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  • Kallio, Kari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    In lake-rich regions, the gathering of information about water quality is challenging because only a small proportion of the lakes can be assessed each year by conventional methods. One of the techniques for improving the spatial and temporal representativeness of lake monitoring is remote sensing from satellites and aircrafts. The experimental material included detailed optical measurements in 11 lakes, air- and spaceborne remote sensing measurements with concurrent field sampling, automatic raft measurements and a national dataset of routine water quality measurements from over 1100 lakes. The analyses of the spatially high-resolution airborne remote sensing data from eutrophic and mesotrophic lakes showed that one or a few discrete water quality observations using conventional monitoring can yield a clear over- or underestimation of the overall water quality in a lake. The use of TM-type satellite instruments in addition to routine monitoring results substantially increases the number of lakes for which water quality information can be obtained. The preliminary results indicated that coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) can be estimated with TM-type satellite instruments, which could possibly be utilised as an aid in estimating the role of lakes in global carbon budgets. Based on the results of reflectance modelling and experimental data, MERIS satellite instrument has optimal or near-optimal channels for the estimation of turbidity, chlorophyll a and CDOM in Finnish lakes. MERIS images with a 300 m spatial resolution can provide water quality information in different parts of large and medium-sized lakes, and in filling in the gaps resulting from conventional monitoring. Algorithms that would not require simultaneous field data for algorithm training would increase the amount of remote sensing-based information available for lake monitoring. The MERIS Boreal Lakes processor, trained with the optical data and concentration ranges provided by this study, enabled turbidity estimations with good accuracy without the need for algorithm correction with field measurements, while chlorophyll a and CDOM estimations require further development of the processor. The accuracy of interpreting chlorophyll a via semi empirical algorithms can be improved by classifying lakes prior to interpretation according to their CDOM level and trophic status. Optical modelling indicated that the spectral diffuse attenuation coefficient can be estimated with reasonable accuracy from the measured water quality concentrations. This provides more detailed information on light attenuation from routine monitoring measurements than is available through the Secchi disk transparency. The results of this study improve the interpretation of lake water quality by remote sensing and encourage the use of remote sensing in lake monitoring.
  • Van Teeffelen, Astrid (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    Ongoing habitat loss and fragmentation threaten much of the biodiversity that we know today. As such, conservation efforts are required if we want to protect biodiversity. Conservation budgets are typically tight, making the cost-effective selection of protected areas difficult. Therefore, reserve design methods have been developed to identify sets of sites, that together represent the species of conservation interest in a cost-effective manner. To be able to select reserve networks, data on species distributions is needed. Such data is often incomplete, but species habitat distribution models (SHDMs) can be used to link the occurrence of the species at the surveyed sites to the environmental conditions at these locations (e.g. climatic, vegetation and soil conditions). The probability of the species occurring at unvisited location is next predicted by the model, based on the environmental conditions of those sites. The spatial configuration of reserve networks is important, because habitat loss around reserves can influence the persistence of species inside the network. Since species differ in their requirements for network configuration, the spatial cohesion of networks needs to be species-specific. A way to account for species-specific requirements is to use spatial variables in SHDMs. Spatial SHDMs allow the evaluation of the effect of reserve network configuration on the probability of occurrence of the species inside the network. Even though reserves are important for conservation, they are not the only option available to conservation planners. To enhance or maintain habitat quality, restoration or maintenance measures are sometimes required. As a result, the number of conservation options per site increases. Currently available reserve selection tools do however not offer the ability to handle multiple, alternative options per site. This thesis extends the existing methodology for reserve design, by offering methods to identify cost-effective conservation planning solutions when multiple, alternative conservation options are available per site. Although restoration and maintenance measures are beneficial to certain species, they can be harmful to other species with different requirements. This introduces trade-offs between species when identifying which conservation action is best applied to which site. The thesis describes how the strength of such trade-offs can be identified, which is useful for assessing consequences of conservation decisions regarding species priorities and budget. Furthermore, the results of the thesis indicate that spatial SHDMs can be successfully used to account for species-specific requirements for spatial cohesion - in the reserve selection (single-option) context as well as in the multi-option context. Accounting for the spatial requirements of multiple species and allowing for several conservation options is however complicated, due to trade-offs in species requirements. It is also shown that spatial SHDMs can be successfully used for gaining information on factors that drive a species spatial distribution. Such information is valuable to conservation planning, as better knowledge on species requirements facilitates the design of networks for species persistence. This methods and results described in this thesis aim to improve species probabilities of persistence, by taking better account of species habitat and spatial requirements. Many real-world conservation planning problems are characterised by a variety of conservation options related to protection, restoration and maintenance of habitat. Planning tools therefore need to be able to incorporate multiple conservation options per site, in order to continue the search for cost-effective conservation planning solutions. Simultaneously, the spatial requirements of species need to be considered. The methods described in this thesis offer a starting point for combining these two relevant aspects of conservation planning.
  • Ghobad-Nejhad, Masoomeh (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    The Caucasus region is a hotspot of biodiversity and is one of the few areas in the Northern Hemisphere which harbor Pleistocene glacial refugia. The region encompasses Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the southernmost European Russia, NE Turkey, and northern Iran. The study on fungal composition of the Caucasus region and its connection and possible contribution to the present mycota of Europe has largely escaped empirical scrutiny. Using taxonomic surveys, phylogenetic reconstruction methods, haplotype analysis, and similarity tests, this study has aimed to, 1) summarize the knowledge on the occurrence of corticioids and polypores in the Caucasus region, 2) resolve the phylogenetic relationships of selected, resupinate wood-inhabiting basidiomycetes for which the Caucasus region is currently the mere, or one of the noteworthy areas of distribution, and, 3) assess the similarity of Caucasian corticioid fungi to those of Europe and important areas in the Northern Hemisphere, and to examine the significance of the Caucasus region as a glacial refugium for these fungi. This study provides the first catalogue of corticioids and polypores (635 species) occurring in the Caucasus region. The phylogeny and systematics of the Caucasian resupinate taxa in focus has been resolved and the usefulness of some morphological characters has been re-evaluated. In this context, four new genera and two new species were described and five new combinations were proposed, two of which were supplemented with modern descriptions. The species composition of corticioids in the Caucasus region is found to be distinctly more similar to Europe and North America than to East Asia and India. The highest molecular diversity and within population pairwise distance for Peniophorella praetermissa has been detected in the Caucasus and East Asia, with the isolates of the latter area being highly divergent from the European ones. This, and the assignment of root haplotype to the Caucasian isolates in a haplotype network for Phlebia tuberucalta and P. livida, call attention to the role of the Caucasus region in shaping the current mycota of Europe.