikki Eriksson).
These less than a day old eider ducklings are ready to go to sea (photo: Heikki Eriksson).

The blue mussel study conducted by Mats Westerbom, Kim Jaatinen and Alf Norkko focuses this year on analysing the effects of climate change on the population dynamics of this species so central to the Baltic ecosystem. In addition to applying new analysis techniques to the long-term data, the group has continued work on monitoring recruitment of young mussels to the population. This year a new monitoring scheme was started, which aims at following spatial and temporal variations in the condition (i.e., meat content) of the mussels.

The findings of this year’s projects will all shed light on the impact we are having on the Baltic Sea and how its ecosystem will be affected. This knowledge may help us mitigate the bad influence we are having on our environment. Stay tuned for upcoming results!

A crushing wave. A typical element in the lives of the eider ducks and the blue mussels (photo: Kim Jaatinen).
A crushing wave. A typical element in the lives of the eider ducks and the blue mussels (photo: Kim Jaatinen).

Text: Dr. Kim Jaatinen, Tvärminne Zoological Station
Photos: Heikki Eriksson & Kim Jaatinen

Male-male competition

Research in the Behavioural Ecology Research Group (Monash University, Australia), led by Associate Professor Bob Wong, focuses on the evolution of animal mating systems and behaviour. We have, for instance, investigated the impacts of environmental change on animal behaviour and the evolutionary process, and how investment in sex influences reproductive strategies and biological diversity.

Vargskär island in Tvärminne archipelago.

Members of the Group have had a long association with Tvärminne Zoological Station. In this respect, the Group has also been working in close collaboration with Prof. Kai Lindström (and others) for over a decade on sexual selection and parental care in fish. The work in Tvärminne has involved both field and laboratory-based research investigating the role of environmental factors (e.g. salinity, predation risk, competition, resource quality and density) on male and female mating behaviour. Our work has also included student research, with Australian-based students undertaking experiments on male parental care in sand gobies and sticklebacks.

Catching gsand gobies in shallow water.

In 2017, Bob Wong and Dr. Topi Lehtonen completed a field based experiment in Tvärminne, investigating the role of nesting resource quality and male-male competition on patterns of nest colonisation in male sand gobies. The research involved setting up artificial nesting resources (ceramic tiles) in shallow water near Vargskär Island and manipulating both the quality of the resource (large versus small tiles) and the extent of resource aggregation (i.e. a single nesting resource on its own, or two nesting resources in close proximity) and examining the attributes of the males that subsequently settle into those areas. The findings will contribute to our understanding of how resources and resource competition affect settlement patterns in the wild.

Artificial nesting resource (ceramic tiles) in shallow water (photo: Topi Lehtonen).
Artificial nesting resource (ceramic tile) in shallow water (photo: Topi Lehtonen).
Dr. Topi Lehtonen and Associate Professor Bob Wong on a small boat doing a selfie.
Dr. Topi Lehtonen and Associate Professor Bob Wong on a small boat doing a friedsie (photo: Topi Lehtonen).

Associate Professor Bob Wong, Monash University, Australia.

Read more from:
Bob Wong lab webpage: bobwonglab.org
Topi Lehtonen: sites.google.com/site/lehtonentopi/