Team members

We are a team of ecologists working to understand how global change is reshaping ecosystems and biodiversity across the Arctic and beyond.

Anne Bjorkman

Senior Lecturer

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.

Selected publications

Coming soon

Konsta Happonen


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.

Selected publications

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]

Julia Osterman


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 harms 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 pollinations 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.

Wilhelm Osterman

PhD Student

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 is 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

PhD Student

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.

Selected publications

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]

Katrín Björnsdóttir

PhD Student

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.

Ellinor Delin

Research assistant

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.

Mikael Helander

Masters Student

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.

Maria Pavolotskaia

Undergraduate student

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.

Lab alumni

Jon Henn


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.

Selected publications

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

Helena Sundell

Masters student

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.

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