We are a team of ecologists working to understand how global change is reshaping ecosystems and biodiversity across the Arctic and beyond.
I am primarily a plant community ecologist, but I get excited about research that spans a range of fields, including evolutionary ecology, conservation biology, historical ecology, and crop diversity. I am particularly interested in understanding ecological change over time, especially changes driven by human influence (land use change, climate warming, etc.), and I love working with historical and/or monitoring data to address questions related to how and why communities and ecosystems are changing. I feel most at home in Arctic and alpine tundra ecosystems, but I have also worked in, and loved, the temperate forests of Europe and North America, wetlands in New York and oak savannas in the Pacific Northwest (plus a bit of time in my youth chasing white-faced monkeys in Costa Rica and lance-tailed manakins in Panama). When not occupied with science, I enjoy a chaotic life with my 2 sons, husband, 2 cats, and border collie.
I am interested in how climate change impacts the Arctic vegetation communities, considering a broad range of taxonomy of bryophytes, lichens and vascular plants. The species diversity relationship in the arctic between these three groups is reversed in the tundra compared to other biomes, with lichens being the most species rich group. However, lichens are also often recorded to be the most sensitive group responding negatively to warming. I am also interested in how warming may come to change traits we associate with arctic plants, such as functional traits (size-related traits), self-pollination, and polyploidy.
Geerte de Jong
My main research interest is the impact of climate change in the Arctic, currently focusing on phenology as a main indicator of these changes. I am really interested in the systems and feedbacks in the Arctic tundra. These extreme ecosystems are so intricate and there are many processes at play. I am a very curious person and try to understand how these processes are changing in a global changing climate. I am really grateful that I get to be out in these beautiful places and contribute to science along with many wonderful people around me. Besides science, I get really happy about snow, music and being outside with friends.
Ahlström, A., De Jong, G. E., Nijland, W., & Tagesson, T. (2020). Primary productivity of managed and pristine forests in Sweden. Environmental Research Letters, 15(9), 094067. [open access]
My main research interests include plant community changes and how they vary across different environmental conditions. In addition, I am fascinated about the soil environment and aim to link plant-soil interactions and ecosystem carbon cycling processes within my research. I am passionate about learning more about how our planet responds to the changing climate in a warming world and for that, in my opinion, the Arctic is the perfect place to work in. My greatest joy is to be able to work and spend my time in extreme environments among the tiny Arctic plants.
PhD Exchange Student
I mainly focus on the impacts of global change factors (such as warming, nitrogen deposition and altered precipitation) on plant functional traits and plant reproductive phenology in high-altitude and high-latitude regions. In particular, I am interested in how intraspecific trait variability contributes to the shifts in functional diversity and changes in ecosystem functions. There are always a lot of wonderful flowers and beautiful scenery in the Tibetan alpine meadow and Artic tundra. I’m really excited to get close to those wonderful plants, as well as some cute wild animals. When I’m not working, you can often find me hiking, enjoying food and watching Chinese costume dramas.
My research focuses on how Arctic plant species adapt or shift their ranges in response to climate warming, using reciprocal transplant and common garden experiments.
While I’ve ventured into various ecosystems, from the lush rainforests of Costa Rica to the temperate forests of Europe, it was my experiences in Abisko and Greenland that sparked my passion for the Arctic, where I witnessed the profound impacts of climate change firsthand.
Drawing from my background as a science teacher, I’m driven by understanding the nature around us and sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm with others. I firmly believe that comprehending our impact on the environment is essential for developing solutions and driving positive change.
When I’m not busy tinkering with plants and experiments, you may find me climbing walls, engaging in fierce spike ball matches, or exploring the woods in pursuit of birds and bats.
Camila Pacheco Riaño
I am a computational ecologist and biogeographer. As a researcher, I focus on understanding how plants respond to climate change in mountainous and cold regions worldwide. I’m particularly interested in using big data analysis and synthesizing global processes to understand better how biodiversity is distributed across space and time. Although my work has primarily centered on the Neo-tropics, I also have experience working in Forest, Alpine, Tundra, and Mediterranean ecosystems. While my research heavily involves working with models and on computers, I also love doing fieldwork and exploring new places. There’s nothing quite like getting out into the natural world and seeing the species I study up close! When I’m not working on my research, I’m an avid video gamer and love hiking and photography.
