Some memories from Oikos Finland conference

Text and pics by Lauri Laanisto

100 Years of Finnish Ecology, Oikos Finland Conference for ecologists and evolutionary biologists, 31.01-01.02, University of Helsinki Main building, Helsinki, Finland (link to conference home page)

Ecological research in Finland apparently started 100 years ago. Back then, in 1917 Finland was still was part of Russian Empire as the Grand Duchy of Finland. These were quite  restless times, not to mention that 1917 was actually the ultimate year for the Russian Empire as such. One revolution happened in February, another one in October. Massive turmoil and anarchy. Finland declared independency in December and freshly formed Soviet Union recognized this independence on the 31st of December in 1917.

We rather curiously pondered about this starting point of ecology in Finland together with Maarja Öpik (also in EcolChange), who was also participating the meeting (she was invited to give a plenary lecture). But we could not imagine how this would have happened. Who had the time and motivation to start doing ecology for the first time in Finland?  Unfortunately there was nothing about it in the Abstract book, not it was even mentioned in the opening presentations. And as we were Estonians and other participants were mostly Finnish, then we obviously did not ask anybody about it…

I guess this might be something really elementary for the Finns, yet we in the neigbouring country do not have any idea about it – a nice reflection of how ecological phenomenons themselves tend to have high spatial variabilities.

Talking about patchiness – the conference was preceded by a special symposium commemorating the late Ilkka Hanski (1953-2016). This one-day event was the main reason why I participated this conference. As it happens, I´m currently translating Ilkka´s scientific testament “Messages from Islands” to Estonian.

And of course I had my matchbox pinhole camera with me. And here are some pictures I took during the trip to Helsinki.


Midnight is the best time to capture railway stations…


… as they start to glow in the dark.


I really liked the ceilings in different lecture halls in the main building of University of Helsinki, as you can see from the next few pictures.



After the conference we visited Ateneum, which currently had Modigliani exhibition.


Selfie in the Ateneum toilet. For sanitary reasons I held the camera in my mouth.


Ateneum toilets


View to the sculpures hall


Ateneum ceilings were nice as well…

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