I am an evolutionary ecologist interested in plants and their interactions with microbes, usually in natural settings. I work as Academy of Finland post-doctoral researcher at Recearch Centre for Ecological Change at the University of Helsinki.
Plant pathogens on the field sides
I am evolutionary ecologist interested plant pathogen dynamics in wild populations. Currently, my research focused to understand how human induced changes in the habitats alter ecology and evolution of pathogens. Climate change and agriculture and forestry driven changes in landscapes may fundamentally change the ecological processes operating in the wild. By studying the virus communities in the Åland Islands network of Plantago lanceolata, ribwort plantain, I aim to understand how disease communities are linked to their host plant communities and agricultural practices.
By investigating the interaction of Rubus arcticus, arctic bramble, and its oomycete pathogen, Peronospora sparsa I aim to understand the pathogen evolution at the interface of wild and cultivated habitats. This new line of research was launched in autumn 2019.
Wild plant populations may host a multitude of microbes – beneficial as well as harmful ones – that may go unnoticed. The possible symptoms may be masked by ecological and environmental variation. To uncover the hidden diversity of viruses and fungi, we utilized small RNA sequencing and ITS rgene metabarcoding from plant samples from wild Plantago lanceolata populations. By linking the infections to landscape, ecological, and climatic conditions we aim to understand how pathogen communities are formed in wild.
Long-term epidemiological, demography and genetic dynamics in wild populations
Majority of plant species are perennial and get infected by pathogens varying times throughout their life time. By analysing long-term data collected on wild alpine plant population I investigated how infection by rust fungus, Melampsora lini, affects its flax host’s (Linum marginale) seed production and survival.