I am an environmental scientist interested in bee ecology, crop diversity and social aspects of how to integrate pollinators into farm management. Understanding nature`s contribution to people and how to minimize harm to biodiversity, to bees in particular, is the center of my research. So, instead of working in geographical extremes, I am working in tremendously anthropogenic modified landscapes. For instance, I am looking into the effects of pesticides on different bee species and how to mitigate these effects. During my Postdoc, I want to explore global patterns of crop pollination and the potential effects of growing crops outside of their region of origin. I am passionate about mentoring, outreach activities, data visualization and nature conservation. Three kids are keeping me and my husband busy during our free time.
Masters Student and research assistant
Spending the 2023 summer season in Svalbard and Greenland working as a research assistant and gathering data for my own project. My project will focus on whether plant community composition change with recent climate change matches predictions based on responses to experimental warming and spatial variation in temperature. I have a few years of work experience since my bachelor’s in a national monitoring program (NILS-fältinventering) and as a nature guide in Hemavan. I spend a great deal of my free time rock climbing and it has also, somewhat accidentally, turned into a side career with some part-time work climbing around on the roof of concert arenas and hanging in ropes fixing stuff on the outside of buildings.
Master student with a special and broad interest in evolution and plants who now have slipped down into the underground and are working on some wonderful roots for the moment. Like being out in the wilderness, the wilder the better. Had a life before the university and amongst other things has a background as a plumber and a carpenter and still has a love for fixing broken stuff.
I did my master thesis in the group, where I studied the effect of forest fire on the plant species composition in a boreal forest. Now I’m working as a research assistant. I’m really interested in plants in general: why different species grow in certain places, how they have evolved and how they function. My home habitat is the boreal forest, but I also love Arctic environments.
I am currently doing my bachelor’s project, where I use series of photographs taken in Latnjajaure during the Summer of 2020, to compare the flowering time at different elevations. I love to spend my time out in nature. My interest in plants first emerged when I realized that I can recognize plants far better than my parents :). Now I am fascinated by how big variety of plants exists and how they adapt to all different environments.
To get the boring definition out of the way: in my work I focus on how environmental selection affects the composition, diversity and functioning of plant communities – which makes me a (functional) plant community ecologist. My greatest sadness is that I have not yet found a way to include my love for bryophytes and nature conservation in my work, but maybe that time will come soon! The most common topic of my quite frequent rants is the abuse of statistical methods in research. On weekends you can find me cycling somewhere in the forest.
Happonen, K., Aalto, J., Kemppinen, J., Niittynen, P., Virkkala, A. M., & Luoto, M. (2019). Snow is an important control of plant community functional composition in oroarctic tundra. Oecologia, 191(3), 601-608 [open access]
Maliniemi, T., Happonen, K., & Virtanen, R. (2019). Site fertility drives temporal turnover of vegetation at high latitudes. Ecology and evolution, 9(23), 13255-13266. [open access]
My main interest is in understanding and predicting plant community responses to global changes like climate change, disturbance, and invasion. I try to answer questions using functional traits as a method to understand how plant responses to change might be mediated by their strategies and I hope that the results of my research improve our ability to manage and adapt to change in ways that promote diversity. I got to where I am because of a deep curiosity about how natural systems work. When I’m not doing science, you can find me knitting, baking, quilting, or exploring outside.
Henn, J. J., S. Yelenik, E. I. Damschen. 2019. Functional traits suggest mechanisms of species invasion change along environmental gradients. Oecologia. 191:2(397-409). DOI: 10.1007/s00442-019-04498-7
Ladwig, L. M., J. L. Chandler, P. W. Guiden, J. J. Henn. 2019. Extreme winter warm event causes exceptionally early bud break for many woody species. Ecosphere.10:1. DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.2542
Henn, J. J., B. J. Enquist, A. H. Halbritter, K. Klanderud, B. S. Maitner, L. Patterson, C. Potsch, R. Telford, Y. Yang, V. Vandvik. 2018. Intraspecific Trait Variation and Phenotypic Plasticity Mediate Alpine Plant Species Response to Climate Change. Frontiers in Plant Science. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01548
I am doing my masters project with the group, looking at the effects of warming on plant functional traits at community-level in arctic environments. My interest in arctic environments was initiated during a field course in Abisko and Narvik a few years ago – seeing more or less live how our changing climate affects the organisms living here, especially plant communities. Other than studying biology I have spent a year with complementary pedagogical studies and received a degree for teaching Biology and general science at high school level in Sweden. Outside of the academic world I have a background as a riding school teacher and have spent most of my life in the stables, preferably together with my two Border Collies as well.