Life under the waves

The first important event in my life that was related to the world underwater took place when I was a child, when my godfather brought me a book, bearing the name of Captain Cousteau, as a present.  I remember where I was sitting. I remember what it felt like to read of the journey of Jacques Piccard to the Mariana Trench and back, using a submersible (a bathyscaphe) called Trieste. It made me afraid of getting caught in the jaws of a giant clam. I wondered if they existed in the Baltic Sea?

The story continues in John Nurminen foundation’s blog

From Alabama to Lammi

I left a small town in Alabama in the United States in June of 2017 and moved straight to the Lammi Biological Station. I immediately felt straight home living in the country side and it was an amazing place to experience Finland while the days are very long. I currently work in the Evolution, Conservation, and Genomics Research group under the supervision of Dr. Craig Primmer at the University of Helsinki. We now have a fish rearing facility at the station. It consists of 32 tanks in total and will all be filled with Atlantic salmon alevins in the following weeks. These fish will remain in the tanks for several years and will be part of many experiments with multiple members of our research group.

I was able to live at the station for over 5 months but have now moved to Helsinki to be able to work at the Viikki campus. Living at the station was quite the experience for me. It is a bit isolated and when you are a foreigner (like me), you probably do not have a car. However, I enjoyed every day I lived here. There are many trails to hike and a sauna right on the lake. The station staff are all excellent. There is a constant influx of professors, researchers, and students so it is easy to meet new people and be exposed to different projects and areas of science. The station has an amazing welcoming environment and was the perfect first place to live in Finland.

Text: Adrew House

New web-pages published

New www-pages for UH research stations are now open @

The University of Helsinki research stations (RESTAT UHEL) offer excellent logistics and support for research and teaching. With their long history the stations are able to provide long term environmental back-ground data sets from the Baltic Sea to the north of Finland. The stations have modern infrastructure to support a wide variety of research, from field studies to laboratory analyses. Accommodation and catering services make the stay at the stations easy and comfortable. RESTAT UHEL is one of the infrastructure platforms of the Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE).

From the stations’ www-pages you can find the core information about the stations, pricing information and the latest news.

2018 Lammi grant

The 2018 Lammi grant is now open for applications right through until March 31st. The grants are available to MSc and PhD students who will be doing research at LBS this year. More information from LBAYS page.

LBAYS logo by Eero Pöyhtäri.
LBAYS logo by Eero Pöyhtäri.

Merry Christmas from LBS

Be ready to identify the mammals we recently found hanging out at the lakeside shelter. One of which is well out of its normal range, but has been known to be spotted in more southern climes around this time of year.

Best viewed with sound on… LBS wishes everyone a merry Christmas season!

Communicating and caring about the Finnish Research stations

From Tvärminne to Kilpisjärvi photo: Niko Nappu 2017).

From 2018 a two-year project, funded by the Nessling Foundation, will create audio-visual content to communicate long-term research carried at Finnish research stations. The responsible of the project is JM Cano, data journalist and science communicator at Outgroup. The goals of the project are providing information about critical environmental issues and create awareness about the irreplaceable role of the research stations.

The project will deal with issues of paramount environmental and economic concern in Finland: the degradation of the Baltic Sea and inland waters, reindeer overgrazing in Lapland, and the loss of forest and peatland habitats with their associated species. All these topics are linked to human-induced climate change and land use, and of special relevance in the context of the current Bio-economy boom policy in Finland.

The information will be disseminated through social medial channels and will consist of videos, infographics and podcasts. This collaborative project aims at activating Finnish society towards the protection of nature and make more approachable the figure of the researchers. To do so, in addition to feature scientific information, the project will show the inside of the research process and portrait the researchers with their motivations and expectations.

We are all people travelling through space on the same planet, we all share needs, concerns and constrains. Evidence about the irreparable loss of ecosystems and biological diversity is out there and the persons uncovering and monitoring it are worth getting to know. Let’s not look aside, let’s mingle, get to know our environment and have a constructive dialogue. Knowing is caring.

Open house at Tvärminne Zoological Station in 2107.

Text & video: JM Cano

BIOPEDA-seminar at LBS -portaalin logo

The university teachers of several finnish universities will gather together in the Lammi Biological Station next week (13-15.12.). The BIOPEDA II -workshop & seminar continues the work which started last March in Konnevesi Biological Station. The agenda is to develope the co-operation of the different universities and field stations in the context of teaching biology and related subjects on the field.

The co-operation is seen as a possibility to enhance the quality of teaching, serving the common goals of the academia. Teaching on the field is partly reinforced with the scaffolding use of digital resources. One step in order to reach the goals has been the launch of the internet-portal This site will be developed further during the workshop in Lammi. The principal targets of this portal are to offer information to both students and teachers, act as a tool to interact and offer tools for better teaching. For example, the portal will offer ready made instructions how to set up different experiments on courses; the teacher can use these instructions as such, or make minor adjustments according to local conditions.

The schedule and invitation letter (in finnish) is attached. More information from tiina.kolari AT

Welcome to LBS.

[EDIT 19.12.]

The two day workshop at LBS was successful in creating a lot of content to the web site. The mission of the project was also elucidated.

Our mission is to increase the cooperation between teachers and sharing of teaching resources within the Finnish university research network. This will aid both to reduce costs and improve the diversity and quality of courses offered to students, thus increasing the expertise and know-how available in Finland. The university fieldwork website has been created as part of the Kone Foundation funded BIOPEDA project.

The internet portal is still being developed; the material will be edited and uploaded there in the near future. Everyone interested writing new field course works are encouraged. Blank forms for submitting new works will be available soon, until then do not hesitate to contact the project through info AT When the portal is ready different language versions will also be launched.

