Masters Student Projects at ViPS Science Fair

On the 10th October we participated in the ViPS Science Fair where researchers could come along and find out about our research in the CanSEE group as well as the rest of the Viikki Plant Science Centre.

If you are interested in doing a research project with our group get in touch with David Israel (Plant Aquaporin Water Relations), Titta Kotilainen (Applying Photobiology Innovations in Plant Production Settings), Craig Brelsford (Light Responses of Forest Plants in Spring), or Marta Pieriste (Decomposition under Contrasting Forest Canopies) by email <>.

David Israel explaining his research into aquaporin’s role in plant water relations to an eager audience of students and researchers

Plants and Climate Change

From 15-21st September we organised an international course in Plants and Climate Change for the DPPS at the University of Helsinki, with invited speakers giving us the benefit of their expertise over the course of the week. A diverse group of students attended with participants from Mexico, Columbia, and Bangladesh, as well as those from the University of Helsinki.

Students and lecturers discussing their research after a day of lectures

Thanks to all of the lecturers and student who made this a lively and educational course and who gave very positive feedback on the week.

30 Years since the Montreal Protocol

I was very lucky to be in Stratford-upon-Avon, helping to write the latest UNEP report on the effects of the ozone depletion and related climate change on terrestrial ecosystems, during the 30-year celebrations of the signing of the Montreal Protocol.

The international cooperation achieved to implement the Montreal Protocol to stop the production of ozone depleting substances is the best example of cooperation to solve a man-made global problem that would otherwise have catastrophically affected our climate and life of Earth, and serve as a landmark example for future political action on climate change.

You can find out more on the UNEP website or learn about their Ozone Heroes Campaign.

Terrestrial Ecosystems Discussions



New PhD student Twinkle Solanki

We are very happy to announce that Twinkle Solanki has received her PhD Study Rights from the DPPS to start her doctorate studying: Upscaling the Optical Properties of leaves to model their contribution to canopy light use efficiency and carbon assimilation over vertical and horizontal profiles of spectral irradiance, under the supervisions of Matthew Robson, Jon Atherton from the Optics of Photosynthesis Group, and Anu Heikkilä from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Twinkle has funding from CIMO to come to Finland and already started her research taking measurements from the canopy towers at Hyytiälä Forestry Research Station of the University of Helsinki.


Filming for the Lammi Nature Trail

Saara Hartikainen and Matthew Robson recently headed to Lammi Biological Station to “star” in some short films explaining the educational research activities that we designed for the Lammi Research Natural Trail.

We hope to encourage the public to have a go at estimating Leaf Area Index in the young silver birch stand using the canopy scope activity, and to help in assessing leaf, flower, and fruit development in plants growing in quadrats on the forest floor.

You can watch the canopy scope video here in English and in Finnish; and the quadrat phenology video here in English and in Finnish.

The data that we collect from the public will be used to help us estimate phenological development, and will eventually be compared with data from different sites to improve our understanding of the controls on the length of the growing season and forest canopy cover.

Here are some shots from the film-makers in action!


Course in Radiative Transfer Modelling to better understand solar irradiance data

Titta Kotilainen has also been instrumental in setting up the possibility for DPPS students at the University of Helsinki students to participate in a course on libRadtran: a library of radiative transfer models that allows users to access irradiance data for application in their research.
This course, run in cooperation this the FMI, was given by Arve Kylling (NILU) the actual developer of libRadtran and took place on 25th-26th October 2016 in Exactum building of the Kumpula Campus, Helsinki.
The course is open to DPPS students at the University of Helsinki and partly sponsored by CanSEE and the DPPS.

Here is the schedule here.

….And Craig Brelsford has published a review of the working and guidelines for how to get started with LibRadTran in the UV4plants Bulletin.

Wild bees along a gradient of urbanization

Congratulations to Paula Salonen on completing her Master’s Degree in Plant Biology and the University of Helsinki: Wild bees along a gradient of urbanization: a study of the effects of environmental variables on bees with a comparison of two capture methods.  Supervised by Matthew Robson and Stephen Venn

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Forthcoming Book Chapters

Keep an eye out for three Chapters in Brian Jordan’s forthcoming book “UV-B Radiation and Plant Life: Molecular Biology to Ecology (CABI publishers) co-authored by CanSEE group members.

  • UV-B induced morphological changes; an enigma
    by Marcel A.K. Jansen, T. Matthew Robson, Karel Klem and Otmar Urban.
  • Plant responses to fluctuating UV environments
    by Paul W. Barnes, T. Matthew Robson, Mark A. Tobler, Isabelle N. Bottger and Stephan D. Flint.
  • Quantifying UV Radiation
    by Pedro J. Aphalo and Titta K Kotilainen

Learning Advanced Practical Ecophysiology in Portugal

David Israel and Craig Brelsford will follow the example of Saara Hartikainen two years ago, and participate in a BES Plant Environmental Physiology Group advanced practical course in techniques for plant ecophysiology near Lisbon in Portugal (12th-16th September).

After his internship with Charlie Warren in Sydney last winter, David will be looking to compare notes with some of the leading researchers in IRGA techniques for measuring the conductance of carbon dioxide and water from leaves.