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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a community ecologist studying species interactions and ecosystem functioning under environmental changes. I am especially interested to find out to which extent the interactions among co-existing species influence responses of communities and ecosystems to environmental changes. As methods, I use long-term observational data to explore large-scale patterns, and combine them with field and greenhouse experiments to test specific hypothesis of possible drivers behind the large-scale patterns. I use functional traits in many of my studies.


My current work at The Research Center for Ecological Change focuses on long-term changes in boreal forest ecosystems. I am investigating how abiotic changes, such as climate change and forest management, are transforming diversity and functioning of forest understory communities by influencing ecological processes between different organisms. This is a collaborative project with researchers from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) and builds on Luke’s extensive observational forest understory dataset.


In my PhD project ( Umeå University Sweden, 2008-2014), I studied plant-herbivore interactions using field experiments in tundra. This work yielded novel insights of the role of herbivores for stability and resilience of plant communities under climate change (more here).


In my postdoc project (2015-2018), I studied how functional diversity controls ecosystem functioning under environmental change. The project was funded by a personal postdoc grant from the Swedish Research Council VR (2015-00498), and supervised by professors Eric Post (UC Davis, California) and Harry Olde Venterink (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium).

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.

Publications 2018 2019

Traditional plant functional groups explain variation in economic but not size-related traits across the tundra biome

Thomas, H. J. D., Myers-Smith, I. H., Bjorkman, A. D., Elmendorf, S. C., Blok, D., Cornelissen, J. H. C., Forbes, B. C., Hollister, R. D., Normand, S., Prevey, J. S., Rixen, C., Schaepman-Strub, G., Wilmking, M., Wipf, S., Cornwell, W. K., Kattge, J., Goetz, S. J., Guay, K. C., Alatalo, J. M., Anadon-Rosell, A. & 69 othersAngers-Blondin, S., Berner, L. T., Bjork, R. G., Buchwal, A., Buras, A., Carbognani, M., Christie, K., Collier, L. S., Cooper, E. J., Eskelinen, A., Frei, E. R., Grau, O., Grogan, P., Hallinger, M., Heijmans, M. M. P. D., Hermanutz, L., Hudson, J. M. G., Huelber, K., Iturrate-Garcia, M., Iversen, C. M., Jaroszynska, F., Johnstone, J. F., Kaarlejärvi, E., Kulonen, A., Lamarque, L. J., Levesque, E., Little, C. J., Michelsen, A., Milbau, A., Nabe-Nielsen, J., Nielsen, S. S., Ninot, J. M., Oberbauer, S. F., Olofsson, J., Onipchenko, V. G., Petraglia, A., Rumpf, S. B., Semenchuk, P. R., Soudzilovskaia, N. A., Spasojevic, M. J., Speed, J. D. M., Tape, K. D., te Beest, M., Tomaselli, M., Trant, A., Treier, U. A., Venn, S., Vowles, T., Weijers, S., Zamin, T., Atkin, O. K., Bahn, M., Blonder, B., Campetella, G., Cerabolini, B. E. L., Chapin, F. S., Dainese, M., de Vries, F. T., Diaz, S., Green, W., Jackson, R. B., Manning, P., Niinemets, U., Ozinga, W. A., Penuelas, J., Reich, P. B., Schamp, B., Sheremetev, S. & van Bodegom, P. M., Jan 2019, In : Global Ecology and Biogeography. 28, 2, p. 78-95 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Plant functional trait change across a warming tundra biome

GROUP & Kaarlejärvi, E. M., 4 Oct 2018, In : Nature. 562, 7725, p. 57-+ 24 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Tundra Trait Team: A database of plant traits spanning the tundra biome

Bjorkman, A. D., Myers-Smith, I. H., Happonen, K., Kaarlejärvi, E., Luoto, M., Virkkala, A-M., Eskelinen, A. & Forbes, B. C., Dec 2018, In : Global Ecology and Biogeography. 27, 12, p. 1402-1411 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Activities 2018 2019

  • 1 Types for other activities - Other
  • 1 Invited talk

Monimuotoisuutta tutkimassa

Bess Hardwick (Participant), Laura Antao (Participant), Viia Forsblom (Participant), Maria Hällfors (Participant), Pauliina Hyttinen (Participant), Malcolm Itter (Participant), Elina Kaarlejärvi (Participant), Anna-Liisa Laine (Participant), Øystein Opedal (Participant), Otso Ovaskainen (Participant), Marjo Saastamoinen (Participant), Jarno Vanhatalo (Participant), Benjamin Weigel (Participant), Tomas Roslin (Participant)
Sep 2019

Activity: Other activity typesTypes for other activities - Other

Laidunnuksen vaikutus tunturikasvillisuuden monimuotoisuuteen lämpenevässä ilmastossa

Elina Kaarlejärvi (Invited speaker)
16 May 201817 May 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Press / Media

Kun ilmasto lämpenee, arktiset kasvit venyvät korkeammiksi

Elina Kaarlejärvi


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media