Elina Kaarlejärvi

Elina Kaarlejärvi

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

  • PL 65 (Viikinkaari 1)




Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a community ecologist studying the role of biodiversity for stability of species communities and functions they provide under a changing environment. What makes communities sensitive to change, what enforces their stability? I am investigating the role of functional traits, their dominance and diversity, in determining stability of communities. 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.

Currently, I am working as an Academy Research Fellow, funded by the Academy of Finland (2022-2027). Before this, I worked as an independent junior research group leader, funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation (2021-2022). In 2018-2021, I worked as a postdoc at the Research Center for Ecological Change focusing on long-term changes in boreal forest ecosystems. I investigated how abiotic changes, such as climate change and forest management, are transform diversity of forest understory communities by influencing ecological processes between different organisms. This was a collaborative project with researchers from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) and was built on Luke’s extensive observational dataset on forest plant communities.

In my previous 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). My main collaborators and mentors were professors Eric Post (UC Davis, California) and Harry Olde Venterink (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium).

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

Description of research and teaching


  • Environmental and global ecology on a Bachelor level course 'Ekologian perusteet' (BIO-104)
  • Community and ecosystem ecology on a Bachelor level course 'Yksilöistä ekosysteemeihin' (BIO-304)

Fields of Science

  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.