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  • Jalonen, Sonja (2023)
    Early life stress (ELS) has been associated with the development of psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression later in life. The central hypothesis is that these disorders are caused by a malfunctioning of the serotonin system and serotonin (5-HT) produced in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN). The DRN is anatomically connected to the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), especially to the infra- and prelimbic cortex, where 5-HT modulates behaviors such as impulsivity and cognitive flexibility. The DRN and mPFC mediate with low-frequency network oscillations, which are indicative of the state of the network and its funtional connectivity, as disturbances in these network oscillations have been connected to neuropsychiatric disorders. The aim of the thesis is to investigate whether and how ELS can influence the local field potential (LFP) activity of the mPFC and DRN and the functional connectivity of the DRN and mPFC. This is researched by characterizing and comparing the LFP activity recorded in the DRN, where 5-HTergic neurons are located, and in layer 5 of the infralimbic area of the mPFC. To accomplish these aims, a well-established animal model of early-life stress, the limited bedding and nesting model (LBN), was used. The model causes fragmented maternal care due to the stress of the dam, which in turn leads to the stress of the pups. Simultaneous multi-site recordings of LFP and multi-unit activity (MUA) within DRN and mPFC were performed in vivo during postnatal days (PND) 10-11 from control and LBN pups to characterize the network activity of these two brain areas and then investigate possible changes in their functional connectivity. The efficacy of the LBN model was determined by the observed decreased weight gain of LBN animals compared to controls. From the data, the LFP activity of the DRN and mPFC were characterized. The activity was characterized as power spectrum, wavelet spectrum, and MUA with DRN showing discontinuous activity with low signal-to-noise ratio and low frequency theta oscillations (4-12 Hz), while mPFC showed almost continuous activity with higher signal-to-noise ratio and developing gamma oscillations (20-50 Hz). The power of LFP signal of the areas was not found to be affected by ELS. To investigate if the coupling by synchrony between DRN and mPFC networks is altered by ELS, I analyzed wavelet coherence by computing coherence values between LFP signals in DRN and mPFC in a control and ELS for frequencies from 1 to 50Hz. The functional connectivity was affected by ELS. Statistically significant changes were observed in wavelet coherence in the lower frequencies of 1-2.8 Hz between the control and LBN treatment, suggesting impaired synchronization between DRN and mPFC at 1-2.8Hz frequency range immediately after ELS exposure at PND 10-11 mice. Caveats of the study were low signal-to-noise ratio of the recordings, the small group size of LBN animals (n=5) as well as the uneven sex distribution (male n=11, female n=3) which prevented the sex-based comparison of the effects of ELS. The thesis examines postnatal LFP brain activity in the DRN and mPFC and the functional connectivity between these brain areas. The results of the thesis show that ELS exposure is able to influence the functional connectivity of these two brain regions. The results support previous findings, which have found alterations in the functional connectivity of the neural networks underlying neuropsychiatric disorders in adulthood. The findings of this thesis suggest that ELS could affect the functional connectivity of a developing network and thus increase the risk of the development of neuropsychiatric disorders. Further studies are needed with larger group size, even gender balance, and better signal-to-noise ratio of recordings.
  • Äikäs, Lauri (2021)
    Abstract Introduction: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases (ASCVD) cause the biggest burden on our healthcare system and cause most premature deaths. Risk for ASCVD can be lowered by lifestyle choices and medication, as well as several therapeutics such as ethyl eicosapentaenoic acid (E-EPA) supplementation. Here we aimed to investigate the effect of EEPA intervention on known ASCVD risk factors including circulating lipoprotein levels as well as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) aggregation susceptibility, a new independent risk factor for ASCVD. Study design: A study group of 39 healthy men and women participated in a 4-week long dietary supplement trial with 3.9 g/day of E-EPA. A dose of 75 µg/day of vitamin D was included in the E-EPA capsules. Blood samples were drawn before the trial, at weeks 1 and 4 of the intervention and 1 week after the intervention. The study was an open design where participants’ own baseline measurements were used to measure changes. Outcomes: The mean plasma cholesterol concentration was reduced from 3.8 mmol/l to 3.6 mmol/l (p=0.0038 one-way ANOVA) after one week of E-EPA supplementation and remained the same until the end of study period. This change was followed by a change in plasma LDL (p=0.0028 one-way ANOVA) and triglyceride (p=0.0004 one-way ANOVA) concentrations after four week and one week of E-EPA supplementation, respectively. Vitamin D levels increased on average by 18%, showcasing a lower relative response than seen in other vitamin D trials, which can be attributed to high effective baseline concentrations of vitamin D in our study group and the related negative feedback system. LDL aggregation susceptibility did not significantly change in the entire group. However, we discovered that the change in LDL aggregation susceptibility correlated negatively ( = -0.451, p = 0.0039) with the baseline LDL aggregation susceptibility. Thus, LDL aggregation decreased in participants having aggregation-prone LDL at baseline. This finding highlights a possibility that participants with higher LDL aggregation susceptibility may benefit from addition of E-EPA to their diet.
  • Fernández Multigner, Lola (2023)
    Biodiversity has been declining over the last decades due to land-use changes. Habitat loss and fragmentation are considered the key drivers of biodiversity loss. While evidence indicates that habitat loss has a negative impact on biodiversity, the effect of fragmentation itself is debated. The Habitat Amount Hypothesis proposes that fragmentation per se –more discontinuous habitat distribution but no difference in habitat amount- has no effect or even a positive effect on biodiversity. Studies have looked at its effect on species richness, but its impact on intraspecific genetic diversity is still unknown. In this thesis, I aimed to test this hypothesis using the Glanville fritillary butterfly, which has been extensively monitored in the Åland islands since 1990, as a model system. I studied how fragmentation per se affects genetic diversity of the focal populations, while controlling for the habitat amount within the landscape in the Åland islands. For this, I used an existing dataset for which larvae were sampled during two consecutive years and genotyped for 40 neutral SNPs, and calculated four genetic diversity indices in over 200 habitat patches with relatively high population abundance. Following Martin et al. (2021) protocol, I first defined the scale of effect. Then, to reduce the correlation between total habitat amount and number of habitat fragments, I split my dataset in two sub-datasets. Finally, I assessed for each sub-dataset the differences in genetic diversity between landscapes with different level of fragmentation and total habitat amount. The number of fragments had a neutral effect on the genetic diversity, supporting the habitat amount hypothesis. Moreover, the results suggest that all habitat fragments, even the small ones, are contributing to maintain the genetic diversity of the focal population. The species’ ecology, population dynamics and specific adaptations to a fragmented landscape might have led the Glanville fritillary butterfly to be especially resistant to fragmentation.
