Browsing by Subject "bio- ja ympäristötieteet"

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  • Anttila, Saku (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Spatial and temporal variation within water bodies causes uncertainties in freshwater monitoring programmes that are surprisingly seldom perceived. This poses a major challenge for the representative sampling and subsequent assessment of water bodies. The sources of variability in lakes are relatively well known. The majority of them produce consistent patterns in water quality that can be statistically described. This information can be used in calibrating the sampling intervals, locations and monitoring methods against the typical variation in a water body as well as the accuracy requirements of monitoring programmes. Similarly, understanding of ecosystem history and functioning in different states can help in contextualizing the collected data. Specifically, studies on abrupt transitions and the interactions involved produce a framework against which recent water quality information can be compared. This thesis research aimed to facilitate water quality monitoring by examining 1) feasible statistical tools to study spatial and temporal uncertainty associated with sampling efforts, 2) the characteristics of variation and 3) ecosystem interactions in different states. Research was conducted at Lake Vesijärvi, southern Finland. Studies of uncertainty utilized data-rich observations of surface water chlorophyll a from flow-through, automated and remote sensing systems. Long-term monitoring information of several trophic levels was used in the analysis of ecosystem interactions. Classical sample size estimates, bootstrap methodology, autocorrelation and spatial standard score analyses were used in spatio-temporal uncertainty analysis. A general procedure to identify abrupt ecosystem transitions was applied in order to characterize lake interactions in different states. The results interlink variability at the study site with information required in sampling design. Sampling effort estimates associated with the spatial and temporal variance were used to derive precision information for summary statistics. The structure of the variance illustrated with an autocorrelation model revealed the low spatial representativeness of discrete sampling in the study area. A generalized autocorrelation model and its parameters from the monitoring area were found applicable in sampling design. Furthermore, areas with constantly higher chlorophyll a concentrations, which had an effect on the water quality information derived with remote sensing, were identified from the study area. Characterization of the interactions between the main trophic levels in different ecosystem states revealed the key role of zooplankton in maintaining the current state as well as the resilience of the studied pelagic ecosystem. The results are brought into a broader context by discussing the applicability of presented methods in sampling design of water quality monitoring programmes. According to this thesis research, sampling design in individual monitoring regimes would benefit from the characterization of variance and subsequent uncertainty analysis of different data sources. This approach allows the calibration of sampling frequency and locations on the observed variance, as well as a quantitative comparison between the abilities of different monitoring methods. The derived precision information also supports the joint use of several monitoring methods. Furthermore, analysis of long-term records can reveal the key elements of freshwater ecosystem functioning and how it has responded to earlier pressures, to which recent monitoring data can be compared. This thesis thus highlights analysis of the variance and history of the monitored system in developing a rationalized and adaptive monitoring programme
  • Rämö , Kaisa Henriikka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The main aim of my thesis project was to assess the impact of elevated ozone (O3) and carbon dioxide (CO2) on the growth, competition and community of meadow plants in northern Europe. The thesis project consisted of three separate O3 and CO2 exposure experiments that were conducted as open-top-chamber (OTC) studies at Jokioinen, SW Finland, and a smaller-scale experiment with different availabilities of resources in greenhouses in Helsinki. The OTC experiments included a competition experiment with two- and three-wise interactions, a mesocosm-scale meadow community with a large number of species, and a pot experiment that assessed intraspecific differences of Centaurea jacea ecotypes. The studied lowland hay meadow proved to be an O3-sensitive biotope, as the O3 concentrations used (40-50 ppb) were moderate, and yet, six out of nine species (Campanula rotundifolia, Centaurea jacea, Fragaria vesca, Ranunculus acris, Trifolium medium, Vicia cracca) showed either significant reductions in biomass or reproductive development, visible O3 injury or any two as a response to elevated O3. The plant species and ecotypes exhibited large intra- and interspecific variation in their response to O3, but O3 and CO2 concentrations did not cause changes in their interspecific competition or in community composition. However, the largest O3-induced growth reductions were seen in the least abundant species (C. rotundifolia and F. vesca), which may indicate O3-induced suppression of weak competitors. The overall effects of CO2 were relatively small and mainly restricted to individual species and several measured variables. Based on the present studies, most of the deleterious effects of tropospheric O3 are not diminished by a moderate increase in CO2 under low N availability, and variation exists between different species and variables. The present study indicates that the growth of several herb species decreases with increasing atmospheric O3 concentrations, and that these changes may pose a threat to the biodiversity of meadows. Ozone-induced reductions in the total community biomass production and N pool are likely to have important consequences for the nutrient cycling of the ecosystem.
