Annina Kantelinen

Annina Kantelinen

Docent (Associate professor)

  • PL 7 (Unioninkatu 44)



  • Viikinkaari 1, Biocentre 3

    00790 Helsinki



Research activity per year

Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

Lichens are fascinating group of symbiotic organisms composed of fungi and algae/syanobacteria. Around 20 000 lichen species are known so far, and scientifically new species are regularly found. Despite the increasing knowledge on lichen diversity, mechanisms behind lichen speciation are still poorly know. Lichens are also highly useful for humans as environmental indicators. Many are sensitive to air pollution and climate change, and have specialized niche requirements. We humans impact lichens in various ways and many lichens have become endangered — currently every fifth lichen species is Red Listed in Finland and they are thirth-most threatened organism group in the country.

Broadly speaking, I and our research group study lichen diversity, factors behind the diversity (i.e. speciation), and how the diversity is threatened (i.e. climate change, forest management). We use multi-loci sequence data, metagenomics, and metabarcoding, as well as morphological and ecological data including remote sensing. I also collaborate in research projects including i) biodiversity monitoring on dead wood using metabarcoding (DeadMon), ii) citizen science that inspires people to observe (lichen) species and develops The Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility (FinBIF,, iii) species identification teaching in the Nordic countries (ForestFun). I am specialized in crustose lichens that are the largest entity of lichens but also the most poorly known.

I teach at the university-level and have completed pedagogical studies focusing on higher education. I was granted the title of docent from the University of Turku in 2023. As a university teacher, I emphasize student-focused strategies, and support deep learning, social learning and motivation.

Natural history collections have been at the heart of my work for over 15 years. I currently develop and take care of the living collections of the lichen garden at the Kaisaniemi Botanic garden. I have also taken part in databasing and preparing museum specimens. I have collected specimens from several areas in the world including Europe, North America and Africa. I have also made research visits to herbaria in Europe and Africa, the longest time – over 6 months – spent in UPS, FR and RBGE.

Popularizing science is close to my heart, especially when it helps to raise awarenes on topics such as biodiversity loss. I engage with the public personally and via institutional levels (Luomus Societal engangement group and Vanamo). I took part in Suomen Luonto #Muutos-magazine journalist training for scientists in 2019. I have given interviews to several news papers, radio and TV. 

I have positions of trust as a member of the Finnish Red List committee (IUCN) and Finnish Nomenclature committee for lichens. I am the chair for the Finnish Biological Society Vanamo and vice-chair for the Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board SEKJ. I am also a board member of the Societas pro Fauna et Flora Fennica.

I changed my family name in 2020 from Launis to Kantelinen.

Fields of Science

  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.