P4191232-20Principal Investigator

Pedro J. Aphalo, Ing. Agr. (Universidad de Buenos Aires), M. Sc. (Universidad de Buenos Aires), Ph. D. (Edinburgh University), Docent (University of Eastern Finland).
ORCID iD, Google Scholar and ResearchGate.

CV of Pedro J. Aphalo

Bio. Pedro J. Aphalo is a lecturer in Plant Physiological Ecology an P.I. in the Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme of the University of Helsinki, Finland. He has a background in agriculture and some experience in forestry. He teaches “design of biological experiments”, “sensory and physiological ecology of plants” and “ecosystem ecology” in the M.Sc. Programme in Plant Biology. His main research interest is in “sensory ecology of plants” with emphasis on responses of plants to light and UV-radiation cues. His research group (see is using methods ranging from molecular tools to study plants’ mechanisms of perception and signalling, to radiation transfer modelling in the atmosphere and analysis of climatological data on solar radiation to investigate information-carrying cues in the environment. Current research is on Vicia faba, Medicago truncatula and Arabidopsis thaliana. In recent years his group has also studied various tree species from Betula, Alnus, Nothofagus, Fagus, and Tilia as well as some horticultural crop species. He is the editor of the UV4Plants Bulletin ( and information officer of The International Association for Plant UV Research ( He has nearly 20 years of experience in the use and teaching of R, the free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. He is the author of 12 R packages available through the CRAN repository (see and is writing two books: “Learn R …as you learnt your mother tongue” (Chapman & Hall/CRC, 2019) and “Using R for photobiological calculations” (2020?). His main hobby is photography, which he frequently combines with research and teaching (

Doctoral students

Fang Wang, M. Sc. (Northwest University, China), University of Helsinki.
Thesis subject: “Mechanisms Behind the Modulation of Stomatal Responses to Light “. Species studied: Arabidopsis. Methods: gas-exchange, thermography, growth analysis.

Sari Siipola, M. Sc. (University of Helsinki, Finland), University of Helsinki.
Thesis subject: “Effects of UV and visible radiation on plant phenolics – from gene expression to practical applications “. Species: tomato, lettuce, pea, basil, Arabidopsis. Methods: metabolomics, growth analysis.

Neha Rai, M. Sc. (University of Hyderabad, India), University of Helsinki.
Thesis subject: “Plant responses to UV and blue radiation and their interaction with drought stress”. Species: Arabidopsis, Medicago truncatula. Methods: Genomics, metabolomics, bioinformatics, growth analysis.

Yan Yan, M.Sc. (LanZhou University, China), University of Helsinki.
Thesis subject: “Responses to solar blue and UV radiation in two legume species: pre-acclimation to water deficit, accession- dependant responses and maternal effects of UV radiation“. Species: Medicago truncatula, Vicia faba. Methods: Genomics, metabolomics, bioinformatics, gas-exchange, porometry.

Cyntia Ayala González, M.Sc. (CIATEJ), CIATEJ, Mexico.
Thesis subject: “Acclimation of the control of water use to light quality in the growth environment”. Species: Fuchsia spp. Methods: Gas exchange, porometry, thermography, gravimetric water use measurement, growth analysis.

Tautvydas Zalnierius, M.Sc. (Vinius), Vilnius, Lithuenia.
Thesis subject: Control of Sosnowskyʼs hogweed seed formation by physiologically active substances.

Former members

T. Matthew Robson, Ph.D., Current employment: University of Helsinki and Academy of Finland. Former M.Sc. student and former Postdoctoral Researcher in the group.
M.Sc. thesis title: ” “.

Luis Morales, M.Sc. (Habana), Ph. D. (Helsinki), Current employment: North Carolina State University. Former Ph.D. student and former Postdoctoral Researcher in the group. Ph.D. thesis title: “”

Krõõt Aasamaa, Ph.D. Current employment: unknown. Former Postdoctoral Researcher in the group.

Stiina Kotiranta, M.Sc., Current employment: Valoya Oy. Former M.Sc. student in the group.
M.Sc. thesis title: “The effect of light quality on tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L. cv ‘Efialto’) growth and drought tolerance“.

Sari Siipola, M. Sc., University of Helsinki. Current PhD student, Current employment: Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre. Former M.Sc. student in the group.
Thesis subject: “Effects of different light conditions to the physiology and morphology of pea (Pisum sativum cv. ‘Meteor’)“.

Titta Kotilainen, Ph.D., Current employer: Natural Resources Institute Finland.
Former Ph.D. student in the group. Ph.D. thesis title: “Solar UV radiation and plant responses: Assessing the methodological problems in research concerning stratospheric ozone depletion“.

Riitta Tegelberg, Ph.D., Current employer: University of Eastern Finland. Former Ph.D student in the group and former Postdoctoral Researcher in the group.
Ph.D. thesis title: “Impact of elevated ultraviolet-B radiation on three northern deciduous woody plants“.

Tania de la Rosa, Ph.D., Current employer: NIRAS Finland Oy. Former Ph.D. student in the group.
Ph.D. thesis title: “Responses of forest tree seedlings to far-red and ultraviolet-B signals“.

Johanna Riikonen, Ph.D., Current employer: Natural Resources Institute Finland.  Former M.Sc. student in the group. M.Sc. thesis title: “”.

Markku Lähti, M.Sc. Current employment: Unknown. Former M.Sc. student in the group.
M.Sc. thesis title: “Effects of UV-B Radiation on Chlorophyll Concentration,  Net Photosynthesis and Growth of Norway Spruce (Picea Abies (L.) Karsten) Seedlings

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