Elina Kaarlejärvi

Elina Kaarlejärvi

Title of Docent, ecology, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences


Research activity per year

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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).

Fields of Science

  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.