  • Rämö, Karita (2022)
    Every year in the western world 3–5% of newborns suffer permanent damages due to prenatal alcohol exposure. Alcohol causes the symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), which consist of various structural, cognitive, and behavioral neurological defects and distinctive craniofacial features, although in many cases the condition is undiagnosed. The frequency, amount, and timing of alcohol consumption during pregnancy critically influence the symptoms and their severity. Despite the serious consequences and frequent incidence, there is still no clear information on the etiology of FASD symptoms or the timing specific effects of alcohol. However, it has been hypothesized that the early pregnancy is especially susceptible to environmental exposures, such as alcohol, because there is rapid cell proliferation, cell differentiation, and epigenetic reprogramming taking place in the embryo. Gastrulation is a crucial developmental stage in early embryonic development where the three germ layers, endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm form and create a foundation for all further development. The aims of this thesis are to study how alcohol affects the gene expression in undifferentiated human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) compared to cells differentiating into the germ layers, and how the gene expression in each of the germ layers is affected. To study the differentiation in gastrulation, hESCs were differentiated in vitro under alcohol exposure to endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm with STEMdiff™ Trilineage Differentiation Kit. Gene expression in differentiated germ layers and undifferentiated hESCs was analyzed with 3’mRNA sequencing. The results show that the number of genes with alcohol-induced differential expression is considerably higher in hESCs than in the germ layers indicating that undifferentiated hESCs are more susceptible to alcohol than differentiating cells, which is in agreement with findings from previous studies. In the germ layers, alcohol affected the expression of many genes involved in developmentally important signaling pathways such as FGF, Wnt, and TGF-β. Each of the germ layers have different gene expression profiles and accordingly, they exhibit a unique response to alcohol. Furthermore, the differentially expressed genes reveal intriguing connections to the FASD phenotype, notably, in ectodermal cells alcohol caused differential expression in many genes related to neurodevelopment.
  • Seiffert, Nina (2021)
    An increasing number of people are diagnosed with depression. One possible reason for the development of depression is faulty wiring and information processing in certain neural networks (network hypothesis) in the central nervous system. It has been shown that antidepressant drugs (ADs) can induce a juvenile-like plasticity state in the brain (iPlasticity) comparable to the plastic state of critical periods during development. iPlasticity enables the rewiring of neuronal networks in combination with environmental stimuli. At the molecular level, the binding of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to its high-affinity receptor tropomyosin kinase receptor B (TRKB) leads to TRKB dimerization and activation, triggering a downstream signalling cascade promoting brain plasticity. Activation of the TRKB signalling cascade is triggered by neuronal activity as well as AD treatment. Recent findings demonstrate that classical as well as rapid-onset ADs bind directly to the transmembrane domain of TRKB, leading to increased translocation of intracellularly stored TRKB to the plasma membrane and enhanced BDNF binding. Cholesterol, a sterol lipid known to regulate TRKB signalling, has been found to ensure optimal TRKB-BDNF signalling by changing the TRKB dimers’ relative orientation when altering the membrane thickness. A point mutation of TRKB tyrosine 433 to phenylalanine (TRKB.Y433F) has been found to hinder TRKB dimerization. Molecular dynamic simulations reveal that other membrane lipids are likely to participate in AD binding to TRKB. The aim of this thesis was to investigate whether lipid and drug compound treatments affect TRKB dimerization in Neuro2A cells expressing TRKB. Furthermore, we assessed whether the Y433F mutation modulates TRKB dimerization in such treatments. Protein fragment complementation assay (PCA) was used as in vitro protein-protein interaction assay to quantify dimerization of overexpressed TRKB carrying two split luciferase reporter proteins. Additionally, to avoid variability caused by transient transfection and be able to test large compound libraries, the establishment of a stably TRKB-expressing N2A cell line was initiated. The results show that lipid compounds, such as Allopregnanolone, as well as ADs, such as Imipramine and (2R,6R)-Hydroxynorketamine, increased TRKB dimerization in vitro in a dose-dependent manner within 40 minutes. The increase was more pronounced in the TRKB WT-expressing cells. This indicates that the compounds tested here may be directly interacting with TRKB, facilitating dimerization. Moreover, data seem to confirm previous research on the less effective TRKB.Y433F mutation. While stable expression of TRKB carrying one of the luciferase reporter proteins was successfully achieved in a monoclonal cell line, the amount of protein expressed seems to require further optimization before utilising it for PCA. In conclusion, lipid and AD treatments can induce an increase in TRKB dimerization in a dose-dependent fashion. Further investigations are needed to determine where the compounds bind and by which mechanisms they exert their effects on TRKB. Furthermore, the work on the stable cell line will be completed to avoid variability of transient transfection in the future.
  • Kuutti, Mirjami (2022)
    In recent years, psychedelics have shown promise in the treatment of conditions like depression and addiction. The therapeutic effects of psychedelics have been linked to their ability to increase plasticity in the brain, an effect that has also been seen for antidepressants. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a member of the neurotrophin family, which has an important role in the development of the nervous system, as well as promotion of neuronal survival and differentiation during adulthood. BDNF, through its receptor TrkB, has been implicated in antidepressant action, and BDNF-TrkB signalling is involved in many aspects of plasticity. Recently, antidepressants have been reported to bind directly to TrkB, and through this binding mediate their plasticity-enhancing, as well as behavioural effects. Psychedelics have been shown to increase structural and functional plasticity, but the mechanisms behind these effects are not fully understood. For example, the serotonergic receptor 5-HT2A is known to be behind the acute hallucinogenic effects of psychedelics, but its role in plasticity is still debated. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms of LSD-induced plasticity. The dimerization of TrkB was examined after LSD treatment in the protein-fragment complementation assay (PCA). Phosphorylation of TrkB signalling markers mTOR and ERK, which have known effects on plasticity, was assessed in Western blot, and the total expression of BDNF was examined with the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The timeline of the effects was investigated, and the involvement of 5-HT2A in TrkB dimerization and the phosphorylation of ERK was assessed by combining LSD treatment with the 5-HT2A antagonist M100907. Dimerization was also assessed in a TrkB mutant (Y433F) that has previously been shown to disrupt antidepressant effects on plasticity. These experiments showed that LSD treatment increased TrkB dimerization as well as phosphorylation of mTOR and ERK. The Y433F mutation interfered with LSD-induced TrkB dimerization, but the effects of LSD on TrkB dimerization or ERK phosphorylation were not blocked by M100907. Together, these data suggest that 5-HT2A is not involved in LSD-induced promotion of TrkB dimerization or ERK phosphorylation. The increases in phosphorylation and dimerization were found to be most robust after a 1 h LSD treatment, however an increase in BDNF expression was seen in cortical neuron cultures only after a 24 h treatment with LSD. The results reported in this study support the view that 5-HT2A might not be needed for the plasticity-inducing effects of psychedelics. If this is true, the development of treatments that target plasticity without hallucinatory effects could be possible. Overall, this research provides insight into the mechanisms of LSD-induced plasticity and offers new and interesting directions for future research in the field.
