Dr. Mustonen research fellowship will focus on Understanding a changing Arctic water cycle and its effects on northern freshwater ecosystems. Her research will leverage an interdisciplinary research team and program at Pallas National Park, in Arctic Finland lead by University of Oulu in collaboration with the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Metsähallitus, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), and the Finnish Natural Resources Institute (LUKE). The overall goal of her research is to elevate our understanding of how a changing Arctic water cycle is manifested in catchment water biochemical pathways and ecosystem processes sustained by stream microbial communities.
This research is of utmost importance today as rapid warming of the Arctic is shifting precipitation phases from snow to rain and changing the amount and location of frozen ground, which can further affect the availability, timing or quality of freshwater resources (i.e. hydrological processes). To truly understand what is driving the change of Arctic freshwater systems, we need to understand the interactions between stream water sources, dissolved organic matter and the spatial and temporal aspects of microbial community structure and function. Linking the water and carbon cycles in northern catchments is key to understanding the fundamental behavior of Arctic Finland today; while providing a framework for detecting changes in water-C interactions in the future.
Kaisa-Riikka is a member of Professor Welker’s Arctic Ecology and Biogeochemistry Research group and a member of the Ecology and Genetics Research Unit.