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Teaching at the University of Jyväskylä: OPLAA!-project (in Finnish)

katso: OPLAA!-hanke

Brief history | Research interests | Current projects | Publications | CV

Jari Haimi, PhD

Department of Biological and Environmental Science, P.O. Box 35 (YAC),
FIN-40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Tel: +358-14-260 2303 | Fax: +358-14-260 2321 | Email:

Brief history

I completed my MSc degree in 1986 and PhD degree in 1993, both in Ecology and Environmental Management at the University of Jyväskylä. My PhD thesis consisted of microcosm experiments on the role of earthworms in nutrient cycling of boreal coniferous forest soils. After that I focused on the effects of different kind of harmful substances on soil animals (especially earthworms, enchytraeids and collembolans). Later on, I also made experiments to study the importance of other kinds of disturbances to soil decomposer community. One basic aim of my studies has been to link different levels of biological hierarchies; i.e. to explain phenomena taking place at the community and ecosystem levels with responses at the lower ones. At the moment I am working as senior lecturer in Biology at the Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä. I give courses on general and invertebrate biology, ecology and ecotoxicology. My research still consists mainly of laboratory and field experiments in soil animal ecology and ecotoxicology.

Research interests

  • Life-history, biochemical, morphological and genetic responses of earthworms and enchytraeids to harmful substances (especially heavy metals); including the role of exposure history of the populations.

  • Responses of decomposer communities to soil contamination: changes in community structure and function.

  • Biodiversity in forest regeneration: responses of soil decomposer community to different forest regeneration practices. UP

Current projects

Effects of different forestry practices on soil decomposer community (1996-).

The ultimate goal of this project is to find out the causal relationships between changed environmental conditions due to forestry practices (different harvesting methods and site preparation) and changes in soil decomposer community. Background aim is also to produce knowledge for forestry decision makers about ecological consequences of different forestry options. Forest stand scale experiment has been performed with many other researches from several universities and research institutions. Biological and economic parameters have been measured from the very same experimental one-hectare study plots. In small scale experiments the effects of slash addition, exclusion of mycorrhizal connections (trenching) and exposure of mineral soil (sod cutting) on soil decomposers have been studied in otherwise untouched forest stand. From 2005 onwards, impacts of stump removal on decomposer community is under focus. Collaborators in this project are Dr. Anne Siira-Pietikäinen, and microbiologist Dr. Hannu Fritze in Finnish Forest Research Institute.

Life-history strategies and genetic variation in oligochaete worms differently exposed to heavy metals (2000- ).

In this project the survival strategies of decomposer animal species with little genetic variation due to their asexual or parthenogenetic life mode are studied. An asexual enchytraeid worm Cognettia sphagnetorum and a parthenogenetic earthworm Dendrobaena octaedra are used as model organisms.  Populations with different heavy metal exposure history have been taken for measurements and experiments. Life-history characteristics, behaviour, ecological performance and genetic differences between the populations are under the focus. This study is conducted with close cooperation with Dr. Emily Knott.

Use of earthworms in soil quality assessment: responses of different species to heavy metal exposure (2002- ).

The aim of this research is to find out how long-term heavy metal exposure affects biological, ecological and physiological characteristics of earthworms, and further, how this affects soil decomposition activity and fertility. Populations under study are taken from the areas contaminated with heavy metals from human activity (e.g. metal smelters). In these cases, earthworms have been exposed simultaneously to several metals. After field surveys, populations from species with different biology, ecology, and exposure history are taken for laboratory experiments. Especially observations at individual and population levels are connected to ecosystem level. We also aim to estimate the usefulness of earthworms for assessing the condition of the environment and the risk caused by heavy metals by combining field surveys, laboratory exposure tests, and biomarker measurements. Biomarkers measured are e.g. metallothioneins, cytochrome P4501A monooxygenase enzyme induction and glutathione-S-transferase activity. Ph.D. student in this project is Tuomas Lukkari. Collaborator in ecotoxicological experimentation is Dr. Jack Faber from the Institute for Forestry and Nature Research, Alterra, Wageningen, The Netherlands, and in chemical analyses Dr. Ari Väisänen, from the Department of Chemistry, University of Jyväskylä. UP


  • Haimi, J. & Huhta, V. 1986: Capacity of various organic residues to support adeguate earthworm biomass for vermicomposting. – Biology and Fertility of Soils 2: 23-27.

  • Haimi, J. & Huhta, V. 1987: Comparison of composts produced from identical wastes by "vermistabilization" and conventional composting. - Pedobiologia 30: 137-144.

  • Bouché, M.B., Haimi, J. & Huhta, V. 1988: Two earthworm taxa (Oligochaeta, Lumbricidae) new to Finland. - Memoranda Soc. Fauna Flora Fennica 64: 65-67.

  • Huhta, V., Setälä, H. & Haimi, J. 1988: Leaching of N and C from birch leaf litter and raw humus with special emphasis on the influence of soil fauna. - Soil Biology & Biochemistry 20: 875-878.

  • Setälä, H., Haimi, J. & Huhta, V. 1988: A microcosm study on the respiration  and weight loss in birch litter and raw humus as influenced by soil fauna. - Biology and Fertility of Soils 5: 282-287.

  • Haimi, J. 1990: Growth and reproduction of the compost-living earthworms Eisenia andrei and E. fetida. - Rev. Ecol. Biol. Sol 27: 415-421.

  • Haimi, J. & Huhta, V. 1990: Effects of earthworms on decomposition processes in raw humus forest soil: A microcosm study. - Biology and Fertility of Soils 10: 178-183.

  • Knuutinen, J., Palm, H., Hakala, H., Haimi, J., Huhta, V. & Salminen, J. 1990: Polychlorinated phenols and their metabolites in soil and earthworms of sawmill environment.- Chemosphere 20 (6): 609-623.

  • Haimi, J. & Boucelham, M. 1991: Influence of a litter feeding earthworm, Lumbricus rubellus, on soil processes in a simulated coniferous forest floor. - Pedobiologia 35: 247-256.

  • Palm, H., Knuutinen, J., Haimi, J., Salminen, J. & Huhta, V. 1991: Methylation products of chlorophenols, catechols and hydroquinones in soil and earthworms of sawmill environments. - Chemosphere 23 (3): 263-267.

  • Haimi, J. & Einbork, M. 1992: Effects of endogeic earthworms on soil processes and plant growth in coniferous forest soil. - Biology and Fertility of Soils 13: 6-10.

  • Haimi, J., Huhta, V. & Boucelham, M. 1992: Growth increase of birch seedlings under the influence of earthworms - a laboratory study. - Soil Biology & Biochemistry 24: 1525-1528.

  • Haimi, J., Salminen, J. Huhta, V., Knuutinen, J. & Palm, H. 1992: Bioaccumulation of organochlorine compounds in earthworms. - Soil Biology & Biochemistry 24: 1699-1703.

  • Haimi, J., Salminen, J., Huhta, V., Knuutinen, J. & Palm H. 1993: Chloroanisoles in soils and earthworms. - The Science of the Total Environment, Supplement 1993: 439-448.

  • Haimi, J. 1995: Effect of introduced earthworm Aporrectodea velox on nutrient dynamics of forest soil. - Acta Zool. Fennica 196: 67-70.

  • Salminen, J., Haimi, J., Sironen, A. & Ahtiainen, J. 1995: Effects of PCP and biotic interactions on nematodes and decomposition processes in humus soil. - Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 31: 250-257.

  • Haimi, J. & Siira-Pietikäinen A. 1996: Decomposer animal communities in forest soil along heavy metal pollution gradient. - Fresenius' Journal of Analytical Chemistry 354: 672-675.