  • Hytti, Soile (2023)
    Depression and anxiety are the two most common mental disorders worldwide, and especially common among women of reproductive age. Hence, they are also common problems among pregnant women. Maternal depression and anxiety not only compromise the mother’s quality of life during pregnancy but increase the risk of perinatal complications and poor child neurodevelopment. The biological mechanisms that underpin this transmission remain largely unknown. The placenta, a transient fetal organ functioning as an interface between the mother and the fetus, plays a pivotal role, as the placenta transmits all environmental cues to the fetus. This thesis aims to investigate differential gene expression in the first-trimester chorionic villi and birth placenta samples from women with depression and/or anxiety and healthy controls. Samples are collected and processed as a part of the InTraUterine sampling in early pregnancy (ITU) study and both chorionic villus samples (CVS) collected during the early pregnancy and delivery placenta samples were studied. I defined three different phenotypes based on (i) maternal depression and anxiety disorder diagnosis, (ii) antidepressant and anxiolytic medication purchases, or (iii) self-reported depressive and anxiety symptoms during pregnancy. Genome-wide analysis of differential gene expression was conducted with DESeq2 R-package and further gene set enrichment analysis was performed with a web-based platform FUMA. When comparing mothers with depressive and anxiety symptoms to asymptotic controls, but not those with or without diagnoses or medication purchases, I found 478 genes differentially expressed. In the enrichment analysis these genes related to immune response and inflammation, such as leukocyte and T cell activation, defense response, and cytokine production. Together these results indicate that maternal depressive and anxiety symptoms during pregnancy change the immune system functions in the placenta which may partly explain the adverse effects of maternal depression and anxiety on the developing fetus. These findings may afford a target for timely targeted interventions to prevent perinatal complications and the transmission of maternal depression and anxiety to the next generation.
  • Törrönen, Essi (2020)
    4-Methylmethcathinone (Mephedrone) is one of the the most prevalent synthetic cathinones that bears close structural similarity to amphetamines. Like other stimulants, mephedrone is often used with alcohol (ethanol). In animal studies ethanol has been observed to potentiate the neurotoxicity of amphetamine-type stimulants, and same has been observed when mephedrone and alcohol is combined. The long-term effects of mephedrone have still remained largely elusive. The aim of this thesis is to study the effects of mephedrone, methamphetamine, and ethanol on dendritic spine density and morphology in the hippocampus, nucleus accumbens and caudate putamen, and compare the spine densities with changes in brain activation observed in manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI). Dendritic spines are small membranous protrusions on dendrites that act as the post-synaptic sites for most of the excitatory synapses. Amphetamine and methamphetamine have been shown to affect the density and morphology of the spines. The goal of this thesis was to investigate the long-term effect of binge-like (two times a day, four consecutive days) stimulant treatment on dendritic spines using Golgi-stained rat brain sections. The brains of 48 male Wistar rats were imaged using AxioImager Z2 microscope and the number and the size of the spines was analyzed using Reconstruct software. In this thesis no effect on dendritic spines was observed in the hippocampus and nucleus accumbens in animals treated with mephedrone, methamphetamine, ethanol or combination of them. In the caudate putamen significant increase in the total density of dendritic spines and in the density of filopodia-like spines was observed in mephedrone-treated animals. Other treatments showed no observable effect. These results were conflicting with previous studies where amphetamine-type stimulants have been shown to increase the spine density in the nucleus accumbens and the hippocampus and increase the density of branched spines. In the caudate putamen methamphetamine has been observed to decrease the spine density. There was no correlation between spine densities and brain activation observed in MEMRI. To my best knowledge this is the first time when the effect of mephedrone on dendritic spines has been studied. It is possible that the treatment regimen used here was not strong enough to produce marked long-term changes on dendritic spines. It is also possible, that mephedrone is not as neurotoxic as other amphetamine-type stimulants, which may explain why the effects remained limited and conflicting. More research is still required to establish the long-term structural effects of mephedrone.
  • Vikfors, Sofia (2020)
    Microplastics (MPs) are widespread environmental pollutants that have been detected in virtually all environmental compartments. Despite this, research has mainly focused on the impacts of microplastic on shorelines and at sea. The effects of MPs on terrestrial ecosystems has been sparsely investigated, and there are only a few studies on direct effects on terrestrial plants. Although plastic polymers are considered inert and non-hazardous, toxic additives are often added to the polymers during manufacture which may leach out into the environment, displaying ecotoxic effects. In this work, the effects of microplastic particles and microplastic leachate on the germination and growth of Lolium multiflorum (Italian ryegrass) was investigated. High density polyethylene (HDPE), which is one of the plastic polymers with the largest annual production, was chosen as the plastic material for investigation. New MPs, artificially aged MPs, MPs from the Lahti region, and MPs from Port Elizabet, South Africa was used in parallel to compare the effects of ageing and regional environmental factors on the ecotoxicity of MPs. The total germination percentage, mean germination rate, synchronization index, germination index, and time to 50% germination was investigated, as well as the root lengths, shoot lengths, root/shoot ratio, and fresh weights of the seedlings. The results showed that exposure to new and Lahti MPs and leachates severely inhibited the extent and speed of the germination of L. multiflorum, whereas all categories of MPs and leachates inhibited the growth to some extent. Most severe inhibition in germination and growth was seen for the new MP and new leachate, followed by Lahti MP and Lahti leachate. The root growth, shoot growth, and plant biomass were also severely reduced for these exposure media. For the aged and Port Elizabeth material, there were slight but significant (p < 0.05) inhibition in root lengths and fresh weights, but no significant inhibition in the germination parameters. These findings indicate that ageing severely reduces the ecotoxic effects of MPs, and that regional environmental factors affect the ecotoxicity of MPs. Microplastics from Port Elizabeth were significantly less toxic to L. multiflorum than MPs from the Lahti region, possibly due to the warmer climate in South Africa. Another explanation could be that the plastic material collected in Port Elizabeth wast older than the one from Lahti. There was little to no difference in germination and growth between seeds exposed to MPs or leachates of the same origin, indicating that it is the substances leaching out of the MPs that are responsible for their ecotoxicity.
