Maria Hällfors

Senior research scientist

PhD, Assisted Migration, Climate Change Ecology
Title of docent in climate change ecology, University of Turku

Finnish Environment Institute (Syke),
Nature solutions
Use of ecosystem information
Address: Latokartanonkaari 11,
00790 Helsinki, Finland

Google Scholar


  • Project leader in the RealAdapt-project
  • Project leader in the NaturaConnect-project

At the moment, I am conducting a 3-year postdoctoral project funded by the Academy of Finland (RealAdapt). In this project I investigate whether we already can see signs of evolution within species as a response to the change in climate that has occurred to date. To study this, I conduct resurrection experiments, where I compare plants grown from 30-40-year-old seed accessions with contemporary populations, and I use long-term data on bird breeding to test whether their use of to environmental cues for timing breeding has changed over the past 60 years. I also substitute the PI of the NaturaConnect-project for one year (07/2022-06/2023).


  • Climate change effects on biodiversity
  • Climate change ecology
  • Phenology shifts
  • Range shifts
  • Assisted migration


I am a researcher interested in species’ abilities to cope with climate change. By using long-term data and experiments, I try to figure out which species are able to, e.g., shift their ranges or their phenology, or even adapt evolutionary, in order to cope with the changes brought about by climate change.

I did my doctoral thesis in the Botany Unit of the Finnish Museum of Natural History, looking into a novel approach in species conservation, called assisted migration. I have worked as postdoctoral researcher in the Research Centre for Ecological Change at the University of Helsinki. There, I have combined different data sets containing information on phenological events or species occurrences to understand how biodiversity is responding to climate change.


Hällfors, M., & Dalrymple, S. (2022). Assisted Colonisation and Ecological Replacement. In M. Gaywood, J. Ewen, P. Hollingsworth, & A. Moehrenschlager (Eds.), Conservation Translocations (Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation, pp. 331-353). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108638142.015

Hällfors, M. (2022). The impact of climate change on species in Finland. Memoranda Societatis Pro Fauna Et Flora Fennica, 98(Supplement 2), 17–26.

Hällfors M. (2022). Luonnon ekovakuutus auttaa joustamaan ilmaston muuttuessa. Blog post on the website of Ilkka Hanski Nature Network.

Antão L.H., Weigel B., Strona G., Hällfors M., (+21 authors), Laine A.-L. (2022): Climate Change reshuffles northern species within their niches. Nature Climate Change

Hällfors M.H., Pöyry J., Heliölä J., Kohonen I., Kuussaari M., Leinonen R., Schmucki R., Sihvonen P., and Saastamoinen M. (2021): Combining range and phenology shifts offers a winning strategy for boreal Lepidoptera. Ecology Letters 24(8): 1619-1632.

Roslin T., Antão L., Hällfors M., (+201 authors), Ovaskainen O. (2021): Phenological shifts of abiotic events, producers and consumers across a continent. Nature Climate Change.

Hällfors M.H., Lehvävirta S., Aandahl T.R., Lehtimäki I., Nilsson L.O., Ruotsalainen A.-L., Schulman L.E., Hyvärinen M.T. (2020). Translocation of an arctic seashore plant reveals signs of maladaptation to altered climatic conditions. PeerJ 8:e10357

Hällfors M.H., Antão L.H., Itter M., Lehikoinen A., Lindholm T., Roslin T., Saastamoinen M. (2020: Shifts in timing and duration of breeding for 73 boreal bird species over four decades. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117 (31): 18577-18565.

Nordén J., Abrego N., Boddy L., Bässler C., Dahlberg A., Halme P., Hällfors M., Maurice S. Menkis A., Miettinen O., Mäkipää R., Ovaskainen O., Penttilä R, Saine S., Snäll T., and Junninen K. (2020): Ten principles for conservation translocations of threatened wood-inhabiting fungi. Fungal Ecology 44, 100919

Hällfors MH, Vaara EM, Ahteensuu MT, Kokko KT, Oksanen M, Schulman LE 2018: Assisted Migration as a Conservation Approach Under Climate Change. Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene: Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, 2018. Elsevier, 5 p.

Hällfors MH, Aikio SA, Schulman LE 2017: Quantifying the need and potential of assisted migration. Biological Conservation 205: 34–41.

Hällfors MH, Aikio S, Fronzek S, Hellmann J, Ryttäri T, Heikkinen RK 2016: Assessing the need and potential of assisted migration using species distribution models. Biological Conservation 196: 60–68. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2016.01.031

Hällfors MH, Liao J, Dzurisin J, Grundel R, Hyvärinen M, Towle K, Wu G, and Hellmann JJ 2016: Addressing potential local adaptation in species distribution models: implications for conservation under climate change. Ecological Applications 26(4): 1154–1169

Ahteensuu M., Aikio S., Cardoso P., Hyvärinen M., Hällfors M., Lehvävirta S., Schulman L. and Vaara E. 2015: More flexible and quantitative tools needed for decision making on species conservation under climate change – Reply to Shoo et al. Climatic Change 129:1–7 . DOI 10.1007/s10584-014-1311-0

Hällfors M.H., Vaara E.M., Hyvärinen M., Oksanen M., Schulman L.E., Siipi, H., Lehvävirta S. 2014: Coming to Terms with the Concept of Moving Species Threatened by Climate Change – A Systematic Review of the Terminology and Definitions. PLoS ONE 9(7): e102979. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102979

Hällfors, M.H., Lindén, L., Rita, H. & Schulman L. 2011: Using a botanic garden collection to test a bioclimatic hypothesis. Biodiversity and Conservation 20(2): 259–275


Published 2022-06-20 at 10:47, updated 2023-01-09 at 11:37

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