Areas of expertise
Learning occurs when there is motivation. Therefore the
foremost job of a teacher is to inspire and motivate, spark the desire for
knowledge. On top of that comes the deep and up-to-date knowledge that is the
most valuable property of a university teacher.
Subjective experience boosts digestion of new information, which highlights the importance of teaching methodologies. In biology, supportive methods are readily available: field excursions and courses with hands-on demonstrations, laboratory exercises, research project visits, computer simulations and personal data collection and analysis.
Lectures are an invaluable method in providing structure,
context and state-of-the-art review for new knowledge. However, they are
insufficient alone. In my own lecturing, I try to include elements supporting
personal learning, e.g. discussion, teamwork and seminars on specific issues
presented by students.
Learning and novel insights are built on facts and past
experience. It is therefore essential to provide the history of ideas,
formulation of hypotheses and their testing and development towards the
conventional wisdom, pointing out gaps and discrepancies. It is pointless to
invent the wheel repeatedly.
Recent courses given:
Ecology and evolution plant-herbivore -interactions
Human influence on ecosystems is growing with an ever-accelerating speed.
The most important applied aim of ecological research is to understand
biological mechanisms behind and derive predictions on consequences for
biodiversity and ecosystem function. Human influences such as eutrophication
and warming percolate through the network of biotic interactions. Therefore,
knowledge on the structure and function of communities is crucially important.
Natural populations respond to environmental change by either going extinct locally or adapting locally. Therefore, research on distributional changes need to be complemented by knowledge on evolutionary potential of the populations, such as amount of genetic variation, genetic structure, nature of selection and determinants of gene flow. From this perspective evolutionary ecology manifests as the principal research field in providing understanding and predictive potential for global change.
My research focuses on ecology and evolution of intra- and interspecific interactions in the littoral communities of the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea is an exciting research environment; it is unique owing to the brackish water nature, archipelagoes and the naturally fragmented littoral zone, and there is a human population of nearly 90 million living on the catchment and generating an enormous environmental impact. The unique features reflect to both the community composition and genetic variation of the species. Although the monitoring of human impacts has a long history in the Baltic Sea, very little research on evolutionary potential and evolutionary responses to global changes has been conducted. There clearly is a both a need and a niche for research providing understanding on consequences of environmental change in the Baltic Sea and for planning science based conservation and management actions.