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  • Rossi, Katriina (2020)
    HIV-1 is a lentivirus causing a serious immunodeficiency disease called AIDS to almost 38 million people in the world. Like all retroviruses, HIV has an ability to insert a copy of its genome into the host cell DNA thus having a lifelong effect on the host cell. Two identical copies of single-stranded RNA are first reverse transcribed, and then a protein called integrase inserts the DNA into the genome of T-cells of the human immune system. Studies have shown that in some retroviruses the integrase protein has a unique integration pattern favoring certain areas of the host cell genome. For example, active transcription units or promoter units are found to attract integration activity. On the other hand, with nuclear localization signals in its structure and an ability to attach to the human genome, it raises a question if the integrase could have additional functions. Regulating certain gene expression levels could support viral replication and the survival of the virus. The aim of the study was to determine whether integration sites differ from integrase genomic contact sites, which could be an indication of integrase’s additional role. Study was started by method optimization. Two chromatin fragmentation methods, sonication and endo-exonuclease treatment, were tested in order to achieve optimal sized DNA fragments for ChIP-sequencing. Two cell lines were infected with HIV-1. Genomic DNA was collected for integration site sequencing. Integrase genomic contact sites were studied with ChIP-sequencing. Next generation sequencing for both, integration sites and integrase genomic contact sites, was carried out by an outsource biotechnology company. Sequences were processed with bioinformatics platforms, such as Galaxy and Homer. Study of the effects of transfected integrase was also initiated by transfection method optimization. Treatment with endo-exonuclease resulted in correctly sized DNA fragments when DNA was first purified. In a cell lysate, a correct ratio of MNase and cells was not found, although several cell lysis methods and buffers were tried. This is why actual integrase genomic contact site samples were fragmented by sonication. In MRC-5 cell line, integration site sequencing resulted in over 2 M reads with 289 aligned, unique integration sites. Integrase genomic contact site sequencing resulted in 1.8E+6 Bowtie mapped reads. A brief analysis of the sequences including sequence visualization, comparison of localization in the genome and GO terms, showed that integrase genomic contact sites have certain patterns that differ from integration sites. Therefore, it was confirmed that the study is repeatable, as the results were in line with the study conducted several years earlier. These results also suggest that method optimization had been successful. As bioinformatics methods were used with default parameters only, more attention should be payed when sequences are analyzed more deeply. This will offer a more thorough understanding of the functions of integrase.
  • Sundman, Elina (2020)
    Hypothyroidism affected 337 370 people in Finland in 2019. The hypothalamus-pituitary negative feedback loop is used in the diagnostics of hypothyroidism. TSH, a pituitary hormone, is the most used diagnostic tool with the free thyroxine (T4) in a supporting role. L-T4 has been the main treatment option, since the discovery of peripheral deiodination. Biochemical and clinical euthyroidism is the aim of L-T4 therapy. There are no nationwide official treatment guidelines for hypothyroidism in Finland. The Finnish Endocrine Society has published their recommended guidelines in 2019. Studies have shown that 5–15 % of levothyroxine treated patients continue to report symptoms when they are biochemically euthyroid. The symptoms consist of typical symptoms of hypothyroidism: fatigue, cognitive symptoms, depression, anxiety and weight gain. The molecular basis of the symptoms is not yet known. These symptoms have notbeen studied in Finnish population. The aim of this study was to find out what symptoms levothyroxine treated patients report on Finnish social media support groups and view the current treatment of hypothyroidism and guidelines of treatment. This study was conducted by surveying patient-reported information from social media hypothyroidism related support groups. The posts were divided into two groups: hypothyreotic and athyreotic. The biochemical data and symptoms were collected from 137 posts in the athyreotic group and 191 in the hypothyreotic group. Only posts with TSH under or within the refence range and free T4 within the reference range wereincluded in the study. The results show that patients reported symptoms in 74 % of the posts viewed. 81 % of patients reported symptoms in the hypothyroidism group and 64.2 % in the athyreotic group. The most reported symptom in both groups was fatigue. Symptoms were reported within the normal TSH range (0.5-4 mU/l) and below the normal range (<0.5 mU/l). In asymptomatic patients the median TSH was 0.38 mU/l in the athyreotic group and 0.54 mU/l in the hypothyreotic group. Free T4 seems to be a little higher in the asymptomatic patients in both groups. 16.6-25 % the patients reported that they had had Free T3 measured. Free T3 seem to be higher in relation to free T4 in the athyreotic group that reported having no symptoms. L-T4 is the recommended treatment modality for hypothyroidism. Other options are synthetic combination treatment with L-T4 + L-T3 and desiccated thyroid extract (DTE).This study supports the view that hypothyroidism patients can have symptoms on levothyroxine treatment