The portal will also provide a channel to share info and / or memories from field courses held. The blog will be updated with regular intervals, but if you want to share something please do so! The blog posts will be published also in our Facebook page.

Stay tuned also for the publication written after the first seminar in Konnevesi, it will be published soon in the Journal ofUniversity Pedagogy.

Biopeda workshop attendants at Lammi biological Station
Biopeda workshop attendants at Lammi biological Station.

Plants, soil and microfauna – how does light quality affect forest ecosystems?

The Canopy Spectral Ecology and Ecophysiology group at the University of Helsinki doing field work (photo: Marta Pieristé).

During spring time when the canopy leaves emerge in deciduous trees in temperate forests, there is a drastic change in light quality reaching the forest understorey. In collaboration with the Canopy Spectral Ecology and Ecophysiology group (CanSEE) at the University of Helsinki, researchers from the University of Rouen (Université de Rouen) visited Lammi Biological station this summer to investigate how this drastic change in light quality reaching the forest floor affects the ecosystem as a whole.

Plants in the understorey utilise light signals as cues to help time when their leaves emerge, when they flower, how to tall to grow, how large to make their leaves, as well as affecting their photosynthesis, leaf pigments and root growth.

Over the last three years the CanSEE group led by Dr Matthew Robson has been characterising the changes in the composition of light that reaches the forest understorey, and examining how different plant species respond to the change in these light signals. However these changes seen above ground are only half the story.

How does this affect below ground processes? The properties of soil in close vicinity to plant roots are modified by a large range of processes that occur during plant growth, which in turn affect the rhizosphere microbiota. Plant roots not only contain compounds such as sugars and amino acids for soil microbiota, but also compounds for defence such as antimicrobials and nematicides. Furthermore, the uptake of ions in the soil by roots can drastically affect the pH of the soil.

Researchers Dr Estelle Forey and Marta Pieristé from the University of Rouen are now beginning to investigate these questions, and in collaboration with CanSEE group, seek to understand how light quality in the forest understorey affects the ecosystem as a whole.

After long term plots either blocking out different light signals were set up in 2016, the two research groups have begun to sample the changes that occur in plants, soil and microfauna when these plots are deprived of different light signals.

A filter blocking out blue light over plants in the forest understorey. These long term plots were set up in 2016, where the plants have been monitored over the course of two years (photo: Marta Pieristé)..
A filter blocking out blue light over plants in the forest understorey. These long term plots were set up in 2016, where the plants have been monitored over the course of two years (photo: Marta Pieristé)..
Right: Dr Estelle Forey and PhD student Craig Brelsford from CanSEE group taking soil core samples from the plots. These will then be analysed by for the content of the soil, and the composition of mircofauna inside (photo: Marta Pieristé).
Dr Estelle Forey and PhD student Craig Brelsford from CanSEE group taking soil core samples from the plots. These will then be analysed by for the content of the soil, and the composition of mircofauna inside (photo: Marta Pieristé).

The results from this work may be important in understanding how climate change will affect the forest understorey ecosystem. The date of canopy leaf out in spring is advancing at 2.5 days per decade since 1971 in temperate forests due to rising global temperatures. In turn, this means that the changes in light signals due to canopy shade in the forest understorey will occur earlier, and may have cascading effects on understorey species of plants, soil and microfauna.

Text: Craig Brelsford, PhD Student (Canopy Spectral Ecology and cophysiology (CanSEE) Group).

Photos: Marta Pieristé.

Mobile nature observations at HiLIFE-stations

In order to introduce mobile data gathering tools, a web browser based visualization service was set up for the stations a few months ago. The service is aimed for any visitor at any of the stations; people can use their mobile devices to record their own nature observations. The observations made are visualized on a map below (fig. 1) in real-time. The idea of this project, besides introducing the tools, is to provide meaningful doing for different groups visiting or staying at the research stations. So far observations have been made by staff, researchers, different courses and sudden visitors.

Fig. 1. The mobile nature observations visualized on a map. A green marker means a positive observation and a red marker means a negative observation.

We used Open Data Kit –tools for data gathering and Google’s services in visualizing the data. All the tools used work seamlessly hand in hand. All the necessary tools have been installed and are available at the stations. Mobile data gathering tools can be used for example both in research and teaching purposes.

Using mobile devices for data gathering has some advantages against traditional field forms. With digital mobile forms, all kinds of data can be gathered simultaneously with one device. Besides of numeric data it’s also possible to record co-ordinates, take photos, record sound etc. With ready-made digital forms and pre-formatted answers to choose from, errors in writing down the data can be minimized. One big advantage is also that the data is sent directly to the server (or a spreadsheet) from the field. The forms work also off-line, which is very important in field conditions, also in a technologically advanced country like Finland there are numerous areas with no mobile data connection available.

Contact Lammi Biological Station for more information on the tools available. The nature observation system is at your disposal if you visit any of the five HiLIFE-stations.

There are also co-operation between Lammi Biological Station and some teachers around Finland. The idea is to use the mobile observation tools in school projects and public science projects.

CDOM variations in Finnish lakes and rivers between 1913 and 2014

New research from LBS professor Lauri Arvola and colleagues shows that contrary to expectations, Finnish lakes on the whole have not become browner over a 101 year period (1913-2014). This is the first time that a comparison over such a long time period has been made.
The hue of the water has become browner in many lakes, but the opposite is true in others, and many have remained stable.
See this link for the publication:…/article/pii/S0048969717314389

And a Finnish language news article is here: