Browsing by Subject "biodiversity"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-20 of 182
  • Haahtela, Tari (2019)
    Biodiversity hypothesis states that contact with natural environments enriches the human microbiome, promotes immune balance and protects from allergy and inflammatory disorders. We are protected by two nested layers of biodiversity, microbiota of the outer layer (soil, natural waters, plants, animals) and inner layer (gut, skin, airways). The latter inhabits our body and is colonized from the outer layer. Explosion of human populations along with cultural evolution is profoundly changing our environment and lifestyle. Adaptive immunoregulatory circuits and dynamic homeostasis are at stake in the newly emerged urban surroundings. In allergy, and chronic inflammatory disorders in general, exploring the determinants of immunotolerance is the key for prevention and more effective treatment. Loss of immunoprotective factors, derived from nature, is a new kind of health risk poorly acknowledged until recently. The paradigm change has been implemented in the Finnish allergy programme (2008-2018), which emphasized tolerance instead of avoidance. The first results are promising, as allergy burden has started to reduce. The rapidly urbanizing world is facing serious biodiversity loss with global warming, which are interconnected. Biodiversity hypothesis of health and disease has societal impact, for example, on city planning, food and energy production and nature conservation. It has also a message for individuals for health and well-being: take nature close, to touch, eat, breathe, experience and enjoy. Biodiverse natural environments are dependent on planetary health, which should be a priority also among health professionals.
  • Jukola-Sulonen, Eeva-Liisa; Salemaa, Maija (Suomen metsätieteellinen seura, 1985)
  • Wynne, J. Judson; Howarth, Francis G.; Mammola, Stefano; Ferreira, Rodrigo Lopes; Cardoso, Pedro; Di Lorenzo, Tiziana; Galassi, Diana M. P.; Medellin, Rodrigo A.; Miller, Bruce W.; Sanchez-Fernandez, David; Bichuette, Maria Elina; Biswas, Jayant; BlackEagle, Cory W.; Boonyanusith, Chaichat; Amorim, Isabel R.; Vieira Borges, Paulo Alexandre; Boston, Penelope J.; Cal, Reynold N.; Cheeptham, Naowarat; Deharveng, Louis; Eme, David; Faille, Arnaud; Fenolio, Dante; Fiser, Cene; Fiser, Ziga; Gon, Samuel M. Ohukaniohia; Goudarzi, Forough; Griebler, Christian; Halse, Stuart; Hoch, Hannelore; Kale, Enock; Katz, Aron D.; Kovac, Lubomir; Lilley, Thomas M.; Manchi, Shirish; Manenti, Raoul; Martinez, Alejandro; Meierhofer, Melissa B.; Miller, Ana Z.; Moldovan, Oana Teodora; Niemiller, Matthew L.; Peck, Stewart B.; Pellegrini, Thais Giovannini; Pipan, Tanja; Phillips-Lander, Charity M.; Poot, Celso; Racey, Paul A.; Sendra, Alberto; Shear, William A.; Silva, Marconi Souza; Taiti, Stefano; Tian, Mingyi; Venarsky, Michael P.; Yancovic Pakarati, Sebastian; Zagmajster, Maja; Zhao, Yahui (2021)
    The 15th UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (COP15) will be held in Kunming, China in October 2021. Historically, CBDs and other multilateral treaties have either alluded to or entirely overlooked the subterranean biome. A multilateral effort to robustly examine, monitor, and incorporate the subterranean biome into future conservation targets will enable the CBD to further improve the ecological effectiveness of protected areas by including groundwater resources, subterranean ecosystem services, and the profoundly endemic subsurface biodiversity. To this end, we proffer a conservation roadmap that embodies five conceptual areas: (1) science gaps and data management needs; (2) anthropogenic stressors; (3) socioeconomic analysis and conflict resolution; (4) environmental education; and (5) national policies and multilateral agreements.
  • Soininen, Janne; Heino, Jani; Wang, Jianjun (2018)
    Aim: The number of studies investigating the nestedness and turnover components of beta diversity has increased substantially, but our general understanding of the drivers of turnover and nestedness remains elusive. Here, we examined the effects of species traits, spatial extent, latitude and ecosystem type on the nestedness and turnover components of beta diversity. Location: Global. Time period: 1968-2017. Major taxa studied: From bacteria to mammals. Methods: From the 99 studies that partition total beta diversity into its turnover and nestedness components, we assembled 269 and 259 data points for the pairwise and multiple site beta-diversity metrics, respectively. Our data covered a broad variation in species dispersal type, body size and trophic position. The data were from freshwater, marine and terrestrial realms, and encompassed geographical areas from the tropics to near polar regions. We used linear modelling as a meta-regression tool to analyse the data. Results: Pairwise turnover, multiple site turnover and total beta diversity all decreased significantly with latitude. In contrast, multiple site nestedness showed a positive relationship with latitude. Beta-diversity components did not generally differ among the realms. The turnover component and total beta diversity increased with spatial extent, whereas nestedness was scale invariant for pairwise metrics. Multiple site beta-diversity components did not vary with spatial extent. Surprisingly, passively dispersed organisms had lower turnover and total beta diversity than flying organisms. Body size showed a relatively weak relationship with beta diversity but had important interactions with trophic position, thus also affecting beta diversity via interactive effects. Producers had significantly higher average pairwise turnover and total beta diversity than carnivores. Main conclusions: The present results provide evidence that species turnover, being consistently the larger component of total beta diversity, and nestedness are related to the latitude of the study area and intrinsic organismal features. We showed that two beta-diversity components had generally opposing patterns with regard to latitude. We highlight that beta-diversity partition may give additional insights into the underlying causes of spatial variability in biotic communities compared with total beta diversity alone.
  • Hochkirch, Axel; Samways, Michael J.; Gerlach, Justin; Bohm, Monika; Williams, Paul; Cardoso, Pedro; Cumberlidge, Neil; Stephenson, P. J.; Seddon, Mary B.; Clausnitzer, Viola; Borges, Paulo A.; Mueller, Gregory M.; Pearce-Kelly, Paul; Raimondo, Domitilla C.; Danielczak, Anja; Dijkstra, Klaas-Douwe B. (2021)
    Measuring progress toward international biodiversity targets requires robust information on the conservation status of species, which the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species provides. However, data and capacity are lacking for most hyperdiverse groups, such as invertebrates, plants, and fungi, particularly in megadiverse or high-endemism regions. Conservation policies and biodiversity strategies aimed at halting biodiversity loss by 2020 need to be adapted to tackle these information shortfalls after 2020. We devised an 8-point strategy to close existing data gaps by reviving explorative field research on the distribution, abundance, and ecology of species; linking taxonomic research more closely with conservation; improving global biodiversity databases by making the submission of spatially explicit data mandatory for scientific publications; developing a global spatial database on threats to biodiversity to facilitate IUCN Red List assessments; automating preassessments by integrating distribution data and spatial threat data; building capacity in taxonomy, ecology, and biodiversity monitoring in countries with high species richness or endemism; creating species monitoring programs for lesser-known taxa; and developing sufficient funding mechanisms to reduce reliance on voluntary efforts. Implementing these strategies in the post-2020 biodiversity framework will help to overcome the lack of capacity and data regarding the conservation status of biodiversity. This will require a collaborative effort among scientists, policy makers, and conservation practitioners.
  • Heino, Jani; Culp, Joseph M.; Erkinaro, Jaakko; Goedkoop, Willem; Lento, Jennifer; Rühland, Kathleen; Smol, John P.; Britton, Robert (British Ecological Society, 2020)
    Journal of Applied Ecology Volume 57, Issue 7 (2020)
    1. Arctic regions support a wide variety of freshwater ecosystems. These naturally oligotrophic and cold-water streams, rivers, ponds and lakes are currently being impacted by a diverse range of anthropogenic pressures, such as accelerated climate change, permafrost thaw, land-use change, eutrophication, brownification and the replacement of northern biota with the range expansion of more southern species. 2. Multiple stressors are rapidly changing Arctic freshwater systems as aquatic habitats are becoming more suitable for species originating from more southerly regions and thereby threatening biota adapted to cold waters. The livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples of the north will be altered when ecosystem services associated with changes in biodiversity are affected. Unfortunately, monitoring of biodiversity change in Arctic freshwaters is currently inadequate, making it difficult, if not impossible, to predict changes in ecosystem services. 3. Synthesis and applications. We propose a three-step approach to better address and facilitate monitoring of the rapid ecological changes that Arctic freshwater ecosystems are currently experiencing as a result of climate change. First, we should increase our efforts in the monitoring of freshwaters across all Arctic countries by setting up a network of monitoring sites and devoting more effort to a broad-scale baseline survey using standardized methods. Second, we should enhance modelling efforts to include both ecological change and socio-economic development. These models should help pinpoint species, ecosystems and geographical areas that are likely to show abrupt changes in response to any changes. Third, we should increase interaction among scientists, policymakers and different stakeholder groups. In particular, Indigenous Peoples must be involved in the leadership, planning and execution of monitoring and assessment activities of Arctic freshwaters. The proposed approach, which is critical to detecting the effects of climate change in the circumpolar region, has broader applications for global coordination of Arctic freshwater biomonitoring. Through routine monitoring, standardization of methods, enhanced modelling of integrated scientific and socio-economic change, and increased collaboration within and among sectors, more effective monitoring and management of climate change impacts on freshwater biodiversity will be possible in the Arctic and globally.
  • Pe'er, Guy; Bonn, Aletta; Bruelheide, Helge; Dieker, Petra; Eisenhauer, Nico; Feindt, Peter H.; Hagedorn, Gregor; Hansjürgens, Bernd; Herzon, Irina; Lomba, Ângela; Marquard, Elisabeth; Moreira, Francisco; Nitsch, Heike; Oppermann, Rainer; Perino, Andrea; Röder, Norbert; Schleyer, Christian; Schindler, Stefan; Wolf, Christine; Zinngrebe, Yves; Lakner, Sebastian (2020)
    Abstract Making agriculture sustainable is a global challenge. In the European Union (EU), the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is failing with respect to biodiversity, climate, soil, land degradation as well as socio-economic challenges. The European Commission's proposal for a CAP post-2020 provides a scope for enhanced sustainability. However, it also allows Member States to choose low-ambition implementation pathways. It therefore remains essential to address citizens' demands for sustainable agriculture and rectify systemic weaknesses in the CAP, using the full breadth of available scientific evidence and knowledge. Concerned about current attempts to dilute the environmental ambition of the future CAP, and the lack of concrete proposals for improving the CAP in the draft of the European Green Deal, we call on the European Parliament, Council and Commission to adopt 10 urgent action points for delivering sustainable food production, biodiversity conservation and climate mitigation. Knowledge is available to help moving towards evidence-based, sustainable European agriculture that can benefit people, nature and their joint futures. The statements made in this article have the broad support of the scientific community, as expressed by above 3,600 signatories to the preprint version of this manuscript. The list can be found here (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3685632). A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article.
  • Susi, Hanna; Laine, Anna-Liisa (2021)
    Human alteration of natural habitats may change the processes governing species interactions in wild communities. Wild populations are increasingly impacted by agricultural intensification, yet it is unknown whether this alters biodiversity mediation of disease dynamics. We investigated the association between plant diversity (species richness, diversity) and infection risk (virus richness, prevalence) in populations of Plantago lanceolata in natural landscapes as well as those occurring at the edges of cultivated fields. Altogether, 27 P. lanceolata populations were surveyed for population characteristics and sampled for PCR detection of five recently characterized viruses. We find that plant species richness and diversity correlated negatively with virus infection prevalence. Virus species richness declined with increasing plant diversity and richness in natural populations while in agricultural edge populations species richness was moderately higher, and not associated with plant richness. This difference was not explained by changes in host richness between these two habitats, suggesting potential pathogen spill-over and increased transmission of viruses across the agro-ecological interface. Host population connectivity significantly decreased virus infection prevalence. We conclude that human use of landscapes may change the ecological laws by which natural communities are formed with far reaching implications for ecosystem functioning and disease.
  • Västilä, Kaisa; Väisänen, Sari; Koskiaho, Jari; Lehtoranta, Virpi; Karttunen, Krister; Kuussaari, Mikko; Järvelä, Juha; Koikkalainen, Kauko (MDPI, 2021)
    Sustainability 13, 16
    Conventional dredging of ditches and streams to ensure agricultural drainage and flood mitigation can have severe environmental impacts. The aim of this paper is to investigate the potential benefits of an alternative, nature-based two-stage channel (TSC) design with floodplains excavated along the main channel. Through a literature survey, investigations at Finnish field sites and expert interviews, we assessed the performance, costs, and monetary environmental benefits of TSCs in comparison to conventional dredging, as well as the bottlenecks in their financing and governance. We found evidence supporting the expected longer-term functioning of drainage as well as larger plant and fish biodiversity in TSCs compared to conventional dredging. The TSC design likely improves water quality since the floodplains retain suspended sediment and phosphorus and remove nitrogen. In the investigated case, the additional value of phosphorus retention and conservation of protected species through the TSC design was 2.4 times higher than the total costs. We demonstrate how TSCs can be made eligible for the obligatory vegetated riparian buffer of the European Union agri-environmental subsidy scheme (CAP-AES) by optimising their spatial application with respect to other buffer measures, and recommend to publicly finance their additional costs compared to conventional dredging at priority sites. Further studies on biodiversity impacts and long-term performance of two-stage channels are required.
  • Delesantro, Allan (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Urban spatial planning is a cooperative mechanism in ethics which seeks to regulate how land is used, modified and arranged in order to sustain quasi-stable coexistences of dense populations with varied needs and values. Perhaps no needs and values are more varied than those of the many nonhuman animals which live alongside humans in urban spaces. Communicative planning theory (CPT) has emerged over the last 30 years to improve planning’s ethical content by navigating fuller and more diverse multi-interest, multi-stakeholder discourses. The perceived or real absence of significant human-nonhuman animal communications presents a problem for incorporating animals into communicative planning’s anthroponormative frameworks. This thesis adopts a socioecologically hybridized perspective to explore why and how animals may be conceived of as stakeholders in communicative planning, what values and practices produce human-nonhuman animal relationships, and how these translate to outcomes in spatial planning. Using theories which question the viability of the human-animal binary, especially actor network theory (ANT) and Callon’s sociology of translation, I develop my own relational perspective of urban communicative and spatial planning practice that may include nonhuman animals as part of urban spatial planning’s ‘decision-making spaces’. I use this approach in analysis of a spatial planning problem involving three species of nonhuman animals, the Jokeri Light Rail of Helsinki, Finland. From the case study I draw conclusions about how nonhuman animals relate, communicate and negotiate within spatial planning systems in fundamentally distinct ways requiring the development of new communicative apparatus and stakeholder engagement tools. In conclusion, I discuss the ways in which the animal-as-stakeholder concept might be affirmatively used by professional planners to achieve better outcomes for multi-species communities. This means conceiving of urban development not as a battle of human progress against biodiversity conservation, but a multivariable negotiation to reach ‘good enough’ outcomes for a multitude of organisms. I conclude that contemporary spatial planning’s ethical aims of creating quasi-stable urban coexistences demands developing deliberative processes of decision-making with and in a multispecies community.
  • Strona, Giovanni; Fattorini, Simone; Fiasca, Barbara; Di Lorenzo, Tiziana; Di Cicco, Mattia; Lorenzetti, Walter; Boccacci, Francesco; Galassi, Diana M. P. (2019)
    We introduce a suite of software tools aimed at investigating multiple bio-ecological facets of aquatic Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs). The suite focuses on: (1) threats posed by pollutants to GDE invertebrates (Ecological Risk, ER); (2) threats posed by hydrological and hydromorphological alterations on the subsurface zone of lotic systems and groundwater-fed springs (Hydrological-Hydromorphological Risk, HHR); and (3) the conservation priority of GDE communities (Groundwater Biodiversity Concern index, GBC). The ER is assessed by comparing tolerance limits of invertebrate species to specific pollutants with the maximum observed concentration of the same pollutants at the target site(s). Comparison is based on an original, comprehensive dataset including the most updated information on tolerance to 116 pollutants for 474 freshwater invertebrate species. The HHR is assessed by accounting for the main direct and indirect effects on both the hyporheic zone of lotic systems and groundwater-fed springs, and by scoring each impact according to the potential effect on subsurface invertebrates. Finally, the GBC index is computed on the basis of the taxonomical composition of a target community, and allows the evaluation of its conservation priority in comparison to others.
  • Myllyviita, Tanja; Sironen, Susanna; Saikku, Laura; Holma, Anne; Leskinen, Pekka; Palme, Ulrika (2019)
    Journal of Cleaner Production 236: 117641
    Impacts of bioeconomy on climate have been much discussed, but less attention has been given to biodiversity deterioration. One approach to assess biodiversity impacts is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Finland is a forested country with intensive forest industries, but only coarse biodiversity LCA methods are available. The aim of this study was to further develop and apply approaches to assess the biodiversity impacts of wood use in Finland. With the species richness approach (all taxons included), biodiversity impacts were higher in Southern than in Northern Finland but impacts in Southern and Northern Finland were lower when mammals, birds and molluscs were included. With the ecosystem indicators approach, if the reference situation were forest in its natural state, biodiversity impacts were higher than in the case where the initial state of forest before final felling was used to derive biodiversity loss. In both cases, the biodiversity impacts were higher in Northern Finland. These results were not coherent as the model applying species richness data assesses biodiversity loss based on all species, whereas the ecosystem indicators approach considers vulnerable species. One limitation of the species richness approach was that there were no reliable datasets available. In the ecosystem indicators approach, it was noticed that the biodiversity of managed Finnish forests is substantially lower than in natural forests. Biodiversity LCA approaches are highly sensitive to reference states, applied model and data. It is essential to develop approaches capable of comparing biodiversity impacts of forest management practices, or when looking at multiple environmental impacts simultaneously with the LCA framework.
  • Mykrä, Heikki; Kuoppala, Minna; Nykänen, Vesa; Tolonen, Katri; Turunen, Jarno; Vilmi, Annika; Karjalainen, Satu Maaria (Elsevier, 2021)
    Journal of Environmental Management 278, Part 2 (2021), 111532
    Mining has changed landscapes locally in northern Fennoscandia and there is an increasing pressure for exploitation of the remaining mineral deposits of the region. Mineral deposits, even if unmined, can strongly influence stream water chemistry, stream biological communities and the ability of organisms to tolerate stressors. Using data sampled from six mining areas with three active (gold and chrome), two closed (gold) and one planned mine (phosphate), we examined how mineral deposits and mining influence water chemistry and diatom and macroinvertebrate communities in subarctic streams in Finnish Lapland. We supplemented the data by additional samples compiled from databases and further assessed how variation in background geological conditions influences bioassessments of the impacts arising from mining. We found that water specific conductivity was elevated in our study streams draining through catchments with a high mineral potential. Mining effects were mainly seen as increased concentration of nitrogen. Influence of mineral deposits was detected in composition of diatom and macroinvertebrate communities, but communities in streams in areas with a high mineral potential were as diverse as those in streams in areas with a low mineral potential. Mining impacts were better detected for diatoms using a reference condition based on sites with a high than low mineral potential, while for macroinvertebrates, the responses were generally less evident, likely because of only minor effects of mining on water chemistry. Community composition and frequencies of occurrence of macroinvertebrate taxa were, however, highly similar between mine-influenced streams and reference streams with a high potential for minerals indicating that the communities are strongly structured by the natural influence of mineral deposits. Incorporating geochemistry into the reference condition would likely improve bioassessments of both taxonomic groups. Replicated monitoring in potentially impacted sites and reference sites would be the most efficient framework for detecting environmental impacts in streams draining through mineral-rich catchments.
  • Heino, Jani; García Girón, Jorge; Hämäläinen, Heikki; Hellsten, Seppo; Ilmonen, Jari; Karjalainen, Juha; Mäkinen, Teemu; Nyholm, Kristiina; Ropponen, Janne; Takolander, Antti; Tolonen, Kimmo T. (Wiley, 2022)
    Diversity and Distributions
    Aim We propose a novel approach that considers taxonomic uniqueness, functional uniqueness and environmental uniqueness and show how it can be used in guiding conservation planning. We illustrate the approach using data for lake biota and environment. Location Lake Puruvesi, Finland. Methods We sampled macrophytes and macroinvertebrates from the same 18 littoral sites. By adapting the original “ecological uniqueness” approach, we used distance-based methods to calculate measures of taxonomic (LCBD–t), functional (LCBD–f) and environmental (LCEH) uniqueness for each site. We also considered the numbers and locations of the sites needed to protect up to 70% of total variation in taxonomic, functional or environmental features in the studied part of the lake. Results Relationships between taxonomic (LCBD–t), functional (LCBD–f) and environmental (LCEH) uniqueness were generally weak, and only the relationship between macrophyte LCBD–t and LCBD–f was statistically significant. Overall, however, if the whole biotic dataset was considered, macroinvertebrate LCBD–f values showed a consistent positive relationship with macrophyte LCBD–f. Depending on the measure of site uniqueness, between one-third to one half of the sites could help protect up to 70% of the ecological uniqueness of the studied part of Lake Puruvesi. Main conclusions Although the dataset examined originated from a large lake system, the approach we proposed here can be applied in different ecosystems and at various spatial scales. An important consideration is that a set of sites has been sampled using the same methods, resulting in species and environmental matrices that can be analysed using the methodological approach proposed here. This framework can be easily applied to grid-based data, sets of islands or sets of forest fragments. We suggest that the approach based on taxonomic, functional and environmental uniqueness will be a useful tool in guiding nature conservation and ecosystem management, especially if associated with meta-system ideas or network thinking.