  • Lehikoinen, Petteri (2013)
    Kosteikot ovat biodiversiteetiltään yksi maailman rikkaimmista habitaateista. Kosteikkojen ja niillä elävien vesilintujen tuottamien ekosysteemipalvelujen laajuuteen ja tärkeyteen on havahduttu vasta viime aikoina. Kosteikkoja ja niiden linnustoa uhkaavat maailman laajuisesti maankäyttö sekä makeiden vesistöjen pilaantuminen. Viimeisen vuosisadan aikana maailman kosteikkojen määrä on vähentynyt puoleen ja niiden tila on heikentynyt. Kosteikkolinnuston elinolot ovat heikentyneet ja linnusto on taantunut. Kosteikkoja rakentamalla ja kunnostamalla on voitu parantaa linnuston elinolosuhteita. Etenkin keinotekoisten kosteikkojen merkitys on ollut suuri luontaisten kosteikkojen tilan heikkenemisen myötä. Vain vähän tiedetään miten luonnollisten kosteikkojen hoitotoimet vaikuttavat linnustoon paikallisella tasolla. Niukasti tietoa on myös saatavilla päättäjille hoitotoimien kustannustehokkuudesta. Tässä työssä tutkittiin Etelä-Suomen kosteikkojen hoitotoimien vaikutuksia levähtävään ja pesivään linnustoon. Työn tarkoituksena oli selvittää eri hoitotoimien vaikutuksia ravinnonhankinnaltaan erilaisiin lintukiltoihin ja -ryhmiin. Yhtenä tutkimuksen päätavoitteena oli luoda käsitys hoitotoimien kustannustehokkuudesta sekä mihin resurssit kannattaa käyttää. Tutkimusalue käsitti 21 Etelä-Suomen linnustollisesti arvokasta kosteikkoa. Kosteikkoja kunnostettiin vuosina 2004–2012 kahdessa hoitojaksossa. Hoitojaksoja ennen ja niiden jälkeen kosteikkojen pesivä ja levähtävä linnusto selvitettiin. Suomen ympäristökeskus vastasi hoitotoimista ja linnustolaskennoista Uudenmaan ja Kymenlaakson ELY-keskusten kanssa. Kosteikkoja kunnostettiin pääasiassa avoimuutta lisäämällä laidunnuksen, puustonraivauksen, niiton ja äestyksen sekä ruoppauksen avulla. Muutolla levähtävä linnusto selvitettiin läpi muuttokauden noin viiden päivän välein suoritettujen laskentojen avulla ja pesivä linnusto selvitettiin viiden käyntikerran kartoitusmenetelmällä. Kohteiden linnut eriteltiin hoidettuihin osa-alueisiin sekä niiden ulkopuolelle jääviin hoitamattomiin osa-alueisiin. Kontrollialueina toimivat hoitamattomat kohteet ja osa-alueet. Lasketut linnut yhdistettiin ravinnonhankintansa perusteella kymmeneen kiltaan, jotka olivat puolisukeltajasorsat, sukeltajasorsat, kalansyöjävesilinnut, joutsenet, hanhet, kahlaajat, naurulokki, rantakanat ja kaulushaikara, avomaavarpuslinnut sekä pensaston ja ruovikon varpuslinnut. Kolmea viimeksi mainittua kiltaa tarkasteltiin vain pesimäaikana. Erikseen tarkasteltiin kansallisesti uhanalaisia sekä lintudirektiivin liitteen I lajeja. Hoitotoimien sekä niihin käytettyjen kokonaiskustannusten vaikutuksia kiltakohtaisiin lintumääriin tarkasteltiin lineaarisilla sekamalleilla. Syysmuuttoaineistossa kaikkien lintukiltojen määrät kasvoivat niitto- ja äestysalan myötä; laidunnuspinta-ala lisäsi hanhien ja kahlaajien lukumääriä. Kaikkien kiltojen lukumääriä lisäsi laidunala keväällä, lisäksi niitto- ja äestys - sekä ruoppausala lisäsivät kahlaajien lukumääriä. Kalansyöjien lukumäärät vähenivät ruoppausalan kasvun myötä, mutta yhteys oli tilastollisesti vain suuntaa antava. Pesimäaineistossa ruoppausala x kilta-interaktio osoittautui tilastollisesti merkitseväksi, mutta kiltakohtaisesti tarkasteltuna vaikutukset olivat suuntaa antavia; rantakanat ja kaulushaikara runsastuivat ja kalansyöjävesilinnut vähenivät. Sekä uhanalaisten että lintudirektiivin liitteen I lajien lukumääriä kasvatti laidunnus keväällä ja syksyllä. Hoitotoimiin käytettyjen kokonaiskustannusten suhteen runsastuivat syksyllä puolisukeltajasorsat, hanhet ja kahlaajat. Keväällä kokonaiskustannuksilla oli positiivinen yhteys puolisukeltajasorsien, kahlaajien ja naurulokin lukumääriin. Pesimäaineistossa kokonaiskustannukset kasvattivat naurulokin lukumääriä. Suuntaa-antavasti kokonaiskustannukset lisäsivät rantakanojen ja kaulushaikaran määriä sekä vähensivät kalansyöjävesilintujen määriä. Erityisesti huomioitavaa on, että hoitotoimilla havaittiin vain positiivisia merkitseviä tuloksia lintukiltoihin. Laidunnus oli tärkein yksittäinen hoitotoimi, mikä liittynee sen ympäristöä monipuolistavaan vaikutukseen. Hoitotoimista eniten hyötynyt kilta oli kahlaajat, mutta kaikki killat hyötyivät jostain hoitotoimesta. Hoitotoimien positiiviset vaikutukset liittynevät avoimuuden lisääntymiseen sekä karjan läsnäoloon, jotka voivat parantaa lintujen ruokailuolosuhteita sekä lisätä turvallisuutta. Kokonaiskustannukset paljastivat että naurulokki ja puolisukeltajasorsat hyötyivät hoitotoimista kokonaisuutena, sillä ne eivät poikenneet muista killoista yksittäisiä hoitotoimia tarkasteltaessa. Vähiten hyötyivät sukeltajasorsat sekä kalansyöjävesilinnut. Tutkimus osoittaa, että hoitotoimilla voidaan parantaa taantuneiden kosteikkolintujen elinolosuhteita. Koska hoitokohteet ovat Etelä-Suomen parhaimpia lintuvesiä, on hoitotoimien biologinen merkitys suuri. Vaikutukset eivät ole pelkästään kansalliset, vaan kunnostuksesta hyötyvät Suomenlahden muuttoreittiä pitkin pohjoiseen muuttavat kosteikkolinnut –aina Siperiaan asti. Yksi tärkeimmistä huomioista on, että hoidon loputtua kosteikkojen tila heikkenee. Hoitoa tulisi jatkaa, jottei saatuja hyötyjä menetettäisi. Tulevaisuudessa olisi tärkeää suunnitella mittavat hoitotoimet myös tutkimuksen kannalta, jolloin hoitotoimien vaikutuksia voitaisiin tutkia tarkemmin. Tärkeää olisi löytää keinot sukeltajasorsien ja kalansyöjien elinolojen parantamiseksi.
