Laura Meller


    Research areas

  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology - conservation biology, conservation prioritization, biodiversity conservation, luonnonsuojelubiologia, biodiversiteetti, suojelualuesuunnittelu

Description of research and teaching

I started my PhD project "Strategies to make spatial conservation prioritization more robust against uncertainty" in 2011. Within the project, I will address uncertainty related to conservation planning at different levels, ranging from the distribution of biodiversity to societal responses to environmental change. With the results of my postgraduate research, I expect to provide meaningful tools for solving decision problems in conservation. The supervisors of my PhD are Dr. Mar Cabeza (Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki) and Dr. Wilfried Thuiller (Laboratory of Alpine Ecology, University of Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France).

I have been involved in the spatial conservation prioritization group (lead by Prof. Atte Moilanen and Dr. Mar Cabeza) within the Metapopulation Research Group since 2007. I have been working as a research assistant with various projects and tasks, ranging from literature reviews to running species distribution models to editing a user manual for the conservation prioritization software Zonation. I also completed my Master’s thesis "Species distribution models in conservation planning: the effect of species data extent and quality" in the group, supervised by Mar Cabeza and Anni Arponen.

Systematic conservation planning is a framework for identifying priority areas for biodiversity conservation. This rapidly developing field has provided tools for assessing and creating networks of protected areas that are representative in terms of biodiversity and provide adequate protection. Concern about the state of biodiversity and its impacts on the society has rapidly gained weight among political issues at the highest level, and actors involved in implementing conservation action indicate growing interest for using systematic conservation planning tools.

But conservation processes are hampered by uncertainty at different levels, which can hinder decision-making for effective conservation. Examples of uncertainties affecting conservation planning include
1) Missing information about current distribution of biodiversity features
2) What will be the future distribution of biodiversity features in a rapidly changing world
3) Societal development and responses to climate change and their impacts on habitat availability.

The purpose of my thesis is to identify no-regret solutions for conservation planning and facilitate making decisions that are robust to different types of uncertainties. To do so, I will assess and develop tools to fill gaps in our understanding of present conservation needs and uncertainty about future changes.


Latest publications

  1. How climate proof is the European Union's biodiversity policy?

    van Teeffelen, A., Meller, L., van Minnen, J., Vermaat, J. & Cabeza, M., Aug 2015, In : Regional Environmental Change. 15, 6, p. 997-1010 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  2. Balance between climate change mitigation benefits and land use impacts of bioenergy: conservation implications for European birds

    Meller, L., Thuiller, W., Pironon, S., Barbet-Massin, M., Hof, A. & Cabeza, M., 2015, In : Global change biology. Bioenergy. 7, 4, p. 741-751 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  3. Soidensuojelu toteutettava suunnitelmallisesti

    Lehtomäki, J. & Meller, L., 23 Oct 2014, In : Helsingin Sanomat. 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleGeneral public

View all (15) »

Latest activities

  1. Biologian soveltava kurssi

    Laura Meller (Speaker: Presenter)
    12 Mar 2014

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

  2. Spring Symposium

    Laura Meller (Speaker: Presenter)
    3 Mar 20145 Mar 2014

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

  3. INTECOL 2013 Ecology: into the next 100 years

    Laura Meller (Speaker: Presenter)
    18 Aug 201323 Aug 2013

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

View all (15) »


Master of Science

ID: 16110320