  • Väisänen, Rauno; Heliövaara, Kari (The Society of Forestry in Finland - The Finnish Forest Research Institute, 1994)
    The presence/absence data of twenty-seven forest insect taxa (e.g. Retinia resinella, Formica spp., Pissodes spp., several scolytids) and recorded environmental variation were used to investigate the applicability of modelling insect occurrence based on satellite imagery. The sampling was based on 1800 sample plots (25 m by 25 m) placed along the sides of 30 equilateral triangles (side 1 km) in a fragmented forest area (approximately 100 km2) in Evo, S Finland. The triangles were overlaid on land use maps interpreted from satellite images (Landsat TM 30 m multispectral scanner imagery 1991) and digitized geological maps. Insect occurrence was explained using either environmental variables measured in the field or those interpreted from the land use and geological maps. The fit of logistic regression models varied between species, possibly because some species may be associated with the characteristics of single trees while other species with stand characteristics. The occurrence of certain insect species at least, especially those associated with Scots pine, could be relatively accurately assessed indirectly on the basis of satellite imagery and geological maps. Models based on both remotely sensed and geological data better predicted the distribution of forest insects except in the case of Xylechinus pilosus, Dryocoetes sp. and Trypodendron lineatum, where the differences were relatively small in favour of the models based on field measurements. The number of species was related to habitat compartment size and distance from the habitat edge calculated from the land use maps, but logistic regressions suggested that other environmental variables in general masked the effect of these variables in species occurrence at the present scale.
  • Kulkarni, Ritwik; Di Minin, Enrico (2021)
    1. As resources for conservation are limited, gathering and analysing information from digital platforms can help investigate the global biodiversity crisis in a cost-efficient manner. Development and application of methods for automated content analysis of digital data sources are especially important in the context of investigating human-nature interactions. 2. In this study, we introduce novel application methods to automatically collect and analyse textual data on species of conservation concern from digital platforms. An end-to-end pipeline is constructed that begins from searching and downloading news articles about species listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) along with news articles from specific Twitter handles and proceeds with implementing natural language processing and machine learning methods to filter and retain only relevant articles. A crucial aspect here is the automatic annotation of training data, which can be challenging in many machine learning applications. A Named Entity Recognition model is then used to extract additional relevant information for each article. 3. The data collected over a 1-month period included 15,088 articles focusing on 585 species listed in Appendix I of CITES. The accuracy of the neural network to detect relevant articles was 95.91% while the Named Entity recognition model helped extract information on prices, location and quantities of traded animals and plants. A regularly updated database, which can be queried and analysed for various research purposes and to inform conservation decision making, is generated by the system. 4. The results demonstrate that natural language processing can be used successfully to extract information from digital text content. The proposed methods can be applied to multiple digital data platforms at the same time and used to investigate human-nature interactions in conservation science and practice.
  • Ärje, Johanna; Melvad, Claus; Jeppesen, Mads Rosenhoj; Madsen, Sigurd Agerskov; Raitoharju, Jenni; Rasmussen, Maria Strandgård; Iosifidis, Alexandros; Tirronen, Ville; Gabbouj, Moncef; Meissner, Kristian; Hoye, Toke Thomas (British Ecological Society, 2020)
    Methods in Ecology and Evolution 11 8 (2020)
    1. Understanding how biological communities respond to environmental changes is a key challenge in ecology and ecosystem management. The apparent decline of insect populations necessitates more biomonitoring but the time-consuming sorting and expert-based identification of taxa pose strong limitations on how many insect samples can be processed. In turn, this affects the scale of efforts to map and monitor invertebrate diversity altogether. Given recent advances in computer vision, we propose to enhance the standard human expert-based identification approach involving manual sorting and identification with an automatic image-based technology. 2. We describe a robot-enabled image-based identification machine, which can automate the process of invertebrate sample sorting, specimen identification and biomass estimation. We use the imaging device to generate a comprehensive image database of terrestrial arthropod species which is then used to test classification accuracy, that is, how well the species identity of a specimen can be predicted from images taken by the machine. We also test sensitivity of the classification accuracy to the camera settings (aperture and exposure time) to move forward with the best possible image quality. We use state-of-the-art Resnet-50 and InceptionV3 convolutional neural networks for the classification task. 3. The results for the initial dataset are very promising as we achieved an average classification accuracy of 0.980. While classification accuracy is high for most species, it is lower for species represented by less than 50 specimens. We found significant positive relationships between mean area of specimens derived from images and their dry weight for three species of Diptera. 4. The system is general and can easily be used for other groups of invertebrates as well. As such, our results pave the way for generating more data on spatial and temporal variation in invertebrate abundance, diversity and biomass.