  • Pakarinen, Suvi (2011)
    The relationship between hosts and parasites is one of the most studied interactions between living organisms, and it is both universal and common in nature. Parasitoids are special type of parasites whose offspring develop attached to or within a single host organism that it ultimately consumes and kills. Hosts are arthropods and most parasitoids belong to the insect order Hymenoptera. For almost two decades metapopulation research on the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia) has been conducted in the Åland Islands, Finland. The studies have been concerned with the population dynamics, evolution, genetics, behavior, natural history and life history characteristics of M. cinxia, as well as with species interacting with the butterfly. The parasitoids of M. cinxia have been under long term studies and much has been learned about specific host-parasitoid interactions during the past decade. The research for this Master s thesis was done in the Åland Islands during summer 2010. I conducted a reciprocal transplant style experiment in order to compare the performance of host butterflies (M. cinxia) under attack by different parasitoid wasps (C. melitaearum). I used hosts and parasitoids from five origins around the Baltic Sea: Öland, Uppland, Åland, Saaremaa and Pikku-Tytärsaari. The host-parasitoid relationship was studied in terms of host susceptibility and parasitoid virulence, addressing specifically the possible effects of inbreeding and local adaptation of both parasitoids and their hosts. I compared various factors such as host defence ratio, parasitoid development rate, cocoon production rate etc. I also conducted a small scale C. melitaearum egg development experiment and C. melitaearum external morphology comparison between different parasitoid populations. The results show that host resistance and parasitoid virulence differ between both host and parasitoid populations. For example, Åland hosts were most susceptible to parasitoids and especially vulnerable to Pikku-Tytärsaari wasps. Pikku-Tytärsaari wasps were most successful in terms of parasitoids virulence and efficiency except in Saaremaa hosts, where the wasp did not succeed. Saaremaa hosts were resistant except towards Åland parasitoids. I did not find any simple pattern concerning host resistance and parasitoid virulence between inbred and outbred populations. Also, the effect of local adaptation was not detected, perhaps because metapopulation processes disturb local adaptation of the studied populations. Morphological comparisons showed differences between studied wasp populations and sexual dimorphism was obvious with females being bigger that males. There were also interesting differences among populations in male and female wing shapes. The results raise many further questions. Especially interesting were Pikku-Tytärsaari wasps that did well in terms of efficiency and virulence. Pikku-Tytärsaari is a small, isolated island in the Gulf of Finland and both the host and parasitoids are extremely inbred. For the host and parasitoid to persist in the island, the host has to have some mechanisms to escape the parasitoid. Further research will be done on the subject to discover the mechanisms of Pikku-Tytärsaari host s ability to escape parasitism. Also, genetic analyses will be conducted in the near future to determine the relatedness of used C. melitaearum populations.
  • Pezzutto, Denise (2019)
    Antimicrobial resistance is an emerging concern at the global scale, threatening the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating bacterial infections. Among anthropogenically impacted environments, wastewater treatment plants have been indicated as possible reservoirs of antibiotic resistance genes, putative hotspots for their horizontal gene transfer, and a source of their dissemination to the environment. Generally, the abundance of antibiotic resistance genes is reduced during the wastewater treatment process. However, some genes were shown to be enriched in purified effluent water and dried sludge, which are then released to the environment, compared to influent water. Also, the taxonomy of the hosts carrying antibiotic resistance genes could change as a result of horizontal gene transfer events. The aim of this study was to analyse and compare the host range of a series of antibiotic resistance genes in influent water, effluent water and dried sludge collected from the Viikinmäki wastewater treatment plant in Helsinki, Finland, by applying Emulsion, Paired Isolation and Concatenation PCR (epicPCR). EpicPCR is a method that can link a gene of interest to the 16S rRNA gene from the genome of the host bacterium, without any cultivation step. The abundance of the hosts was also evaluated by sequencing the 16S rRNA gene from the whole bacterial community. In several cases, the target antibiotic resistance genes (blaIMP, blaNDM, ermB, ermF, sul1 and strB) were carried in effluent water and dried sludge by taxa that were not hosting them in influent water, suggesting that horizontal gene transfer events might have occurred during the treatment. All the examined genes were detected both in abundant and in rare taxa, including genera that also comprise pathogenic species, such as Arcobacter and Acinetobacter. Some of the detected hosts were not previously known to show resistant phenotypes, namely members of the family Methylophilaceae. These results corroborate the idea that wastewater treatment plants might be hotspots for the horizontal gene transfer of resistance determinants, and potentially disseminate antibiotic resistant pathogens to the environment. However, in order to ensure the accuracy of the results, the limits of epicPCR as a method need to be identified and addressed.