  • Turunen, Pauliina (2021)
    Peatlands play an important role in the carbon cycle. Natural peatlands are in general sinks of carbon dioxide (CO2) and sources of methane (CH4), whereas drained peatland forests are CH4 sinks but their CO2 emissions increase compared to natural peatlands. Rotational even-aged forestry followed by ditch network maintenance (DNM) affect the water dynamics of the soil by increasing the water table level (WTL) first during clear-cut after which the WTL is lowered by DNM. Rising of WTL causes more anaerobic conditions and risk that CH4 sink turns into CH4 emissions. Lowering the WTL causes more aerobic conditions and strengthens the CH4 sink function but also increases CO2 emissions. In continuous cover forestry (CCF) where only part of the trees are removed, WTL would be naturally maintained. This could maintain CH4 sinks while lowering CO2 emissions by keeping the WTL at an adequate depth. Net emissions of CO2 and CH4 could be expected to follow the changes in CO2 and CH4 concentrations in soil. To understand the processes isotopic values can be used to interpret the production pathways of CO2 and CH4 since different pathways produce different isotope values. In this master’s thesis the aim was to study how the concentration of CO2 and CH4 as well as CO2 isotope values change in a peat soil and how partial harvest affects them. Gas samples were collected from the peat profile (5 – 65cm) at two different drained peatland forests, Lettosuo and Paroninkorpi, from control plots and partial harvested plots during 2019 and 2020. Samples were also collected from the moss layer. In addition, WTL, temperature of peat and O2 concentrations were measured. Concentrations and isotope values were analysed the laboratory with gas chromatography and isotope analyser (Picarro G2201-i). Water table level and temperature were generally higher in partial harvested areas than in control. Highest concentrations of both CO2 and CH4 were found in the deeper layers of the soil. Partial harvest had higher CO2 and CH4 concentrations in the deep layers (50 – 65cm) than control. The differences between partial harvest and control areas could be explained with the higher WTL in partial harvest. The measured isotopic values of CO2 indicated that most of the CO2 in the soil was derived from atmosphere or heterotrophic respiration and only <<20 % of CO2 was derived from CH4 oxidation. Even though both in control and in partial harvest the CH4 concentrations in the deep soil layers were high, the oxidation processes decrease the concentrations under the atmospheric CH4 concentration maintaining the CH4 sinks in both treatments. In partial harvest the CH4 sink is not in risk due to oxidation even though the WTL is higher. This should be verified with gas flux measurements.
  • Karimaa, Anna-Elina (2021)
    Pollinator abundance and diversity are declining at an alarming rate around the world, which poses a threat to ecosystem stability and human wellbeing. There are signs that growing pollination deficits are limiting agricultural yields in Finland and globally. More information is urgently needed on how changes in pollinator communities affect crop yields and how adequate pollination services could be achieved across a range of crops and locations. This study explores the effects of pollinator abundance and diversity on caraway (Carum carvi L.) pollination and yield. Caraway is partly wind-pollinated, but insect pollination has been shown to increase its yield. Flower visits of pollinating insects were monitored on 30 caraway fields in southern Finland in summer 2019. Yield samples were collected from open-pollinated plants and from control plants excluded from pollinators. Pollinator exclusion reduced caraway fruit set by 13.2% and seed yield by 39.6%. Fruit set, 100-seed weight and seed yield increased with increasing flower visitation. Pollinator species richness and Shannon index had no significant effect on the yield components, but evenness of the pollinator community had a negative effect on seed yield and the numbers of umbels and umbellets in the caraway plants. The most abundant pollinators visiting caraway were syrphid flies, non-syrphid Diptera and honeybees. Visits by syrphid flies and honeybees increased seed yield, while visits by non-syrphid Diptera, solitary bees and Lepidoptera had no significant effect on the yield components. Flower visits by beetles reduced 100-seed weight. The results show that syrphid flies provide an important pollinator service for caraway cultivation. It would be beneficial to study which syrphid fly species are the most effective pollinators for caraway and how to manage fields and farmland landscapes to increase their numbers. Relying only on managed honeybees to enhance caraway pollination may not be advisable due to their potential negative effects on wild pollinators. While increased pollinator diversity did not improve caraway pollination or yield in this one-season study, it may be important for the stability of pollinator services in long term.
  • Piispanen, Eveliina (2023)
    Salt-induced flocculation is a process in which dissolved salts in seawater modify dissolved organic matter (DOM) surface charges and enable its transformation into larger fractions. These larger particles can settle to the benthos removing organic matter from the water column. Flocs formed in the flocculation process are often referred to as suspended particulate material (SPM). SPM is an important part of the biogeochemical cycles. SPM is a vector for pollutants, a food source for organisms and a habitat for microbes. Flocculation is part of the estuarine “coastal filter” -system controlling the material fluxes from land to sea. Climate change is causing water temperatures to increase in both inland and coastal waters affecting the biogeochemistry of aquatic ecosystems. Flocculation is a physicochemical process potentially impacted by temperature but the effects of temperature on flocculation are not well known. In my master’s thesis, I studied the effects of water temperature on the salt-induced flocculation of humic-rich river water. The flocculation experiments were conducted in spring 2023 using humic-rich water sampled from Vantaanjoki, Helsinki, Finland. The effects of temperature were studied in two separate experiments at temperatures ranging from 3 ºC to 20 ºC. The studied variables included quantitative suspended particulate matter as well as the optical properties of DOM including colored DOM and fluorescent DOM. Results of the experiments show that temperature did not have a significant effect on the salt-induced flocculation of DOM in humic-rich river water. However, the optical properties of DOM shifted with increasing temperatures and changing flocculation dynamics. Results show that molecular size increased as temperature increased but also when temperature was lower than 3 ºC. Explanation for the observed trends is discussed but more research is needed for more firm conclusions. DOM concentrations are expected to increase in the Arctic and sub-Arctic rivers transporting more organic matter to estuaries. Results of this thesis suggest that rising temperatures will not increase the amount of particulate matter through salt-induced flocculation meaning that a larger portion of the transported material remains in dissolved fraction. Increases in DOM concentrations may shift marine food webs by changing the food and light availability as well as biogeochemistry in estuaries.
