• P.O. Box 65 (Viikinkaari 1), Biocentre 3

    00014 University of Helsinki


  • PL 65 (Viikinkaari 1)



  • Viikinkaari 1, Biocentre 3

    00790 Helsinki


  • Viikinkaari 1, Biokeskus 3

    00790 Helsinki



Research output per year

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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

Plant ecophysiology is my general research area and as part of my current position I sometimes teach courses in Physiological Plant Ecology and Ecosystem Ecology within the integrative plant science programme at Helsinki University. I also run the Plant Biology Journal Discussion for graduate students interested in broadening their knowledge of plant sciences. I teach about terrestrial ecosystems and climate change in the Environmental Change and Global Sustainability Master's Programme, and Plant Responses to Climate Change in the Doctoral Programme in Plant Sciences.

My research focus is on signalling that affects plant responses and interactions. In particular, I am investigating how plants detect and response to changes in the spectral quality of radiation in the canopy of understorey of forests.  My research spans ecosystem and physiological ecology, and aims to provide empirical research for application in models related to global change. 

I largely work as a field ecologist, recently publishing on issues related to (1) tree species range shift and phenology, (2) photobiology involving signalling from UV radiation and changes in spectral quality, (3) plant community & ecosystem processes under land use change, and (4) functional trait responses to stress combinations.  My teaching experience includes planning, coordinating and giving practical field courses in ecology, as well as lecturing and supervision.  I have undertaken Pedagogical training at Helsinki University and obtained my Docentship in Plant Ecology in October 2012.

Description of research and teaching

Bud burst and leaf development in forests are fine-tuned to climate and use a suite of environmental cues that coordinate the relationship between the canopy and understorey affecting the biodiversity and community structure dependent on the forest.

These processes in turn feed into nutrient cycles and water use that determine forest ecosystem function. In addition to temperature, changing day length and light quality (UV:PAR, red:far-red, blue:green) help control phenology, allowing plants to optimise resource use.

By monitoring the changing spectral composition of solar radiation from UV through to near infra-red, the response of understorey plants and tree seedlings can be better understood, and selected candidate signals from field data, can be tested in greenhouse experiments.

Gaining knowledge of how species adapt to live at different latitudes is a priority for testing expectations of range shift and altered ecosystem function under climate change, as it is important to understand how such changes affecting temperatures, snow, rain and frosts, may interfere with the co-ordination of phenology within the forest canopy.

Education information

Adjunct Professor in Plant Ecology (Docent) Helsinki University, Finland 19-10-2012

Ecology (PhD) Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA. (Advisor, Martyn M Caldwell) 01-05-2004

Forest Science (M.Sc.) Institute of Ecology & Resource Management, University of Edinburgh, UK. (Advisor, John Grace) 01-11-1998

Biological Sciences (B.Sc. Hons. 2:1 Dunelm) Collingwood College, Durham University, UK. (Advisor, Phil Hulme) 07-07-1996

External positions

Treasurer, International Organisation for Research into the effects of UV radiation on Plants (uv4plants)

21 Nov 201431 May 2018

Fields of Science

  • 1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
  • Photosynthesis
  • Abiotic Stress
  • Photobiology
  • gas exchange
  • ecophysiology
  • stomatal conductance
  • 411 Agriculture and forestry
  • Forest Ecology
  • Leaf Traits
  • Forest Genetic Resources
  • Land use change
  • Terraced Grasslands
  • Canopy spectral Ecology
  • Climate Smart Forestry
  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
  • Physiological Ecology
  • Peatlands
  • Photobiology
  • Species distribution modeling
  • Climate Change
  • 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
  • flower pigmentation
  • leaf pigmentation
  • flavonoids
  • anthocyanins
  • xanthophyll cycle
  • Aquaporins
  • Optical Properties
  • Photoreceptors

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


Phenotypic trait variation measured on European genetic trials of Fagus sylvatica L

BeechCOSTe52 Database Consortium, 31 Jul 2018, In : Scientific data . 5, 7 p., 180149.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Contribution of PIP2 aquaporins to photosynthesis in response to increased vapour pressure deficit

Israel, D., Khan, S., Warren, C. R., Zwiazek, J. J. & Robson, T. M., 1 Jan 2020, (In preparation) In : Journal of Experimental Botany.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Contributions of cryptochromes and phototropins to stomatal opening through the day

Wang, F., Robson, T. M., Casal, J. J. & Aphalo, P. J., 12 Feb 2020, In : Functional Plant Biology. 47, 3, p. 226-238 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access


uv4pb: UV4Plants Bulletin

Aphalo, P., Robson, T. M., Kotilainen, T., Siipola, S. M., Jansen, M., Strid, Å. & Barnes, P.

01/01/2016 → …

Project: Other project

r4photobiology: R 4 photobiology

Aphalo, P., Kotilainen, T., Robson, T. M. & Albert, A.

01/01/2013 → …

Project: Research project


Lammi Science Trail Videos

T Matthew Robson (Speaker: Presenter), Saara Maria Hartikainen (Speaker: Presenter)
9 Sep 2016

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Talks

Univ La Laguna, Universidad de la Laguna, Fac Biol, Dept Ecol

T Matthew Robson (Visiting researcher), Beatriz Fernández-Marín (Other role)
9 Feb 202020 Feb 2020

Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution

Plant Responses to Climate Change

Karen Sims-Huopaniemi (Member of organizing committee), T Matthew Robson (Chair of organizing committee), Beatriz Fernandez-Marin (Speaker: Keynote), José Ignacio García-Plazaola (Speaker: Keynote), Frauke Pescheck (Speaker: Keynote), Jakub Nezval (Speaker: Keynote), Amarante Vitra (Speaker: Keynote), Eliane Schermer (Speaker: Keynote), Christian Bianchi Stromme (Speaker: Keynote), Alexey Shapiguzov (Speaker: Keynote), Julia Krasensky-Wrzaczek (Scientific Committee Member), Michael Wrzaczek (Speaker: Presenter), Neha Rai (Speaker: Presenter), Mayke Nieuwkerk (Attendee), Adriana Volna (Attendee), Carolina Falcato Fialho Palma (Attendee), Søren G Sommer (Attendee), Giacomo Palai (Attendee), Nikolaj Bjerring Jensen (Attendee), Twinkle Solanki (Attendee), David Israel (Member of organizing committee), Marta Pieriste (Member of organizing committee)
21 Oct 201925 Oct 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

University of Nottingham

T Matthew Robson (Visiting researcher), Erik Murchie (Other role), Alexandra Burgess (Other role)
30 Jun 20194 Jul 2019

Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution

Eliane Schermer

T Matthew Robson (Host)
18 Oct 201926 Oct 2019

Activity: Hosting a visitor typesAcademic visit at UH

Press / Media