  • Villon, Esmeralda (2024)
    Flight collisions with buildings contribute to a significant proportion of human-related bird mortalities globally. However, the global scope of this phenomenon remains poorly studied and little is known about the vulnerability of European bird populations to glass collisions. Here I investigate the impact of bird-window collisions (BWCs) on bird populations in Finland by analyzing long-term ringed-bird data and complementing it with empirical findings from an on-site survey in an urban area. Specifically, I aimed to discern spatiotemporal and ecological patterns in collisions over the past 50 years at both national and local scales. I found that based on ringing recoveries, the probability of detecting collisions has decreased over time and there are distinct seasonal patterns, with collisions peaking during the spring and fall seasons. Most collisions have occurred in urban areas, with collision densities decreasing with degrees of urbanization. Notably, the White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos), an endangered species in Finland, emerged as the most vulnerable species. Moreover, young, first-year birds collide at higher rates than adults, and habitat preference and foraging strata significantly influence species-specific collision risks. Specifically, species with open and aquatic habitat preferences collide at lower rates than species favoring urban and forested areas, while water-foraging birds collide less than species foraging at low and high levels. In my case study in Helsinki, I found 42 collisions over 21 days, with the House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), another endangered species in Finland, being the most common collider. A positive correlation was identified between site-specific collision rates and glass area, while vegetation cover had no significant effect on collisions. These findings shed light on critical species, temporal variations, and urban factors influencing BWCs at a national level, representing a crucial step in understanding and monitoring the threat posed by glass to Finland’s bird population. I propose a standardized survey procedure to further understand the extent of this issue in Finland, which will be essential in developing efforts to mitigate the adverse impact of human activities on wildlife.
  • Rissanen, Jason (2020)
    Ants are among the most successful organisms in the world. They can be found almost anywhere on the planet and due to their high degree of sociality and complex societies they have become some of the most abundant creatures in most terrestrial ecosystems. Although sociality has benefits in the form of more efficient foraging, brood care, reproduction and protection from predators, it has costs too. Ants live in high densities in their nests and have frequent contact between them which can facilitate an efficient transmission of pathogens within the nest. Ants have become highly successful in spite of their potentially high susceptibility to pathogens. They share the same innate immune responses of other arthropods and have unique adaptations for coping with pathogens. In extension to physiological strategies for coping with pathogens, ants engage in behavioural strategies as well. Ants and other eusocial insects can also harness the structure and behaviour of the colony to prevent and cope with pathogen infections through social immunity. Ants can also engage in self-medication behaviour to combat disease. Self-medication is a behavioural strategy where individuals respond to pathogen infections by seeking out and using biologically active compounds to alleviate the effects of pathogens in a way that would be detrimental for uninfected individuals. The behaviour can be either therapeutic of prophylactic depending on when the compounds are used in relation to encountering the pathogen, and it can be extended beyond the self to other kin. While ants have been proven to medicate themselves with reactive oxygen species (ROS) in laboratory conditions, it remains unknown how they do it in the wild. In my thesis, I studied how the ant Lasius platythorax self-medicate in a natural setting by developing a multi-trophic system of ant – pathogen – aphid – plant interactions. In this system, the ants infected with a fungal pathogen (Beauveria bassiana) had the opportunity to forage on the nectar produced by the extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) of a broad bean plant (Vicia faba) infested by vetch aphids (Megoura viciae). Plants that are stressed by aphids react with a systemic production of ROS, which ants are known to use for self-medication, and ROS could therefore be present in the EFN nectar as well, along with other potentially medicinal compounds. The aphids themselves could present the ants with both ROS, if it accumulates in the aphids due to the immune responses of the plant, and protein if eaten. In my thesis I found out that infected ants increase their foraging on EFN nectar during the first three days after infection compared to healthy ants. This immediate response to a pathogen infection shown by the infected ants fits in a self-medication context as well as the infection cycle of the pathogen, making this a strong case for self-medication. The change in foraging by the infected ants did not reflect on the changes in ROS content in the ants, possibly due to a lack of ROS in the nectar, but instead were likely to be caused by self-generation of ROS in the infected ants. The aphids feeding on the plant contained a higher ROS content compared to the ants, but I found no evidence of ants preying on the aphids, possibly due to the M. viciae being unpalatable for the ants or the ants finding medicinal compounds in the EFN nectar. The result of my thesis is a first step in to identifying natural ways for ants to obtain and use medicinal compounds from their environments and opens up new avenues of research in the topic of self-medication. The result also highlights the importance of biodiversity for the conservation efforts for ants and other insects. Insects are facing a drastic decline in both abundance and diversity due to human impact on their environments, including the prevalence in pathogens. By understanding the full extent of the immune strategies that insects use, including self-medication, we can develop more efficient methods of conservation to help them.
  • Armeni, Nicholas (2023)
    During this study I examined the roles that resource diversity and trophic complexity play in the emergence and maintenance of biodiversity (ecological complexity) via the use of the evolutionary software Avida. I found a positive relationship between resource diversity and ecological complexity as would be expected from previous studies. However, a trade off was observed between ecological complexity and resource diversity, following the principle of diminishing returns. I also showed that trophic complexity exhibited a positive relationship with ecological complexity echoing what was described in previous studies. However, this increase in ecological complexity resulted in an increase in competition which slowed down the accumulation of higher resources which in-turn affected the emergence of higher-level functions. This study further suggests that an increase in ecological complexity results in an increase in ecosystem stability, however more rigorous measures are needed to fully establish this link. Despite, the inherent abstractions that are present in the Avida system, it has provided valuable insights into the relationships between these ecological factors. The findings suggest that there is need for more future studies possibly looking at the resilience and recovery of these ecosystems as this would be critical for understanding and addressing the current biodiversity crisis.
  • Korpela, Johanna (2024)
    The demand for CO2-free electricity will grow in the future, which is expected to lead to an increase in onshore wind power capacity. Like all energy forms, wind power can have negative impacts on the environment, which can pose different risks for wind power companies. Several companies that have wind power in their portfolio have recently committed to biodiversity targets, typically aiming for no net loss or net positive impact on biodiversity. These targets are expected to be a possible avenue for competitive advantage, however, there is a research gap on whether biodiversity considerations can bring competitive advantage to companies. In my research, executed as a paid assignment for Fortum Renewables Oy, I examine wind power investors’ perceptions of biodiversity targets and whether they perceive that the targets can bring competitive advantage to wind power companies. In this thesis, I aim to provide answers to three primary research questions: 1) How do investors manage their investments’ biodiversity impacts? 2) Can setting biodiversity targets bring competitive advantage to wind power companies? and 3) What kind of biodiversity targets do investors value? For this research I interviewed investors known to invest in onshore wind power in Finland. I conducted seven interviews with eight informants, including both finance and sustainability professionals, representing seven different investors. I analysed the interview data using inductive thematic analysis provided by Braun and Clarke (2006). My research found that investors identify several possibilities for both risk mitigation and competitive advantage, which can be achieved through good biodiversity management. Thus, investors see value in biodiversity considerations, such as biodiversity targets. Simultaneously, investors recognised several issues regarding these targets, which hinder achieving competitive advantage through them. The findings of my research may prove useful both for companies that have or aim to set biodiversity targets and investors wanting to manage their investments’ biodiversity impacts.
