Anu Hynninen

Postdoctoral Researcher, Geology (Department of Geography and Geology)

Geotalo Akatemiankatu 1
Office: 212

Areas of expertise
environmental microbiology


My research focuses on microbial colonization of fresh lava fields - how to initially sterile rocks become colonized by microbes. Development of viable microbial communities leads eventually to soil formation and development of higher life (vegetation) in general. We are periodically sampling recently active volcanic sites and analysing the samples by using the tools of metagenomics to identify the taxa and metabolic properties of the pioneering organisms and to follow the community dynamics in time. Data gained from microbial succession studies improves our knowledge about development of biotopes now and in the past, possibilities of life to develop and evolve in different environments, and about the roles of microbes in geochemical cycles, soil formation and weathering. In order to survive on and in oligotrophic rocks microbes have to interact with rock-forming minerals to gain nutrients. This interaction leads to rock weathering. Although weathering is an important factor in biogeochemical cycles, providing the substrate and necessary compounds for life, still very little is known about the actual role microbes play in the process. 



Air-drying is sufficient pre-treatment for in situ visualization of microbes on minerals with scanning electron microscopy (2018)
Journal of Microbiological Methods
Hynninen A, Kulaviir M, Kirsimae K
A1 Journal article – refereed)

Last updated on 2019-16-09 at 02:20