AURA symposium 2016


AURA (Aboa Universities Research Advances) symposium, formerly known as SEBDEM, is a biannual event organized by PhD students of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. It brings together students from Ecology, Biodiversity, Genetics, Environmental and Marine biology.

The objective of the symposium is to provide a forum for PhD students to present and discuss their studies and to practice talking to a broad audience.
The symposium was held 6 - 7 April 2016 in the Armfelt auditorium of the Arken building (Tehtaankatu 2  / Fabriksgatan 2), Åbo Akademi, Turku.

Keynote speakers

  • Bodil Elmhagen, University of Stockholm, Sweden
    • Presentation title: Top-down and bottom-up cascades in time and space
  • Teppo Hiltunen, University of Helsinki, Finland
    • Presentation title: Eco-evolutionary dynamics in microbial communities
  • Kerstin Johannesson, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
    • Presentation title: Evolution of local adaptation and reproductive barriers in primary hybrid
  • Shaun Killen, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK
    • Presentation title: Fuel and friends: Links between metabolism and social behaviours in fish


Participation is cost-free and open to PhD and master's students from all areas of biology who are enrolled in Finnish universities. Others are also welcome to attend the sessions.

We encourage students to submit an abstract either for an oral presentation or for a poster. There are a limited number of slots for oral presentations and priority will (in case of need) be given to PhD students. PhD students who were not selected for an oral presentation and all MSc students are invited to present a poster.

All participants who give a presentation or display a poster will receive credit points (see below) and valuable feedback from the keynote speakers. Additionally, all participating students are greatly encouraged to comment on their fellows’ presentations (feedback forms will be provided).

Oral presentations

Oral presentations will be scheduled in 15-minute time slots, including approximately three minutes for discussion and questions from the audience.


The poster session will be held at the end of the first day. The maximum area available per poster is 117 x 148 cm (portrait), i.e. A0 format works well (ca. width 84 cm x height 119 cm). You will get the chance to present your poster to the whole audience just before the poster session in form of a speed talk (1-2 min, 1 slide). This is to encourage the audience to visit your poster afterwards.
The best oral presentation(s) and poster(s) during the symposium will be awarded a prize.


Please register by filling in this form if you want to give an oral presentation or present a poster! The deadline for abstracts is 7 March. (the form will require a password: type in the name of this symposium)
Presentation / poster abstracts should not exceed 300 words. They serve to introduce the topic of your presentation.


Those giving a presentation or displaying a poster get 2 ECTS. Other students attending AURA get 1 ECTS provided a report is filed to toni.laaksonen (ät) (UTU students) or erik.bonsdorff (ät) (ÅA students). The report should consist of a short summary of a presentation held in each of the 4 sessions (thus, 4 short summaries including name of speaker and title of presentation; total of max. 3 A4; remember to include your name and student number). You can also get attendance points for the seminar series by attending the AURA keynote speaches.


Symposium dinners are 6.4. at Tårget and 7.4. at Koulu, each costing about 40 €. Please contact barbara.class (ät) to register and choose a menu (meat or vegetarian + any allergies) by the 29th March.


Download the program

Aura 2016 abstract book.pdfDownload the abstract book

Wednesday 6.4.

9.45 ​Welcome
Session 1 10.00
Shaun Killen: Fuel and friends: Links between metabolism and social behaviours in fish
11.00 Coffee break
​11.15 ​Yann Czorlich: Temporal variation in life-history strategy in Europe’s largest and most diverse Atlantic salmon population
​11.30 ​Katariina Riipinen: Habitat selection of the mud crab Rhitropanopeus harrisii in its newly invaded range
​11.45 ​Pablo Sánchez Virosta: Effects of calcium supplementation and metal pollution on antioxidant enzymes and lipid peroxidation in great tit nestlings inhabiting a Ca-poor area
​12.00 Salla Härkönen: The occurrence of the shining guest ant in red wood ant nests
12.15 Lunch
​Session 2
13.15 Bodil Elmhagen: Top-down and bottom-up cascades in time and space
Coffee break​
​14.30 Camilla Ekblad: Landscape-scale gradients and temporal changes in prey species of the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)
​14.45 Tuuli-Marjaana Koski​: Effects of insect herbivory on bilberry production and the attractiveness of berries to frugivores
​15.00 ​Tytti Turkia: Red squirrels decline in abundance in the boreal forests of Finland and NW Russia
​15.15 ​Jussi Lampinen: Does historical land-use affect the suitability of power line corridors as habitats for
grassland specialist plants and butterflies?
​15.30 Pirjo Majuri: Environment, policy and ground source heat pumps in Finland
​15.45 ​Fabio Balotari Chiebao: Wind energy and the white-tailed eagle in Finland
16.00 Break
Posters 16.10 Poster pitching​
​17.00 Poster session and get together in Natura (LT1, UTU)​
19.00 ​Dinner (optional)
Thursday 7.4.
Session 3 9.15 Kerstin Johannesson: Evolution of local adaptation and reproductive barriers in primary hybrid zones
10.15 Coffee break
​10.30 ​Irma Puttonen: Estimating the internal loading for a water quality model using chemical characterization of sediment phosphorus
​10.45 ​Marie Järnström: Zoobenthic trait distribution in shallow coastal areas: effect on nutrient cycling
​11.00 ​Benjamin Weigel: Maintained functional diversity in benthic communities in spite of diverging functional identities
​11.15 ​Katja Mäkinen: Decadal changes in the Archipelago Sea zooplankton community – responses to salinity and temperature
​11.30 Anna-Karin Almén: ​Changes in wintertime hydrography in the Gulf of Finland
11.45 Lunch
​Session 4
13.00 Teppo Hiltunen: Eco-evolutionary dynamics in microbial communities
Coffee break​
​14.15 Tiina Sävilammi: Molecular evolution of song bird transcriptomes in response to sperm competition
​14.30 Elsi Pulkkinen: Establishment of DNA transposition-based molecular genetics tools
​14.45 Pablo Pérez Chaves: Using remote sensing to model timber species distribution in Peruvian Amazonia
​15.00 Tapani Hopkins: Parasitoid wasp diversity in the Old and New World tropics - an overview of the Uganda 2014-2015 Malaise trapping.
15.15 Judging break

15.30 Award ceremony and closing words​                      
19.00 ​Dinner (optional)


Please contact anyone from the organising committee if you have questions or comments!

​Barbara Class barbara.class (ät)
Marie Järnström mjarnstr (ät)
Tapani Hopkins taesho (ät)
Luca Rugiu ​luca.rugiu (ät)
Glenda Cárdenas ​glegabcr (ät)
Pirjo Majuri ​pirjo.e.majuri (ät)
Louise Lindroos ​louise.lindroos (ät)
Maria Tuomi ​maria.tuomi (ät)
Gabriel Moulatlet ​gabriel.moulalet (ät)