  • Selanniemi, Patrick (2023)
    Forests cover around a third of the world's terrestrial surface. In addition to providing habitat for many of the world's animals and plants, they are also significant carbon sinks making them instrumental in curbing climate change. Protected areas (PA) are a common tool for conserving natural habitats and are a cornerstone in many conservation strategies because they establish zones free from human interventions and allow natural processes to thrive. Global conservation targets of land covered by PA have been reached with varying degrees of success, often limited by lack of political will, monetary funding, or over-ambitious targets. Additionally, the conservation effectiveness of established PA is also less than expected. Two large contributors to such failures are conservation funding and governance within each country, although such relationships have not been duly studied. In this study I assess how funding and governance relate to the effectiveness of PAs as measured through the magnitude of deforestation between 2001 and 2010. I question whether there are trade-offs between investing in expanding the protected area network and securing the protection of already established reserves through a geospatial analysis of open-source datasets of 34 countries. By comparing relative deforestation inside and outside protected areas I defined a conservation effectiveness response variable and built a model comparing the response variable with conservation funding (expressed as annual average funding for biodiversity) and governance (corruption), while controlling for overall amounts of deforestation and forest cover on a national scale. Furthermore, I explored the relationship between the expansion of PAs in each country during the same period and the observed deforestation. The results show a relationship between conservation effectiveness, governance (p=0.0706) and funding (p=0.0608), were increases in the funding and/or governance variables resulted in better conservation effectiveness. Additionally, conservation effectiveness was found to be higher in countries with better governance but the same level of funding. Furthermore, while governance was found to positively correlated with conservation effectiveness across all levels of governance, funding had a positive impact on conservation effectiveness only after a certain amount of funding was reached. No association between protected area expansion and conservation effectiveness was found indicating the absence of a trade-off. This study highlights the importance of allocating appropriate levels of financing needed for successful conservation efforts and how good governance is a prerequisite for achieving conservation outcomes. This is especially important in light of the new 2030 biodiversity targets that commit large parts of the global south to expand their PA networks with limited amounts of funding.
  • Lummepuro, Iina (2024)
    Social media influencers are called the opinion leaders of our time, as they have a lot of power over what peo- ple think and consume. Various sustainability actors expect that influencers take a strong role in the transfor- mation towards sustainability. In my thesis I examine, how do the reactions of the influencers’ followers and the perceived sense of responsibility and power of the influencer affect the way influencers share content on sustainability. In my research I also consider how different influencers receive differing responses to content related to sustainability. My analysis consists of interviews with six Finnish social media influencers. I conducted 5 semi-structured in- terviews, and received one written answer to the interview questions. I used thematic analysis as the analysis method in my research. The themes that arose from the interview data and from previous research are relation- ality between the influencer and their followers, connection between followers’ reactions and influencers’ sus- tainability content and the perceived sense of power and responsibility of the influencer. Three influencer profiles were created based on the interview data. The profiles describe different types of in- fluencers with different, specific audiences. The profiles demonstrate how different audiences respond to con- tent related to sustainability in different ways, how different influencers share sustainability content in different ways, and how influencers perceive their responsibility in different ways. My research shows that both the reac- tions of the followers and the perceived sense of responsibility of the influencer affect how an influencer shares content on sustainability. According to my research, the influencer's perceived power does not affect content shared on sustainability. This study contributes to the understanding of the issues that affect influencers’ behavior in sharing sustainabil- ity-related content. With this knowledge, it is possible to move closer to understanding whether influencers can be part of the change towards a more sustainable future. shared on sustainability. This study contributes to the understanding of the issues that affect influencers’ behavior in sharing sustainabil- ity-related content. With this knowledge, it is possible to move closer to understanding whether influencers can be part of the change towards a more sustainable future.
  • Retez, Gabriele (2021)
    After drastic declines in large carnivores’ populations globally, conservation efforts have been successful, and predators’ populations are in recovery. However, their comeback has led to new interactions with locals, generating different conflicts. Two main approaches have been considered to mitigate these conflicts, those being the land sparing and land sharing models, however, the land sparing model requires great extents of protected areas, areas that in Europe are missing, therefore forcing a call for the land sharing model. In Finland, this approach has generated debates among different stakeholders, the outcomes of this debate shaping the fate for the four species: brown bear (Ursus arctos), grey wolf (Canis lupus), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) and wolverine (Gulo gulo). Attitudes towards those species can be used to explore the drivers of the conflicts, however, only few studies have explored this context, considering the ecological and social dimension separately. In addition, the ecotourism industry has been recently recognized as a new stakeholder in the Finnish large carnivore’s context, but the effects of its activities were assessed only ecologically. Therefore, with this study I aimed to explore the attitudes of locals from a specific region of Finland towards the four large carnivores’ species, and to assess the different drivers of those species, through a combination of field questionnaires, social variables and large carnivores’ population data. I explored potential correlates of the differences in attitudes, adding also the spatial effect of ecotourism over the socio-ecological factors. I predicted attitudes to vary among species, having on one side the brown bear with positive attitudes, in contrast the wolf with negative attitudes, while neutral attitudes towards the lynx and wolverine. I also expected to find more negative attitudes in smaller localities rather than in localities with a greater human population density. Also, I explored whether the ecotourism activities have a positive or negative effect over the locals’ attitude towards carnivores, expecting the ecotourism industry to bring positive attitudes in nearby localities. As result, attitudes towards the four different species varied significantly, the attitudes towards each different species having different drivers, with the human population size being important for wolverines and wolves, while the status for bear and lynx populations. The ecotourism had an effect only on bear attitudes, being positively correlated (closer the ecotourism activities were, more positive the attitudes are). To mitigate the large carnivores-human conflict in Finland, a community approach is not the solution, since the different origins of the attitudes ‘drivers. However, the attitudes among species are positively correlated, consequently, by ameliorate the attitudes towards one species, also the others will benefit. Finally, by inducing a proper management within the ecotourism industry and promoting more the respective activity on a national level, the ecotourism can have a positive impact and get a positive role in the Finnish conflict.