  • Jukonen, Joonas (2019)
    Eph (Erythropoietin producing hepatocellular) receptors and their membrane-bound ligands, ephrins, form the largest family of receptor tyrosine kinases in mammals. They regulate functions such as cell migration and axon guidance during development, and wound healing and tissue boundary maintenance in mature tissues for example. Due to the membrane-bound nature of the ephrin ligands, Eph-ephrin signalling can proceed in two directions: forward (Eph-expressing cell) and reverse (ephrin expressing cell). In addition to its critical physiological functions in development and tissue homeostasis, the Eph-ephrin system has also been implicated in multiple diseases, including several cancers, in which the aberrant expression of Eph receptors and ephrins are often present. The EphA2 receptor for example has been identified as an oncogene with a dual mode of action as either tumor suppressor or an oncogene through distinct phosphorylation statuses of the receptor. High-grade serous ovarian cancer is the most common subtype of ovarian cancer, and the deadliest gynaecological malignancy with a dismal five-year survival rate. High-grade serous ovarian cancer does not present symptoms at an early stage, yet it quickly progresses into forming peritoneal metastases by cell shedding from the primary tumour. Small patient cohort studies have given indications of the correlation between the Eph-ephrin system and survival in ovarian cancer. This aim of this study was to investigate the impact of the Eph-ephrin system in high-grade serous ovarian cancer using a large patient cohort mRNA expression dataset to obtain survival association data of proteins of interest used with cell-based studies and the analysis of clinical samples in the form of tumor microarrays and fresh primary samples to investigate the functions of the found proteins of interest. A 428-patient The Cancer Genome Atlas high-grade serous ovarian cancer microarray mRNA dataset was analysed using the Kaplan-Meier estimator for each Eph-ephrin family member. Cell based studies were performed with recombinant ephrin treatments and ephrin knockdowns. These data were analysed using Western blotting and immunofluorescence stainings. Clinical high-grade serous ovarian cancer samples obtained from Turku University Hospital were analysed using immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence stainings, and mRNA sequencing. EfnA5 had a significant correlation of high expression and poor survival, which is atypical to ephrins. Low EfnA3 correlated with poor survival. High levels of known oncogenes EphA2 and EphA4 also correlated with poor survival. EfnA5 treatment resulted in increased oncogenic EphA2 signaling in comparison with canonical Eph-ephrin signalling mediated by EfnA1. Knockdown of EfnA5 increased canonical, tumour suppressive EphA2 signaling, while EfnA1 knockdown increased oncogenic EphA2 signaling. Immunohistochemical analysis of tumour microarrays with multiple ovarian cancer subtypes displayed an association between the highly malignant high-grade serous subtype and EfnA5 expression. In addition to this, EfnA5 expression was increased during high-grade serous ovarian cancer progression. The Eph-ephrin system is implicated in the survival associations of multiple cancers, but the exact functions facilitated by Eph-ephrin signalling in cancer have remained relatively unknown, with the exception of EphB4-EfnB2 driven angiogenesis. This study offers insights into oncogenic Eph-ephrin signalling in ovarian cancer, displaying that oncogenic EphA2 functions can be altered by ephrins in addition to the known kinase crosstalk pathway. The noncanonical nature of EfnA5 is highlighted by its oncogenic functions in comparison to typical Eph-ephrin signalling, and the significant increase of EfnA5 expression during high-grade serous ovarian cancer progression and association with this highly malignant subtype of ovarian cancer. Although the reverse signalling effects of EfnA5 were not studied, this study highlights the importance of ephrins in Eph-ephrin signalling in cancer, presenting that the focus should not be only on the Eph receptors when studying the oncogenic signalling facilitated by the Eph-ephrin system.
  • Markula, Anette (2019)
    Interdisciplinary studies are currently an important topic in education. One reason behind this is the idea that students should learn 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills for their future careers. Interdisciplinary education has also been shown to increase students’ interest towards natural sciences. Furthermore, organizing cross-curricular learning units has become compulsory at a curricular level in Finland and other countries. Project-based learning is a widely supported teaching method in which learning is organized around projects. It is also a natural method to carry out interdisciplinary learning units. Project-based learning is usually defined by its characteristic features, and its successful implementation requires the teacher to have a good knowledge of them. However, these characteristics tend to be unknown for teachers. Research has also shown that teachers’ conceptions of what interdisciplinary education and project-based learning are, tend to vary. As such, it has been noted in the literature that there is a need to offer training and materials for the implementation of interdisciplinary and project-based learning for in-service teachers. Although MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have a lot of potential as a means of professional development, they are rarely planned to serve primarily as in-service teacher training. Empirical research into their design is also scarce. The main aims in this study were to 1) provide more information about interdisciplinary education within biology education 2) develop a MOOC for the professional development of biology teachers on the topic of interdisciplinary education and project-based learning. In addition to that the study aimed to develop the StarT programme of LUMA Centre Finland. The study was carried out as design-based research. The main research question that directed the design process was: what should a MOOC that supports teachers to carry out interdisciplinary project-based learning within the theme “nature and environment” in biology be like? Nature and environment was chosen as the context of the study as from the perspective of biology education it offers an important and current topic for interdisciplinary project units. The main research question was approached through a theoretical and empirical problem analysis. Theoretical problem analysis focused on researching the question in earlier literature, and the empirical problem analysis was carried out as a case study in which qualitative data was studied through deductive content analysis. The materials studied in the empirical problem analysis were project-based learning units of comprehensive schools and high schools. Their project units were studied through the following research questions: 1. How did teachers and students carry out the characteristics of project-based learning in the context of the theme nature and environment in biology? 2. How is biology taught in an interdisciplinary way in the theme nature and environment? The first question was studied through the characteristics that were identified for project-based learning in the theoretical problem analysis, and the second by looking at which subjects collaborated with biology, how the collaboration was carried out and how the learning communities experienced it. The goal was to find a) challenging characteristics of project-based learning and interdisciplinary education that should be considered the design of the MOOC b) good examples from the studied learning communities to be shared on the MOOC. The study subjects consisted of 12 learning communities who had participated in the international StarT programme of LUMA Centre Finland. In accordance with earlier studies, also the subjects of this study struggled especially with driving questions, the unity of the project activities and in using the projects as a means to learn central contents. Scientific practices were visible well apart from students’ questions, but it could not be defined how strongly student-led the inquiry was. The connection between instructions of StarT and the characteristics of project-based learning that were well represented in the materials seemed evident: collaboration, sharing results, end products and using technology were all visible throughout the analyzed learning communities. However, the materials offered little information about how the collaboration between different subjects was carried out in practice. The study indicated also that students and teachers paid attention to different aspects of the learning taking place in project-based learning, and that teachers might include topics of certain subjects into the project units without realizing it. This should be further researched, however. The issues identified in the problem analyses were used to design an international MOOC that is suitable especially for biology teachers. The course ”Project-based learning and the theory behind it – create your own project!” was created on the Moodle-platform of the University of Helsinki. In addition to this, a phased model for creating professional development in a situation where the studied materials can be used both to direct the design process and as materials on the course was created. The framework that was created for the analyses in this study can also be further used and developed to study how characteristics of project-based learning are represented in other cases where teachers’ and students’ project units are being studied. The study provided also new information about what is possible and feasible to study from the materials of StarT. New information was provided also of the project-based learning that takes place at the schools of the StarT participants, as they have not been researched from the perspective of the characteristics of project-based learning earlier.
  • Lanki, Maiju (2013)
    Adaptive radiation is an important mechanism of evolution, which can lead to emergence of sympatric species or morphotypes. Among other biological interactions, parasitic pressure can have significant evolutionary implications for host populations by reducing the fitness of the host individuals. Parasite community structure of fishes is typically strongly dependent on both host ecology (e.g. habitat and feeding behaviour) and environmental factors (e.g. water quality and temperature). However, the relative importance of these factors for parasite-mediated speciation is not known. Also, host gender-specific differences in parasite communities can have an effect on the differentiation of host morphs. In this Master's thesis, I focused on differences in parasite communities of sympatric morphs of three-spine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) in two large Icelandic lakes, Thingvallavatn and Mývatn. In these lakes, the habitats of sympatric mud and lava morphs are the same (soft/hard bottom), but the habitat water temperatures are opposite between the lakes. In this unique system, it is thus possible to compare between the effects of host ecology and water temperature on parasite community structure and strength of parasite-mediated selection. Additionally, I studied the effect of host sex on the parasitic pressure. There is also a third stickleback morph, Nitella morph, inhabiting the cold limnetic habitats in Lake Thingvallavatn. I sampled the stickleback morphs from both lakes and identified their parasite species. I discovered a total of five parasite genera: trematodes Apatemon and Diplostomum, and cestodes Diphyllobothrium, Proteocephalus and Schistocephalus. Most of the observed parasites have negative effects on health and fitness of the host. I found more parasites in sticklebacks living in higher temperature in both lakes regardless of the morph. When comparing the cold water morphs in Thingvallavatn, parasite abundance was higher in the limnetic Nitella morph than in the shallow water lava morph. Fish gender had an effect on parasitism only in Thingvallavatn as males of both lava and Nitella morphs were more heavily infected with cestodes. Similarities in parasite communities with water temperature indicate that water temperature mainly determines parasite infections in this system instead of host ecology. As similar fish morphotypes exist in different lakes under opposite parasitic pressure, parasitism has unlikely initiated host differentiation, but differences in infection probably have emerged secondary to the ecological specialization of the morphs to different habitats. These results are among the first to tackle the key question in parasite-mediated divergent selection: at which point of the speciation process parasite communities become differentiated and thus can have an effect on speciation. However, the comparison between the cold water morphs (lava and Nitella) indicates that although water temperature seems to be the main factor controlling infections in this system, its effect may still be over ridden by host ecology. Sex-depended differences in parasitic pressure, on the other hand, are likely to reflect specific characteristics of each fish population and lake. These results suggest complex interactions between host ecology and abiotic environment, such as water temperature, in determining the parasite community structure. Hence both factors have to take into consideration when studying the role of parasites in speciation processes. In future, it is necessary to pinpoint the stage of the host speciation process when parasite infections become differentiated in replicated systems to gain comprehensive understanding of the role of parasites in adaptive radiations.
  • Östman, Sanna (2015)
    This interdisciplinary study seeks to raise awareness of and generate interest in projects that combine science and art. A number of such projects are discussed and analyzed with the help of the concept 'Ecovention'. The concept is operationalized to include works of art that ecologically restore, reclaim, and remediate damaged ecosystems by physical actions and inventions. They transform the ecosystem and often slowly disappear into the environment, contributing to the overall wellbeing of the ecosystem. These works of art are long-lasting and site-specific. They are built outdoors by using material that is already available in the ecosystem or by bringing in environmental-friendly material into the ecosystem. The central research question for the study is as follows: How significantly does environmental art affect the local ecosystem when the starting point is ecological restoration? This is a qualitative study. The data for the study consist of interviews with experts together with analyses of the historical, cultural, and ecological background material for two Finnish environmental artworks. The two artworks are Agnes Denes's Puuvuori (Tree Mountain - A Living Time Capsule, 1996) and Jackie Brookner's Veden taika (The Magic of Water, 2007- 2010). These works of art were chosen because of the availability of historical and natural scientific research data about how they were planned and how they were constructed. The availability of this kind of data related to environmental art is rare in Finland. The Magic of Water consists of three floating islands in Salo. They are situated in a lagoon that was formerly used as a clarification pool at the Salo Municipal Sewage Treatment Facility. The artwork has succeeded in supplying a peaceful nesting habitat for the birdlife in the area. It has been shown that a colony of black-headed gulls (Larus ridibundus) is a new species nesting in the islands. The Magic of Water did not provide a significant improvement of the water quality by phytoremediation since the islands are relatively small in relation to the area of the lagoon. Tree Mountain - A Living Time Capsule is to be found in Pinsiönkangas, at the most important groundwater area in Ylöjärvi. The artwork reclaims a former gravel pit. Tree Mountain is a 28 meter tall hill in an area of elliptical shape that spans nine hectares. 10,600 pine tree saplings (Pinus sylvestris) and about 40,000 cubic meters of soil from the area was used to build the artwork. Tree Mountain is nowadays owned by the town of Ylöjärvi and Pinsiönkangas is principally a conservation area. The Tree Mountain - A Living Time Capsule is argued to fit well in the regionally precious ridgescenary since the work of art has enough of biological values. Most likely the building of the artwork has had a preventive effect on possible ecological harm and it has made the community take responsibility for taking care of the reclaimed environment in the long term. In the face of high-quality ecological restoration plans it is important to approach the restoration of ecosystems from a holistic perspective. The artist s vision of how an ecosystem can be restored adds a surplus value to ecological restoration work since also the aesthetic and ideological dimensions are reconstructed. The probable positive view of the community towards the restored ecosystem can promote not only the attendance by the community to that particular area in the future, but it can also promote the attendance of a community to other areas as well.