  • Matveinen-Huju, Katja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    Forestry has influenced forest dwelling organisms for centuries in Fennoscandia. For example, in Finland ca. 30% of the threatened species are threatened because of forestry. Nowadays forest management recommendations include practices aimed at maintaining biodiversity in harvesting, such as green-tree retention. However, the effects of these practices have been little studied. In variable retention, different numbers of trees are retained, varying from green-tree retention (at least a few live standing trees in clear-cuts) to thinning (only individual trees removed). I examined the responses of ground-dwelling spiders and carabid beetles to green-tree retention (with small and large tree groups), gap felling and thinning aimed at an uneven age structure of trees. The impacts of these harvesting methods were compared to those of clear-cutting and uncut controls. I aimed to test the hypothesis that retaining more trees positively affects populations of those species of spiders and carabids that were present before harvesting. The data come from two studies. First, spiders were collected with pitfall traps in south-central Finland in 1995 (pre-treatment) and 1998 (after-treatment) in order to examine the effects of clear-cutting, green-tree retention (with 0.01-0.02-ha sized tree groups), gap felling (with three 0.16-ha sized openings in a 1-ha stand), thinning aiming at an uneven age structure of trees and uncut control. Second, spiders and carabids were caught with pitfall traps in eastern Finland in 1998-2001 (pre-treatment and three post-treatment years) in eleven 0.09-0.55-ha sized retention-tree groups and clear-cuts adjacent to them. Original spider and carabid assemblages were better maintained after harvests that retained more trees. Thinning maintained forest spiders well. However, gap felling and large retention-tree groups maintained some forest spider and carabid species in the short-term, but negatively affected some species over time. However, use of small retention-tree groups was associated with negative effects on forest spider populations. Studies are needed on the long-term effects of variable retention on terrestrial invertebrates; especially those directed at defining appropriate retention patch size and on the importance of structural diversity provided by variable retention for invertebrate populations. However, the aims of variable retention should be specified first. For example, are retention-tree groups planned to constitute life-boats , stepping-stones or to create structural diversity? Does it suffice that some species are maintained, or do we want to preserve the most sensitive ones, and how are these best defined? Moreover, the ecological benefits and economic costs of modified logging methods should be compared to other approaches aimed at maintaining biodiversity.
  • Holmala, Katja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The composition of the carnivore community influences the different forms of inter-specific interactions. Furthermore, inter-specific interactions of carnivores have important implications for intra-guild competition, epidemiology and strategies of species-specific population management. Zoonooses, such as rabies, are diseases that can be transmitted from wildlife to people. Knowing the ecological characteristics of the species helps us to choose the right preventive actions and to time them accurately. In this thesis, I have studied how raccoon dogs Nyctereutes procyonoides, European badgers Meles meles, red foxes Vulpes vulpes and domestic cats Felis silvestris catus act as members of carnivore community, and how these interactions relate to the transmission risk of rabies. In the study area, these species form a community of medium-sized and rather generalist predators. They live in the same areas, in spatially and temporally overlapping home ranges and use the same habitats and dens and even have similar diets. However, there is no direct evidence of competition. Shared dens point to good tolerance of other species. Numerous observations of animals moving in each other’s proximity give similar clues. However, overlapping home ranges and similar habitat preferences lead to frequent inter-specific contacts, which increase the risk of possible rabies transmission. Also, the new insight of habitat use gained by this study illustrates the similar favouring of deciduous forests and fields by these sympatric medium-sized carnivores, creating a basis for contact zones, i.e. risky habitats for rabies transmission and spread. This study is so far the only simultaneous radio tracking study of raccoon dogs, badgers, foxes and cats. These results give new insight of the interactions in the carnivore community, as well as of the behaviour of each individual species. Also, these results have significant implications for the planning of rabies control. In order to reach viable management decisions, not only one or two species should be taken into consideration, but the whole community. In particular, this changes the perspective to inter-specific contacts, animal densities, densities of individuals susceptible to diseases and the magnitude of preventive actions. Rabies should be considered as a multi-vector disease, at least in Finland and the Baltic states. It is of interest for disease management to be able to model an epizootic with local parameters to reflect the real situation and also to suite best the local management needs.
  • Hamberg, Leena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    Although changes in urban forest vegetation have been documented in previous Finnish studies, the reasons for these changes have not been studied explicitly. Especially, the consequences of forest fragmentation, i.e. the fact that forest edges receive more solar radiation, wind and air-borne nutrients than interiors have been ignored. In order to limit the change in urban forest vegetation we need to know why it occurs. Therefore, the effects of edges and recreational use of urban forests on vegetation were investigated together in this thesis to reveal the relative strengths of these effects and to provide recommendations for forest management. Data were collected in the greater Helsinki area (in the cities of Helsinki, Vantaa and Espoo, and in the municipalities of Sipoo and Tuusula) and in the Lahti region (in the city of Lahti and in the municipality of Hollola) by means of systematic and randomized vegetation and soil sampling and tree measurements. Sample plots were placed from the forest edges to the interiors to investigate the effects of forest edges, and on paths of different levels of wear and off these paths to investigate the effects of trampling. The natural vegetation of mesic and sub-xeric forest site types studied was sensitive both to the effects of the edge and to trampling. The abundances of dwarf shrubs and bryophytes decreased, while light- and nitrogen-demanding herbs and grasses - and especially Sorbus aucuparia – were favoured at the edges and next to the paths. Results indicated that typical forest site types at the edges are changing toward more nitrophilic vegetation communities. Covers of the most abundant forest species decreased considerably – even tens of percentages – from interiors to the edges indicating strong edge effects. These effects penetrated at least up to 50 m from the forest edges into the interiors, especially at south to west facing open edges. The effects of trampling were pronounced on paths and even low levels of trampling decreased the abundances of certain species considerably. The effects of trampling extended up to 8 m from path edges. Results showed that the fragmentation of urban forest remnants into small and narrow patches should be avoided in order to maintain natural forest understorey vegetation in the urban setting. Thus, urban forest fragments left within urban development should be at least 3 ha in size, and as circular as possible. Where the preservation of representative original forest interior vegetation is a management aim, closed edges with conifers can act as an effective barrier against solar radiation, wind and urban load, thereby restricting the effects of the edge. Tree volume at the edge should be at least 225-250 m3 ha-1 and the proportion of conifers (especially spruce) 80% or more of the tree species composition. Closed, spruce-dominated edges may also prevent the excessive growth of S. aucuparia saplings at urban forest edges. In addition, closed edges may guide people’s movements to the maintained paths, thus preventing the spontaneous creation of dense path networks. In urban areas the effects of edges and trampling on biodiversity may be considerable, and are important to consider when the aim of management is to prevent the development of homogeneous herb-grass dominated vegetation communities, as was observed at the investigated edges.