  • Ahonen, Veronica (2019)
    Permafrost peatlands have the capacity to store significant amounts of carbon, and thus they act as important controllers of the climate. Approximately 14% of the world’s soil organic carbon pool is stored in permafrost peatlands, which are sensitive to climatic fluctuations due to their location in the high latitudes of the subarctic zone. Permafrost peatlands also act as a habitat for a large number of moisture-sensitive organisms, such as bryophytes and testate amoebae, which can be used to study how the hydrology of peatlands has changed and will continue to change throughout time, giving us an opportunity to predict the future of peatlands under a changing climate. In this Master’s Thesis I examined the testate amoebae composition and used these species as indicators to study hydrological fluctuations from three subarctic permafrost peatland cores extracted from Taavavuoma and Abisko in northern Sweden. The species compositions were combined with radiocarbon (14C) and lead (210Pb) dates to reconstruct the past water table levels for the late Holocene, spanning four climatic periods. The reconstructions were then compared to past studies on testate amoebae to understand how permafrost peatlands and their species assemblages respond to changes in the hydrology of the active layer of the peat. Out of the study sites only the Taavavuoma cores spanned the Dark Age Cold Period (DACP) and Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA). Species compositions in both cores indicated fluctuating water tables during the DACP, but during the MCA the results began to contradict with one site showing a wetter, and the other a drier MCA. Two out of three study sites indicated a wetter Little Ice Age and a drier Post-Industrial Warming, supporting past studies indicating similar results, whereas one study site gave opposite results. The results indicated large variability in testate amoebae assemblages throughout time, indicating that the hydrology of peatlands can change very abruptly and vary considerably even on a local scale. Modelling is however complicated by the poorly known ecology of testate amoebae, which is why a multi-proxy approach is essential to reliably predict the future fate of permafrost peatlands.
  • Boxström, Agneta (2021)
    Abstract: Northern boreal peatlands form one of the biggest carbon pools in the biosphere, thus having great potential to cause major changes to the global carbon cycle. The ongoing recent warming may affect the carbon dynamics though factors, such as, vegetation, hydrology and permafrost balance. As the future is still uncertain there are no definitive answers on how the peatlands will react in the future. Fortunately, moisture sensitive organisms such as, bryophytes and testate amoeba is preserved in the peat and can therefore be used to reconstruct past climatic shifts. In this thesis I studied palaeohydrology and peat accumulation over the last two millennia, from three peat cores originating in a permafrost peatland in Rogovaya, Russia. I used testate amoeba as a proxy of past moisture conditions and plotted the taxa composition of each core against 14C and 210Pb dated samples, to reconstruct past moisture shifts. The results were also supplemented by plant macrofossil and carbon accumulation data for more robust results. Of the three cores, Rog11 provided the oldest testate amoeba dataset by reaching the Dark Ages Cold Period. During this period there were indications of dry moisture conditions followed by a wet Medieval Warm Period. The Little Ice Age gave indications of a drying trend, while toward the end of the LIA Rog8 indicated opposite moisture conditions. From the end of the LIA onwards a general trend of drying and increased carbon accumulated is noted. Yet, during the last decade the trend has turned. The wet shift might indicate that the threshold for the peatland has been reached and the amount of melting permafrost has exceeded the evapotranspiration rate. As a conclusion my result indicates that the dynamics of both hydrology and carbon are complicated processes affected by both autogenic and allogenic factors, therefore causing large variability even on a local scale. The absence of widely spread observations of the most recent wet shift also indicates that the response of the peatland to the recent warming might be unequal. To rectify this situation, continued research is crucial, so that we can increase our understanding of climate-peatland interactions.