  • Hovi, Tiina (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    Finnish agriculture has faced radical changes since the mid-20th century due to intensification of agricultural production. These changes have resulted into considerable wildlife habitat loss and degradation of biodiversity. Open ditches and their boundaries are one such habitat. They were widely replaces by subsurface drainage. This thesis aims to understand the role open ditches for agricultural biodiversity; what kinds of plants live the ditch habitat and can ditches enhance agrobiodiversity? To answer these questions we surveyed the vegetation of ditch slopes and ditch banks. Both vegetation composition and species richness were studied. The survey concerns only vegetation, but it is assumed that plant species diversity supports diversity of other groups of organisms. The data was collected in summers 2008 and 2009 in Lepsämä river catchment in Southern Finland in co-operation with MYTVAS (Significance of the Finnish agri-environment support scheme for biodiversity and landscape) -project. Ditch habitat characterization was done by studying the most common species and their indicative values in the data. Also NMS-ordination graph was created. Environmental variables were analyzed too. According to the literature review ditches can have significant role in maintaining agrobiodiversity, and their existence has probably reduced biodiversity loss. However, the vegetation analysis shows that the study area was species-poor and homogenous. Probable explanations are the habitat’s humidity and high levels of nutrients alongside the dominance of few strong weed species. In order to improve ditches as wildlife habitats their quality should be enhanced. For example fertilizer and herbicide drifts should be reduced and ditch banks could be widened. Also tending the ditch habitat by cutting or grazing are highly recommendable methods to enhance biodiversity.
  • Coppock, Rachel L.; Lindeque, Penelope K.; Cole, Matthew; Galloway, Tamara S.; Nakki, Pinja; Birgani, Hannah; Richards, Saskiya; Queirós, Ana M. (Elsevier, 2021)
    Journal of Hazardous Materials 415: 125583
    Microplastics are ubiquitous in the marine environment, however, the mechanisms governing their uptake by, and burial within, seabed habitats are poorly understood. In this study, microplastic burial and its impact on fauna-mediated sedimentary processes was quantified at three coastal sites, and the potential contribution of burrowing faunal communities to this process assessed via functional trait diversity analysis of field data. In addition, laboratory exposures were used to assess whether sediment-processing undertaken by the brittlestar Amphiura filiformis, a key species in the sampled area, could explain the burial of microplastic fibres. Field observations confirmed broad-scale burial of microplastics across the coastal seabed, consistent across sites and seasons, with microplastic sequestration linked to benthic-pelagic exchange pathways, driven by burrowing fauna. Brittlestars were observed to bury and line their burrow walls with microfibres during experiments, and their burial activity was also modified following exposure to nylon fibres, relative to controls. Collectively, these results indicate that biodiverse and functionally important seabed habitats act as microplastic sinks, with burrowing fauna contributing to this process via well-known benthic-pelagic pathways, the rates of which are modified by plastic exposure.
  • COST action TD1107 (2017)
    Key priorities in biochar research for future guidance of sustainable policy development have been identified by expert assessment within the COST Action TD1107. The current level of scientific understanding (LOSU) regarding the consequences of biochar application to soil were explored. Five broad thematic areas of biochar research were addressed: soil biodiversity and ecotoxicology, soil organic matter and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, soil physical properties, nutrient cycles and crop production, and soil remediation. The highest future research priorities regarding biochar's effects in soils were: functional redundancy within soil microbial communities, bioavailability of biochar's contaminants to soil biota, soil organic matter stability, GHG emissions, soil formation, soil hydrology, nutrient cycling due to microbial priming as well as altered rhizosphere ecology, and soil pH buffering capacity. Methodological and other constraints to achieve the required LOSU are discussed and options for efficient progress of biochar research and sustainable application to soil are presented.