About Me

Picture from North-Eastern Finland. Photo © Katja Seppinen

First and foremost, I'm a scientist. Exactly what kind of scientist isn't that important, but if we go down that road, I've been trained as a palaeobiologist and palaeoclimatologist, but nowadays I am working on climate and biological systems spanning from the present to the future and all the way to the deep past. I am drawn towards complex system theories and networks, and I'm also interested more and more about socio-ecological systems that humans form together with the surrounding world.

Among other things, I am founding member of BIOS, and in the core team of the Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity's Life Support Systems in the 21st Century. I am also Chair of the iCCB (integrative Climate Change Biology, together with Jason Head), part of the ETE programme, and an Associate Coordinator for the NOW database.



My research has addressed questions of how climate and ecosystems interact. Throughout my career, I have purposefully cultivated collaborations, networking and interdisciplinary research questions in order to address these questions as effectively as possible. This is reflected in my scientific activities. I aim my research so that the results of my work are relevant for ongoing discussion about the development of and changes in environments and ecosystems, and to the priorities of society. My research has concentrated on large scale analysis including theoretical and computational work that can be easily applied to different areas and scales.

My present research focuses on understanding the ecological and climate related interlinkages with human activities in the present day and in the long-term historic past. I have a research perspective from natural sciences that is enriched by my own interdisciplinary training and collaborations outside my discipline. From my perspective, we need more transdisciplinary research efforts to be able to evaluate potential future pathways for society at large. We also need a more synthetic view of long-term changes, including cultural, social and political dimensions in addition to natural sciences.

My primary goal is to develop the socio-ecological systems framework for understanding how ecology and climate change in tandem with culture and societal well-being. Preventing environmental crises from deepening will require changes in cultural and societal values, but there has been little preparation towards this. We need to understand the long roots of human-environmental systems to appreciate the complexities involved in this kind of change. Even though society is built upon natural resources that are now under threat, environmental questions are still subordinate to short-term economic considerations. Preparing for change first requires understanding its scope, then developing strategies to sustain equitable and resilient social-ecological systems. My viewpoints and past activities have been mostly global in scope. At present I am developing new lines of research in arctic, sub-arctic and boreal ecosystems, both in time and space, although many questions remain global in scope.


You can access my publication list by clicking HERE. Below is a representative selection of my recents works (click the text in the images to go to publication). You can also access my publication metrics and scientific activities from the tabs below under Contact & CV, or from publication list.

Tallavaara et al. 2017 PNAS

Productivity, biodiversity, and pathogens influence the global hunter-gatherer population density

Eronen et al. 2017 Current Biology

Feeding ecology and morphology make a bamboo specialist vulnerable to climate change

Barnosky et al. 2017 Science

Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems

Lyons et al. 2016 Nature

Holocene shifts in the assembly of plant and animal communities implicate human impacts

Barnosky et al. 2014 The Anthropocene Review

Introducing the Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity's Life Support Systems in the 21st Century: Information for Policy Makers

Toivanen et al. 2017 The Anthropocene Review

The Many Anthropocenes: A Challenge for the Disciplines.

Contact information & CV

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