  • Sahlberg, Ilse (2020)
    The crops, pollinator species and the agricultural conditions in the Northern agricultural district differ from those in most other areas. For example, in Finland the importance of insect pollination hasn't been researched very broadly. The oil plant widely cultivated in Finland, turnip rape (Brassica rapa subsp. Oleifera) has been discovered to benefit from insect pollination. The aim of this study is to examine whether the yield is different with turnip rapes where insect pollination is free or prevented, and how pollinator species and the number of flower visits affect the turnip rape yield. The study was mainly conducted in July 2017 on field parcels in Uusimaa. In the turnip rape fields, different pollinators and their visits in turnip rape flowers were monitored. To prevent insect pollination, the turnip rapes were covered with gauze bags before flowering began so that several plants came into one bag. This allowed cross-pollination. The total number of flower visits by pollinators was linked to the number of racemes and seeds of the plant: insect pollination decreased the number of racemes and increased the number of seeds per plant. The honeybees and hoverflies were a major group of pollinators explaining the turnip rape yield. Openly pollinated turnip rapes contained fewer racemes and more siliques and seeds per silique than enclosed plants. In addition, the weight of the seeds was higher In this study, it was discovered that there are differences between diverse pollinator species groups when it comes to pollination efficiency. It is still not clear how exactly the diversity of pollinator species affects pollination. Several studies show that after a certain threshold, flower visits by honey bees no more have an increasing effect on crop yields. Thus, other pollinators are also needed for optimal pollination. This study especially highlighted the significance of wild pollinators in pollinating crop plants. There seems to be demand for long-term monitoring of the pollination efficiency of different pollinator groups in the northern agricultural region
  • Kinnari, Karoliina (2023)
    Eläinten hyvinvoinnin parantamiseen tarvitaan paljon tieteellistä tutkimusta tunteista, älykkyydestä ja lajikohtaisista tarpeista. Tiedon pohjalta pystytään vertaamaan ja kehittämään eläinten tarpeisiin soveltuvia olosuhteita, kuten esimerkiksi virikkeitä ja hoitomuotoja eläintarhoissa. Eläintarhaolosuhteissa eläimen hyvinvoinnin saavuttaminen vaatii kompromisseja tilan ja resurssien rajallisuuden vuoksi. Parhaimman kompromissin löytämiseen vaaditaan tieteellistä tietoa lajikohtaisesta hyvinvoinnista. Maisterintutkielman tarkoituksena oli tuottaa tieteelliseen tietoon perustuva arvio Korkeasaaren eläintarhassa valittujen lajien hyvinvoinnista, jotka olivat huulipekari (Tayassu pecari), pikkumarmosetti (Cebuella pygmaea), punaniskakenguru (Macropus rufogriseus) ja sinikurkkuara (Ara glaucogularis). Tavoitteena oli tunnistaa tekijät, jotka vaikuttavat kyseisten eläinten hyvinvointiin luonnossa, ja verrata niitä eläintarhassa olevien yksilöiden olosuhteisiin. Tämän avulla pystyttiin arvioimaan lajikohtaiset tarpeet, joita tarvitaan eläinten hyvinvoinnin saavuttamiseksi. Vertasin hyvinvointiarvioitani tutkittavien lajien hoitajien tekemiin arvioihin, minkä tarkoituksena oli ymmärtää, riippuuko hyvinvoinnin arvio arvioijan näkökulmasta, ja onko lajien välillä eroja siinä, mihin seikkoihin arvioitsijat kiinnittävät huomiota. Arviointeja vertailemalla oli myös tarkoitus löytää tekijöitä, joilla on vaikutusta lajikohtaiseen hyvinvointiin Korkeasaaressa, minkä pohjalta voidaan ymmärtää ja kehittää mahdollisia hyvinvointia edistäviä toimenpiteitä. Toteutin tutkielman eri osioissa. Ensin suoritin kirjallisuuskatsauksen, jonka tarkoituksena oli määrittää tutkittavien lajien käyttäytyminen ja hyvinvoinnin tarpeet tieteellisten tutkimuksien avulla. Seuraavaksi selvitin eläinten olosuhteet Korkeasaaressa aitauksien kuvaamisen, tarkastelun ja hoitajien haastattelujen avulla. Tämän jälkeen tein hyvinvointikartoitukset, joita verrattiin tutkittavien eläinten hoitajien vastaaviin tilastollisesti. Hoitajat arvioivat lajien hyvinvoinnin aina paremmaksi kuin minä, ja erot arvioinneissa olivat suuria. Johtopäätöksenä voidaan pitää, että suora vertailu luonnonympäristöön voi johtaa huomattavasti alhaisempiin hyvinvointiarvioihin. Tällainen on esimerkiksi trooppisen ilmaston vertailu Suomen vuodenaikaisvaihteluun, vaikka eläimillä olisi aina mahdollisuus suotuisiin lämpö- ja valaistusolosuhteisiin. Hyvinvoinnin osa-alueiden välillä ei ollut merkittäviä eroja. Huomattavaa on, että hoitajat arvioivat samalla myös paitsi eläimen olosuhteita, myös omaa onnistumistaan niiden hoidossa. Tämä voi vaikuttaa siihen, että yksikään laji ei saanut hoitajilta yhtään 1-arviota, kun taas minulla oli objektiivisempi ote arviointiin, sillä kritiikki ei kohdistunut minuun edes välillisesti.
  • Ojalehto, Tuomas (2016)
    Proteins responsible for homologous recombination are collectively called recombinases. They also have an important role in maintaining genome integrity. Recombinases are found in all three kingdoms of life. The first identified and characterized recombinase was RecA from Escherichia coli. Recombinases exhibit ATP hydrolysis coupled DNA-binding activity and strand exchange activities during homologous recombination. Homologous recombination produces new genetic combinations for evolution and general way to describe the different steps of homologous recombination is a DSBR model. Homologous recombination occurs in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells during meiosis crossover and horizontal gene transfer, respectively. The homologous recombination machineries are remarkably complex and synergistic and much is not known about detailed mechanisms for a majority of the species. More recently, recombinases have been used in isothermal nucleic acid amplification methods, mainly in recombinase polymerase amplification RPA and strand invasion based amplification SIBA. The aim of this study was to identify, clone, produce and analyze the functionality of novel recombinases from bacteria and viruses. The acitivity for single-stranded DNA binding and strand exchange was studied. The compatibility of the produced recombinases in strand invasion based amplification SIBA method was evaluated. Two recombinases from Enterobacteria phages T2 and RB69 were found to be functional and compatible in three SIBA assays.
