T Matthew Robson

Viikki Plant Science Centre

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

    00014 University of Helsinki

    Finland

  • PL 65 (Viikinkaari 1)

    00014

    Finland

  • Viikinkaari 1, Biocentre 3

    00790 Helsinki

    Finland

  • Viikinkaari 1, Biokeskus 3

    00790 Helsinki

    Finland

20102020

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

  • 11831 Plant biology
  • 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.
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