  • Merikanto, Ilona (2012)
    Many pathogens are able to survive and reproduce in the environment outside of host for instance by saprotrophic lifestyle. These kinds of pathogens are called opportunistic as compared to obligatory pathogens that cannot interact or reproduce in the environment outside of host. Opportunistic pathogens are subject to strong selection forces in the environment outside of host for instance while they compete for resources they share with other microbes. Ecological interactions in the environment outside of host can therefore influence on the disease dynamics and evolution of virulence of an opportunistic pathogen. No proper theoretical model that would acknowledge opportunistic reproduction and ecological interactions in the environment out side of host has been developed before. Yet it is essential to develop this kind of theoretical model so that the development and dynamics of opportunistic diseases could be predicted and prevented. In this work, an opportunistic disease model was developed that considers both the opportunistic reproduction and the influence of a superior competitor as compared to pathogenic strain on pathogen growth in the environment outside of host. Differential equations in the model represent the density changes in time in the populations of susceptible and infected host, pathogen and rival strain outside host that is not pathogenic. Evolution of virulence of the new opportunistic pathogen meaning the ability to grow from low density in presence of superior competing strain was modeled in differing circumstances. Opportunistic disease dynamics was modeled in differing circumstances, when non-pathogenic competing strain was either present or absent. Equilibrium equations were solvable to a system, where non-pathogenic competing strain was absent, but to a system where non-pathogenic competing strain was present. Analyses of the model were performed with Math Works MATLAB – program. Reproducing inside host gives an opportunity for new opportunistic pathogen to increase in density under circumstances where competition is moderate enough so that the reproduction in the environment outside host may compensate opportunistic pathogen's weaker ability to compete. Reproduction and competition in the environment outside host produce disease dynamics that differ from more traditional SI-models. Density dependence of the reproduction in the environment outside host stabilizes host-parasite system in the absence of competition in the environment outside host. Instead, in the presence of competition the competitive advantage of the non-pathogen strain destabilizes disease dynamics and prevents extinction of the susceptible host. Reproduction in the environment outside host also enables opportunistic pathogen to remain in the environment in the absence of susceptible hosts and functions thus as a potential mechanism for disease out breaks when circumstances change. However, increasing competition in the environment outside host at the expense of opportunistic pathogen may potentially prevent epidemics. Among other things, the model could be applied to biological control with the intension of removing an opportunistic pathogen naturally by weakening its survival in the environment out side of host in a competiotion situation. This kind of biological control could for example be possible in the case of saprotrophic Flavobacterium columnare –fish pathogen that is found in fish farms.
  • Tuomaala, Emilia (2022)
    Permafrost peatlands have a significant role in the global carbon cycle, as they store ca. 185 Pg of carbon. Because of the slow decomposition of organic matter, they have sequestered carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and cooled the climate for thousands of years. However, in anaerobic decomposition also methane – a strong greenhouse gas – is produced. Climate change results in changes in permafrost peatland habitats; distribution and proportional share and these changes also affect the CO2 and CH4 fluxes. In this master’s thesis I compare the net ecosystem exchange and pore water methane concentrations in different microhabitats in the Stordalen palsa mire in Abisko, Sweden. In addition, I review the reported climate change-driven habitat changes in the area and its effects on the CO2 and CH4 fluxes. My results suggest that Sphagnum sp. and Sphagnum fuscum -microhabitats were net sinks of CO2 whereas lichen-, shrub- and Eriophorum-microhabitats were net sources. These results were best explained by the proportional coverage of green vegetation, which was highest in both Sphagnum-microhabitats. No discernible differences were found between pore water methane concentrations in different habitats. Permafrost thawing has increased the occurrence of wet habitats in Stordalen. These habitat changes have increased carbon sequestration in the area but at the same time methane emissions have also increased. Because of this, the radiative forcing of the peatland has changed from negative to positive and the on-going habitat changes will likely continue in future. On a longer timespan though, the radiative forcing will likely switch back to negative as carbon sequestration increases and the effects of the methane emissions decrease.
  • Svahnbäck, Katja (2020)
