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. 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 (see HERE for finnish page of the consensus statement). I am Chair of the iCCB (integrative Climate Change Biology, together with Jason Head), part of the NECLIME and ETE programmes/communities and an Associate Coordinator for the NOW database.
In deep time research I introduced the spatial analysis of large fossil mammal datasets using GIS methods to paleontology when I was still undergrad student. This led to first analysis of spatial precipitation patterns using fossil mammal data for the last 20 million years, and a major breakthrough in this field. Based on the previous work by Fortelius, myself and others, I led the method development to quantitatively estimate precipitation using the tooth crown height of large herbivorous mammals, and together with colleagues we developed a way to measure Net Primary Production (NPP) using mammal data. I have also pioneered innovative studies to show how we can use tooth morphology to differentiate population- level adaptions caused by regional climate conditions. With these methods we can quantitatively analyse the past conditions and spatial as well as temporal patterns.
In addition I have been active on combining climate modeling and fossil data, as well as working with climate modelers on both global and regional settings (see also this). In iCCB context we have coined the term ecometrics to characterize adaptive physical traits that are related to climate and can be measured in fossils as well as extant animals.
In recent times I have become active in investigating how humankind and society are capable of solving the looming environmental and climate crisis (see BIOS). I feel that this is the field I can contribute most to the actual benefit of the society, as many times we are forgetting the natural history when investigating the future (see e.g. this and this). Although I am turning towards more present-day issues and how we can resolve imminent societal challenges toward a leaner and more sustainable living standards, I am still active on the studies of past ecosystems. On that front I am mostly interested how past climates develop and what are the driving mechanisms. Biological aspects that interest me are what controls the terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystems structures through time.