Introducing Annika

OK, it’s my turn to do the introduction. Well…actually, we pulled the straw and I was the last in line, but it turned out that Mariana is super busy finishing her thesis, so I get to do this before her.

Moving on to the point… So my name is Annika Vilmi and I’m from northern Finland. As this is a “professional” blog, I’ll start with academic stuff. Originally I’m a geographer. I received my BSc and MSc degrees (2010 and 2011) from the Geography Research Unit at University of Oulu, Finland. Recently I got my PhD degree (2017) in aquatic/plant ecology so I guess I’m also an ecologist now.

In the past few years, mainly due to my PhD research, I’ve studied how biological communities in freshwater systems are structured by natural processes and anthropogenic effects. How could I say this without sounding too lame… I really enjoy studying spatial patterns in biodiversity. They’re super interesting! A few years ago when I truly _understood_ the PCNM approach (by the amazing Borcard and Legendre 2002, and Borcard and company 2004), I was like “how cool is that”, and “whoa, they must be very intelligent”. But yeah, I sure hope to learn more such methods in the future.

So my PhD thesis was about freshwater biodiversity and how biological communities and indices are structured and formed, with an emphasis on different spatial contexts. To be precise, I studied bacteria, diatoms, macroinvertebrates and macrophytes. I found that the communities, frequently used for bioassessment and monitoring, more often showed  pure spatial patterns and were, less than anticipated, determined by local environment.

If you’re interested, you can find my thesis “Assessing freshwater biodiversity: insights from different spatial contexts, taxonomic groups and response metrics” here:

Oops…I forgot I should mention something not work-related. Hmm…if we’re at a conference and you’re tired of talking science, I’m always eager to chat about traveling, food and the latest Les Mills releases. That’s me in a nutshell. :’D

This is me on holiday at the Seychelles. I’m super pleased at the Aldabra giant turtle (Aldabrachelys gigantea) nursery on Curieuse Island. The giant tortoises were gathered from the Aldabra atoll and this is where they raise them! Species conservation on action. Sure, first the seamen and pirates killed all of them at Curieuse Island and nearby places…but now they’re coming back!


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