Dr. Väisänen research project will focus on Understanding the interactions between plant root dynamics and coupled biogeochemical cycles in response to global changes in peatlands. Her research will combine the research traditions of ecology and biogeochemistry and use the experimental setup, EcoClimate (Puukkosuo fen), in Oulanka, in close collaboration with the Oulanka research station and researchers from University of Greifswald, Germany. This research initiative aims at revealing how changes in ungulate grazing pressure and winter climate shift peatland biogeochemistry, especially carbon emissions and input, and how these changes link with vegetation dynamics.
Peatlands are a globally important carbon reservoir, which responses to changes in landuse and climate can alter greenhouse gas emissions and feedback to climate change. Reindeer grazing forms a main means of landuse in northern Eurasia and reindeer prefer peatlands as their summer pastures. Currently, we do not know 1) how reindeer grazing affects peatland root dynamics and root litter input that feeds peat formation in sedge-dominated peatlands, like Puukkosuo, and 2) how reindeer grazing affects plant carbon sequestration and peat decomposition. These interactions could further shift due to changes in wintertime snowfall that may change notably in the near future. Identifying the reindeer-plant-soil interactions under changing environment is crucial for understanding the functioning of northern peatland ecosystems now and in the future. This new understanding has applications for ecosystem carbon management and for developing climate change models.
Maria is a member of Professor Welker’s Arctic Ecology and Biogeochemistry Research group and a member of the Ecology and Genetics Research Unit. Maria Väisäsen researcher profile.
Last updated: 30.9.2020