  • Varis, Vera (2020)
    Protein kinases are signaling molecules that regulate vital cellular and biological processes by phosphorylating cellular proteins. Kinases are linked to variety of diseases such as cancer, immune deficiencies and degenerative diseases. This thesis work aimed to identify direct substrates for protein kinases in the CMGC family, which consists of the cyclin-depended kinases (CDK), mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPK), glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) and CDC-like kinases (CLK). CMGC kinases have been identified as cancer hubs in interactome studies, but large-scale identification of direct substrates has been difficult due to the lack of efficient methods. Here, we present a heavy-labeled 18O-ATP-based kinase assay combined with LC-MS/MS analysis for direct substrate identification. In the assay, HEK and HeLa cell lysates are treated with a pan-kinase inhibitor FSBA which irreversibly blocks endogenous kinases. After the removal of FSBA, cell lysates are incubated with the kinase of interest and a heavy-labeled ATP, which contains 18O isotope at the γ-phosphate position. Resulting phosphopeptides are enriched with Ti4+- IMAC before the LC-MS/MS analysis, which distinguishes the desired phosphorylation events based on a mass shift caused by the heavy 18O. With this pipeline of methods, we managed to quantify and identify direct substrates for 26 members of CMGC kinase family. A total of 1345 substrates and 3841 interacting kinase-substrate pairs were identified in cytosolic cell lysates, from which 165 were annotated in the PhosphoSitePlus® database. To identify substrates for kinases with nuclear localization, ten kinases were tested with nuclear HEK cell lysate. We identified 194 kinase-substrate pairs, 141 of which were unique to the nuclear fraction and 27 annotated in the PhosphoSitePlus® database. Finally, kinases with outstandingly high amounts of novel substrates were subjected to gene ontology analysis. We were able to link the gene ontology classifications of novel substrates to the biological processes regulated by the kinase of interest. These results indicate that heavy-labeled 18O-ATP-based kinase assay linked LC-MS/MS is a useful tool for large-scale direct kinase substrate identification.
  • Domènech Moreno, Eva (2017)
    In this Master’s project, I have studied a mammalian serine-threonine kinase NUAK2 implicated in human disease but whose molecular functions and interacting proteins are as of yet poorly characterized. The goal was to identify new interacting proteins to increase understanding of the molecular functions and potentially link to human physiology and disease. Recent work from the host lab shows NUAK2 loss in cultured primary cells mimics loss of the tumor suppressor LKB1 which also acts upstream of NUAK2, together suggesting NUAK2 could be involved in tumor suppression. Currently, only two protein-protein interacting proteins with NUAK2 have been identified: NUAK2 is targeted to actin stress fibers by the myosin phosphatase Rho-interacting protein (MRIP), and it is involved in regulating cell contractility by affecting indirectly the phosphorylation cycle of the myosin light chain through inactivation of the myosin phosphatase target subunit 1 (MYPT1). In this project, I utilized a novel protein-protein interaction screening method that utilizes proximity-dependent biotin labeling to identify new interacting proteins with NUAK2 in human embryonic kidney cells (HEK 293). This method is based on fusing an E.Coli promiscuous biotin ligase, BirA*(R118G), to the investigated protein. The BirA*(R118G) ligase biotinylates all the proteins in close proximity of the fusion protein creating a history of protein-protein associations over time. Afterwards, the biotinylated proteins can be isolated by affinity purification methods and identified by mass-spectrometry. The screening identified the previously known interaction partners of NUAK2 indicating it was technically successful. In addition, I also identified in total 108 novel potential protein interaction partners for NUAK2. One of the top hits was Cytospin-A, a cross-linking protein between microtubules and actin cytoskeleton, supporting a role of NUAK2 as regulator of cytoskeleton. Supporting the validity of our finding, Cytospin-A depletion in mammalian cells causes defective actin-cytoskeleton reorganization, a very similar phenotype seen with NUAK2 depletion. In future studies, I will continue to investigate the specific role of NUAK2 and Cytospin-A aiming for detailed information on the function of NUAK2 in regulation of microtubules and actin cytoskeleton. Validation of some of the other identified interactions is expected to provide novel insights to the biology and role of NUAK2 in LKB1 tumor suppressor functions.
  • Huusari, Anna (2018)
    Plants control the exchange of gases through the stomatal pores. Stomata are formed by guard cells and the closure of stomata are regulated via a complex signaling network in response to various biotic and abiotic stimuli, such as pathogens, elevated levels of CO2 and darkness. The leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase (LRR-RLK) GUARD CELL HYDROGEN PEROXIDE-RESISTANT1 (GHR1) is part of the network regulating stomatal closure. GHR1 is an inaktive pseudokinase that can activate SLOW ANION CHANNEL-ASSOCIATED1 (SLAC1), an anion channel that is crucial for stomatal closure, via interacting proteins. The exact role of GHR1 is still partly unknown, however, it has been suggested that GHR1 could function as a scaffold or as an allosteric regulator of additional components required for stomatal closure. The aim of this study was to identify novel interactors of GHR1. First stable plant lines expressing fusion proteins GHR1-YFP, GHR1W799*-YFP and plain YFP as a negative control were generated and from these lines fusion protein expression levels and the subcellular localization were studied. Next the plant lines were used for purifying GHR1 interacting proteins with the use of co-immunoprecipitation and identification of the proteins with mass spectrometry. The unlikely GHR1 interactor candidates were then filtered from the mass spectrometry data. The subcellular localization and the protein expression of the interacting proteins were studied with the use of internet databases. Literature of the GHR1 interacting proteins were studied in order to make possible connections with GHR1 and stomatal closure. In this study 38 GHR1 interactors were identified. Literature search revealed that many of the identified interactors had a known role in stomatal movements. These included proteins such as PLASMA MEMBRANE INTRINSIC PROTEIN2-1 (PIP2-1) and BETA CARBONIC ANHYDRASE 4 (BCA4), that are known to have a role in stomatal closure. Future work includes confirming the interactions with independent methods and studying the molecular mechanisms related to stomatal movements. The GHR1 interactome identified here for the first time reveals novel parts of the network regulating stomatal movements and thus increases our understanding of molecular mechanisms behind stomatal functions.