About us

That’s us, from left to right: Annika, Katri and Mariana. 2018/07/26 Oulu, Finland


Katri Tolonen

“I am a biologist with research emphasis on ecology. I defended my thesis back in January 2018.  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.

Although I love doing research, I have put my career as an academic researcher  at hold, at least for a moment. This is because in April 2019 I had the opportunity to start working as an environmental planner at the city of Kangasala in Finland. The job description so far has been quite different from that of a “researcher”, but still I have loved every second of this new phase in my life.

In my free time, I enjoy gym training, reading good books and playing with my super cute dog called Nanna.

Mariana Perez Rocha

“I’m a crazy-cat-lady-biologist/ecologist born in Brazil and currently living my postdoc journey in the US (Oklahoma to be more specific). Back in 2014, I was finishing my Masters in Brazil and I had the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to cover for my four years PhD stay abroad. I went all the way to Finland to carry on my PhD studies (why Finland? because it’s cool!). Finally, on October 2018 I defended my dissertation and got my PhD degree.

When I was very young still I realized I was very passionate for biology and ecology. Back then, my favorite play was chasing butterflies and digging the soil to find different kinds of worms. Clearly, my passion for biodiversity-related stuff was always present in my life.

Currently, I’m a grown-up investigating macro-scale patterns of biodiversity of aquatic communities. I’m very interested in all kinds of aquatic organisms, but right now I’m having a great time working with macroinvetebrates. Apart from biodiversity, I have other passions too. I absolutely love cats (actually all kinds of animals, but cats are my beloved ones), listening to music, biking, and in special cooking (baking sweet stuff the most!)”.

Annika Vilmi

“I’m a geographer and ecologist studying themes related to aquatic ecology and human impacts. I got my PhD degree in December 2017 from the University of Oulu Graduate School. From May 2018 to October 2019 I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology (Chinese Academy of Sciences), China.

So far my research has focused on freshwater biological communities, and how and why the communities are structured the way they are. Tough questions, and especially tough, when using non-experimental field data. My taxonomic expertise is on diatoms, but I also work with bacteria, macroinvertebrates and macrophytes. In order to better understand the impacts of the ongoing global change, it’s important to find out which patterns in biodiversity are results of anthropogenic actions and which products of natural processes.

Research isn’t my whole life though. I’m a big fan of LesMills classes, especially BodyJam. It really reduces stress when you have to use all your brain power to memorize the nicely challenging house/hiphop/dancehall/etc. choreographies. To keep everything in balance, I also enjoy cooking with my family. I especially love the Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines.”