You can now call me (Katri) officially a Doctor of Philosophy as I finally got the papers to prove it today. Hurray!!!
I am a biologist with research emphasis on stream ecology. I am currently working in the Finnish Environment Institute in Oulu, Finland. In my thesis, I studied how the macroinvertebrate communities (a.k.a. stream bugs etc.) in northern streams are structured and how the communities vary along varying environmental variables. I had a special focus on the macroinvertebrates’ functional traits. However, although I find streams to be a great model system to study even large scale ecological questions, I am keen to expand my research on other types of ecosystems also. I believe there is something big to be discovered, in terms of biodiversity conservation for instance, if we could reliably relate species’ functional traits (in any kind of environments) to their favourite habitats.
In my free time I enjoy gym training (although there haven’t been much progress in the weights lately), reading good books and walking outside in the nature trying desperately to identify the birds I see.
If your interested you can find the abstract of my thesis below 🙂
Find out more about my research in ResearchGate:
You can also find my PhD thesis titled “Taxonomic and functional organization of macroinvertebrate communities in subarctic streams” here:
Ps. It was once again rather cold but still very beautiful morning today when I cycled to work.
Taxonomic and functional organization of macroinvertebrate communities in subarctic streams
Ecological research based on both species and their traits help us to understand the main
mechanisms and environmental factors structuring biological communities. In general, variation in community composition is thought to be a consequence of both stochastic and deterministic factors. In stream ecology, the traditional view has been that the local habitat conditions pose a strong environmental filter that selects only species with the
right functional traits into the local communities. However, recent studies on streams have also suggested that the responses of species to environmental gradients may be independent of those of other species due to stochastic factors, such as species dispersal, which then result in more continuous communities along environmental gradients. The aim of this thesis was to explore the relative importance of the deterministic and stochastic factors in the structuring of taxonomic and functional trait-based macroinvertebrate communities in streams in a high-latitude catchment by comparing the variation in these community facets along environmental and spatial gradients. Also, the relationship between environment and the functionally-defined communities was explored closely. The results indicated how the taxonomic composition of the communities may be more closely related to the stochastic and dispersal-related factors, whereas the functional composition of the communities may be more closely related to the deterministic environmental filtering processes. However, the overall structure of the communities seems to be strongly controlled by the variation in environment, although the heterogeneous and harsh conditions of the streams may preclude the formation of predictable community types. Nonetheless, some noticeable responses of different traits to different environmental factors were found, suggesting that definable functional trait-environment relationships may be discovered if key traits of the species can be identified. Overall, these findings underline the benefits of describing both taxonomic and functional-based communities when exploring the mechanisms behind the structuring of macroinvertebrate communities. The results also have applications for conservation practices. Conservation efforts should focus on varying environmental conditions in order to cover all aspects of macroinvertebrate community variation.