Marttiina Rantala

Contact: marttiina.rantala<at>

Research interests

My research focuses on the manifold effects of global change on arctic and perialpine lake environments. Exploration of shifts in ecological structures at the base of the aquatic food web and their connections to biogeochemical cycles, particularly the carbon cycle, is at the heart of my work. Interplay between the aquatic (mainly lacustrine), terrestrial, and atmospheric realms is another pervading theme in my research, pertaining to the relative importance of direct versus indirect climate forcing on lakes. I am further interested in the interactive effects of local and global human pressures on freshwater ecosystems and associated implications for water management. I employ primarily the paleolimnological approach in my work to elucidate patterns and processes operating at time scales from decades to millennia, while I am keen to combine the long term perspective with contemporary and experimental approaches. For these aims, I utilize an array of paleobiological, geochemical, and spectral tools, such as diatom analysis, carbon and nitrogen stable isotopic fingerprints, and carbon photochemistry.



I carried out my doctoral degree at the Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Finland, between January 2014 and June 2017, focusing on spatial and temporal aquatic carbon variability at the Fennoscandian subarctic. From January to August 2018, I worked as a post doc at the Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, University of Helsinki, delving into aquatic carbon processing and underwater optical environment combining experimental and paleolimnological techniques. As of September 2018, I began a post doc project at the Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, to expand my focus from small and shallow arctic freshwaters to large deep perialpine lake systems, with new perspectives on aquatic carbon cycling.





Luoto T.P., Rantala, M.V., Kivilä E.H., Nevalainen L., Ojala A.E.K. Biogeochemical cycling and ecological thresholds in a High Arctic lake (Svalbard). Submitted to Biogeochemistry.

Kivilä E.H., Luoto T.P., Rantala M.V. & Nevalainen L. Long-term variability in chironomid functional assemblages and carbon utilization in a tundra lake food web. Submitted to Functional Ecology.

Kivilä E.H., Luoto T.P., Rantala M.V., Kiljunen M., Rautio M. & Nevalainen L. Environmental controls on benthic food web functions and carbon resource utilization in subarctic lakes. Submitted to Freshwater Biology.



Luoto T.P., Rantala M.V., Kivilä H. & Nevalainen L. (2018) Recent changes in chironomid communities and hypolimnetic oxygen conditions relate to organic carbon in subarctic ecotonal lakes. Science of the Total Environment. DOI:

Nevalainen L., Rantala M.V., Rautio M. & Luoto T.P. (2018) Spatio-temporal cladoceran (Branchiopoda) responses to climate change and UV radiation in subarctic ecotonal lakes. Journal of Biogeography 45, 1954–1965. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.13371



Luoto T.P., Rantala M.V. & Tammelin M. (2017) Tracking the limnoecological history of Lake Hiidenvesi (southern Finland) using the paleolimnological approach. Water, Air & Soil Pollution 228, 461. DOI:

Rantala M.V., Luoto T.P., Weckström J., Rautio M. & Nevalainen L. (2017) Climate drivers of diatom distribution in shallow subarctic lakes. Freshwater Biology 62, 1971–1985. DOI: 10.1111/fwb.13042

Luoto T.P., Kivilä E.H., Rantala M.V. & Nevalainen L. (2017) Characterization of the Medieval Climate Anomaly, Little Ice Age and recent warming in northern Lapland. International Journal of Climatology 37, 1257–1266. DOI: 10.1002/joc.5081



Luoto T.P., Rantala M.V., Galkin A., Rautio M. & Nevalainen L. (2016) Environmental determinants of chironomid communities in remote northern lakes across the treeline – Implications for climate change assessments. Ecological Indicators 61, 991–999. DOI:

Nevalainen L., Rantala M.V., Luoto T.P., Ojala A.E.K. & Rautio M. (2016) Long-term changes in pigmentation of arctic Daphnia provide potential for reconstructing aquatic UV exposure. Quaternary Science Reviews 144, 44–50. DOI:

Rantala M.V., Luoto T.P. & Nevalainen L. (2016) Temperature controls organic carbon sequestration in a subarctic lake. Scientific Reports 6, 34780. DOI: 10.1038/srep34780

Rantala M.V., Nevalainen L., Rautio M., Galkin A. & Luoto T.P. (2016) Sources and controls of organic carbon in lakes across the subarctic treeline. Biogeochemistry 129, 235–253. DOI 10.1007/s10533-016-0229-1



Nevalainen L., Luoto T.P., Rantala M.V., Galkin A. & Rautio M. (2015) Role of terrestrial carbon in aquatic UV exposure and photoprotective pigmentation of meiofauna in subarctic lakes. Freshwater Biology 60, 2435–2444. DOI: 10.1111/fwb.12670

Rantala M.V., Luoto T.P., Weckström J., Perga M-E., Rautio M. & Nevalainen L. (2015) Climate controls on the Holocene development of a subarctic lake in northern Fennoscandia. Quaternary Science Reviews 126, 175?185. DOI:

Nevalainen L., Rantala M.V. & Luoto T.P. (2015) Sedimentary cladoceran assemblages and their functional attributes record late Holocene climate variability in southern Finland. Journal of Paleolimnology 54, 239–252. DOI: 10.1007/s10933-015-9849-z

Rantala M.V., Luoto T.P. & Nevalainen L. (2015) Late Holocene changes in the humic state of a boreal lake and their associations with organic matter transport and climate dynamics. Biogeochemistry 123, 63?82. DOI: 10.1007/s10533-014-0053-4



Nevalainen L., Rantala M.V., Luoto T.P., Rautio M. & Ojala A.E.K. (2014) Ultraviolet radiation exposure of a high arctic lake in Svalbard during the Holocene. Boreas 44, 401?412. DOI: 10.1111/bor.12108