    Tutkielman tarkoituksena oli selvittää ja verrata keskenään kahden luontaisesti kalattoman järven eläinplanktonyhteisöjen rakennetta sekä kalaistutusten vaikutuksia siihen. Tarkoituksena oli myös selvittää äyriäiseläinplanktonin vasteita saalistukseen erilaisen predaatiopaineen vallitessa. Luontaisesti kalattomissa järvissä eliöyhteisö on muovautunut hyvin erilaiseksi visuaalisesti saalistavien kalojen puuttuessa. Näissä järvissä pääpredaattorina toimivat usein selkärangattomat pedot, joiden saalistustekniikka eroaa selvästi kalojen saalistuksesta, ja ne ovat usein kokorajoitteisia ravinnon käytön suhteen. Kalojen visuaalinen saalistus kohdistuu kooltaan suurimpiin ja näkyvimpiin äyriäiseläinplanktoneihin ja ne voivat näin tehokkaasti vaikuttaa eläinplanktonin kokorakenteeseen. Luontaisesti kalattomiin järviin tehdyillä kalaistutuksilla voi olla merkittäviä vaikutuksia koko järven eliöyhteisöön. Oletuksena oli, että äyriäiseläinplankton olisi kooltaan suurempaa kalattomassa järvessä verrattuna istutettuun järveen. Oletimme pienikokoisen Bosmina spp. -vesikirpun suojautuvan selkärangattomien petojen predaatiota vastaan erilaisten korostuneiden morfologisten piirteiden avulla. Myös äyriäiseläinplanktonin vertikaalisen sijainnin oletettiin eroavan järvien välillä. Kuutsjärvi ja Tippakuru sijaitsevat Värriön luonnonpuiston alueella Itä-Lapissa. Molemmat tutkimusjärvet ovat luontaisesti kalattomia latvajärviä, mutta Kuutsjärveen on istutettu taimenta 1980-luvulla ja se muodosti järveen pysyvän taimenkannan. Eläinplanktonnäytteet otettiin limnos -putkinäytteenottimella järven syvimmästä kohdasta koko vesipatsaan syvyydeltä metrin välein kesällä 2010, kolmena eri näytteenottokertana. Näytteet mikroskopoitiin ja niistä määritettiin lajit/suvut mahdollisimman tarkasti ja äyriäiseläinplanktonin koko mitattiin. Näytteistä määritettiin eläinplanktonin tiheydet, äyriäiseläinplanktonin biomassat, keskikoot ja kokojakaumat. Lisäksi mitattiin pienikokoisen Bosmina spp. -vesikirpun ulokkeiden (mucro, antennula) pituudet predaatiopaineen vaikutusten arvioimiseksi. Äyriäiseläinplanktonin vertikaalinen sijainti vesipatsaassa määritettiin. Selvimmin pelagiaalin eläinplanktonyhteisöt erosivat toisistaan kokonaistiheyksien osalta, minkä aiheutti rataseläinten voimakas lisääntyminen kalattomassa Tippakurussa kesän aikana. Eläinplanktonlajisto oli järvissä kuitenkin hyvin samanlainen ja lajirunsaus vain hieman suurempi kalattomassa Tippakurussa. Äyriäiseläinplanktonin biomassat vaihtelivat kuukausien välillä, mutta eivät eronneet merkittävästi järvien välillä. Molemmissa järvissä hallitsevina äyriäiseläinplanktoneina esiintyivät hankajalkaiset ja vesikirppuja esiintyi selkeästi vähemmän. Äyriäiseläinplanktonin keskikoot erosivat joiltain osin järvien välillä ja olivat pääosin suuremmat kalattomassa Tippakurussa. Kalattomille järville tyypillistä hyvin suurikokoista eläinplanktonia ei Tippakurussa kuitenkaan esiintynyt ja erot jäivät tästä syystä oletettua pienemmiksi. Pienikokoisen Bosmina spp. -vesikirpun mucrojen pituuksissa havaittiin kuitenkin selkeä ero. Mucrot olivat kooltaan selvästi suuremmat kalattomassa Tippakurussa koko kesän ajan ja tätä ollaankin pidetty yhtenä luotettavimpana Bosmina spp. -vesikirppujen vasteena selkärangattomien petojen saalistukseen. Äyriäiseläinplanktonin sijainnissa havaittiin eroja lähinnä hankajalkaisten ja vesikirppujen välillä, mutta järvien välillä erot olivat vähäisiä, joitain yksittäisiä tapauksia lukuun ottamatta. Erilaisesta predaatiopaineesta huolimatta järvien eläinplanktonlajisto erosi vain vähän järvien välillä ja erot olivat joiltain osin jopa päinvastaisia oletettuun nähden. Kuutsjärven eläinplanktonlajisto muistutti monelta osin muiden istutettujen järvien lajistoa, koostuen lähinnä pienikokoisesta äyriäiseläinplanktonista ja rataseläimistä. Järvessä esiintyvä taimen ei ole tehokas planktivori, joten se on todennäköisesti vaikuttanut Kuutsjärven eläinplanktonlajistoon lähinnä trofiatasojen välisten vuorovaikutusten kautta, hävittämällä selkärangattomat pedot pelagiaalista. Tippakurussa sen sijaan havaittiin kalattomille järville poikkeuksellisen runsaasti rataseläimiä ja äyriäiseläinplankton oli kooltaan verrattaen pientä. Myös äyriäiseläinplanktonin sijainti oli monilta osin poikkeava muihin tutkimuksiin nähden. Tippakurun pelagiaalissa, poikkeuksellisesti myös päiväsaikaan esiintyneet selkärangattomat pedot G.lacustris ja C. flavicans ovat tehokkaalla, myös suuriin eläinplanktereihin kohdistuneella predaatiollaan todennäköisesti muovanneet Tippakurun eläinplanktonyhteisöstä ja sen vasteista hyvin omaleimaisen sekä poikkeavan muihin kalattomiin järviin nähden. Voimakkaammasta selkärangattomien petojen predaatiosta Tippakurussa kuitenkin kertovat Bosmina spp. -vesikirpun suuremmat mucrot verrattuna Kuutsjärveen, jossa istutettu taimen on hävittänyt selkärangattomat pedot pelagiaalista.
  • Nivalainen, Pinja (2022)
    Eläinten tunnemaailma on meille melko vieras. Sen takia on tärkeää tutkia, millaiset asiat vaikuttavat siihen, miten tulkitsemme niiden tunteita. Tunteiden tulkintaan voivat vaikuttaa tulkitsijan omat kokemukset. Tämän tutkielman tarkoituksena on tutkia sitä, mitkä asiat vaikuttavat siihen, kuinka hyvin eläintarhakävijät tunnistavat villieläinten tunteita. Erityisesti keskityn siihen, miten vastaajan sukupuoli, ikä, kasvuympäristö ja lapsuuden ja aikuisuuden aikaiset eläinkokemukset vaikuttavat eläintarhakävijöiden kykyyn tunnistaa eläinten tunteita. Tutkimus tehtiin kyselytutkimuksena Korkeasaaren eläintarhassa kesällä 2021. Osallistujille näytettiin videolta eläin ja heidän tuli kertoa, onko eläimen tunnetila neutraali, myönteinen vai kielteinen ja onko se rauhallinen vai kiihtynyt. Tutkimuksessa tutkittiin tiikereiden, berberiapinoiden ja markhorvuohien tunnetilan tunnistamista. Osallistujista kerättiin taustatietoja, kuten ikä ja sukupuoli. Tulosteni perusteella eläinlajilla on vaikutusta tunnetilan tunnistamiseen. Tiikerin myönteisyys tai kielteisyys osattiin arvioida huonommin kuin berberiapinan. Myös vastaajan ikä vaikuttaa tunteiden tunnistukseen. Vanhemmat tunnistivat myönteisyyden tai kielteisyyden nuorempia ihmisiä heikommin. Sukupuoli vaikuttaa yhdessä iän kanssa kiihtyneisyyden tunnistamiseen. Kiihtyneisyyden tunnistivat paremmin 18–30-vuotiaat naiset kuin 61–75-vuotiaat naiset, mutta muiden ryhmien välillä ei havaittu merkitseviä eroja. Kiihtyneisyys tunnistettiin myös paremmin, jos eläimet ovat olleet osana vastaajan elämää vain lapsuudessa sen sijaan, että ne olisivat olleet aina osana elämää. Tulosten perusteella voidaan päätellä, että ihmiset tunnistavat eri eläinten tunteet eri tavalla ja ihmismäisempien eläinten tunteet ovat muita helpommin tunnistettavissa. Iällä ja sukupuolella voi olla vaikutusta ihmisten kykyyn tunnistaa eläinten tunteita. Myös eläinkokemus vaikuttaa ihmisten kykyyn tunnistaa tunteita ja kokemus ei ole sama kuin tiedon omaksuminen. Tuloksiani voidaan hyödyntää esimerkiksi ympäristökasvatuksessa.