Maija Toivanen

Maija Toivanen


Doctoral Researcher

6 peer reviewed publications in international journals. The publications have been cited 37 times, of which the most cited publication accounts for 14 citations. The author has a h-index of 3.00. (Google Scholar)


Maija Toivanen works as a doctoral researcher in Physical Geography Research Group. She is interested in biodiversity-geodiversity relationship and large-scale freshwater ecology. Her PhD focuses on a question whether geodiversity can be used as a surrogate for lake biodiversity and a measure of a conservation value (funded by Maj & Tor Nessling Foundation).

Toivanen is also working on the GlobalFood project, which studies the global accessibility to food resources using modern spatial analysis techniques.

Science communication is of special interest to Toivanen. She is studying science communication in the TIEMA master program in the University of Oulu.

Research interests

  • Geodiversity
  • Biodiversity
  • Large-scale ecology
  • Freshwater ecosystems
  • Aquatic plants
  • Conserving Nature´s Stage framework
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Global food accessibility

Scientific publications

Vieira, D.S., García-Girón, J., Heino, J., Toivanen, M., Helm, A. & Alahuhta, J. (2021). Little evidence of range size conservatism in freshwater plants. Journal of Biogeography, early view. [link]

Alahuhta, J., Lindholm, M., Baastrup-Spohr, L., García-Girón, J., Toivanen, M., Heino, J. & Murphy, K. (2021). Macroecology of plants in the freshwater realm: patterns, mechanisms and implications. Aquatic Botany 168: 103325. [link]

Alahuhta, J., Toivanen, M. & Hjort, J. (2020). Geodiversity–biodiversity relationship needs more empirical evidence. Nature Ecology & Evolution 4: 2-3. [link]

Toivanen, M., Hjort, J., Heino, J., Tukiainen, H., Aroviita, J. & Alahuhta, J. (2019). Is catchment geodiversity a useful surrogate of aquatic plant species richness? Journal of Biogeography 46: 1711-1722. [link]

Alahuhta, J., Toivanen, M., Hjort, J., Ecke, F., Johnson, L.B., Sass, L. & Heino, J. (2017). Species richness and taxonomic distinctness of lake macrophytes along environmental gradients in two continents. Freshwater Biology 62: 1194-1206. [link]

Other publications

Toivanen, M. (2020). Protected areas are for nature and people. Kaleva 14.03.2021. (In Finnish) [link]

Tukiainen, H. & Toivanen, M. (2021). Non-living nature is also diverse. Suomen kuvalehti 2: 58. (In Finnish) [link]

Toivanen, M. (2020). The peaks of Saariselkä are important for research. Saariselän Sanomat 16.08.2020. (In Finnish) [link]

Toivanen, M. (2020). Landscape matters to people and nature. Kaleva 16.04.2020. (In Finnish) [link]

Toivanen, M. (2019). Geodiversity as the stage of nature. Versus 17.1.2019, 1-4. (In Finnish) [link]

Toivanen, M. (2019). Maija Toivanen’s letter to Alexander von Humboldt: “In your footsteps”. Science with Arctic Attitude blog 19.11.2019. [link]

Toivanen, M. (2019). What does a nature researcher think about while in nature? Maj & Tor Nesslingin Säätiön blogi 11.08.2019. (In Finnish) [link]

Research funding

Maj & Tor Nesslingin säätiö
Societas pro Fauna et Flora Fennica


Social media

Professional and community activities

  • Technical editor of Ornis Fennica 2021–
  • Copyeditor and layout editor of Alue & Ympäristö [Region & Environment] journal 2020–
  • Board member of Geographical Society of Northern Finland 2019–
  • Editorial board member of Nordia Geographical Publications journal 2019–

Research groups

  • Physical Geography Research Group (PGRG)
  • Large-Scale Ecology Laboratory
  • Macrophyte Biogeography Lab

Thesis supervisions

Master theses
  • Henna Snåre (2020) Determinants of aquatic plant richness: scale dependency and global patterns. Unpublished Master thesis. University of Oulu, Geography Research Unit.

Research visits

  • Visiting researcher at University of Nottingham (UK)
    25.2.2019 to 25.4.2019

    A research visit to the School of Geography hosted by Assoc. Prof. Richard Field and Dr. Franziska Schrodt.


Max Hermansson (Unsplash)

Geodiversity as a surrogate for freshwater biodiversity and a measure of a conservation value

Geodiversity as a surrogate for freshwater biodiversity and a measure of a conservation value is MSc Maija Toivanen's PhD research project

Global geographic accessibility to food resources (GlobalFood)

Global geographic accessibility to food resources: Exploring spatial mismatch between food production, consumption and transport system by using bi