  • Salminen, J. & Haimi, J. 1996: Effects of pentachlorophenol in forest soil: A microcosm experiment for testing ecosystem responses to anthropogenic stress. – Biology and Fertility of Soils 23: 182-188.

  • Salminen, J., Eriksson, I. & Haimi, J. 1996: Effects of terbuthylazine on soil fauna and decomposition processes. - Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 34: 184-189.

  • Salminen, J. & Haimi, J. 1997: Effects of pentachlorophenol on soil organisms and decomposition in forest soil. - Journal of Applied Ecology 34: 101-110.

  • Salminen, J., Setälä, H. & Haimi, J. 1997: Regulation of decomposer community structure and decomposition in herbicide stressed humus soil. - Applied Soil Ecology 6: 265-274.

  • Salminen, J. & Haimi, J. 1998: Responses of the soil decomposer community and decomposition processes to the combined stress of pentachlorophenol and acid precipitation. - Applied Soil Ecology 9: 475-481.

  • Martikainen, E., Haimi, J. & Ahtiainen, J. 1998: Effects of dimethoate and benomyl on soil organisms and soil processes - a microcosm study - Applied Soil Ecology 9: 381-387.

  • Haimi, J. & Paavola, S. 1998: Responses of two earthworm populations with different exposure histories to chlorophenolic contamination. - Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 17: 1114-1117.

  • Siikamäki, P., Haimi, J., Hovi, M. & Rätti, O. 1998: Properties of food loads delivered to nestlings in the pied flycatcher: effects of clutch size manipulation, year, and sex. - Oecologia 115: 579-585.

  • Salminen, J. & Haimi, J. 1999: Horizontal distribution of copper, nickel and enchytraeid worms in polluted soil. - Environmental Pollution 104: 351-358.

  • Haimi, J., Fritze, H. & Moilanen, P. 2000: Responses of soil decomposer animals to wood-ash fertilization and burning in a coniferous forest stand. - Forest Ecology and Management 129: 53-61.

  • Haimi, J. 2000: Decomposer animals and bioremediation of soils. - Environmental Pollution 107: 233-238.

  • Fritze, H., Perkiömäki, J., Saarela, U., Katainen R., Tikka, P., Yrjälä K., Karp, M, Haimi, J. & Romantschuk, M. 2000: Effect of Cd-containing wood ash on the microflora of coniferous forest humus. – FEMS Microbiology Ecology 32: 43-51.

  • Setälä, H., Haimi, J. & Siira-Pietikäinen, A. 2000: Sensitivity of soil processes in northern forest soils: are stand management practices a threat? – Forest Ecology and Management 133: 5-11.

  • Siira-Pietikäinen, A., Pietikäinen, J., Fritze, H. & Haimi, J. 2001: Short-term responses of soil decomposer communities to forest management: clear felling versus alternative harvesting methods. - Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 31: 88-99.

  • Salminen, J. & Haimi, J. 2001: The asexual enchytraeid worm Cognettia sphagnetorum (Oligochaeta) has increased Cu resistance in polluted soil. - Environmental Pollution 113: 221-224.

  • Liiri, M., Setälä H., Haimi, J., Pennanen T. & Fritze, H. 2001: Influence of Cognettia sphagnetorum (Enchytraeidae) on birch growth and microbial activity, composition and biomass in soil with or without wood ash. – Biology and Fertility of Soils 34: 185-195.

  • Siira-Pietikäinen, A., Haimi, J., Kanninen, A., Pietikäinen, J. & Fritze, H. 2001: Responses of decomposer community to root-isolation and addition of slash. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 33: 1993-2004.

  • Salminen, J. & Haimi, J. 2001: Life history and spatial distribution of the enchytraeid worm Cognettia sphagnetorum (Oligochaeta) in metal-polluted soil: below-ground sink-source population dynamics? - Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 20: 1993-1999.

  • Liiri, M., Setälä H., Haimi, J., Pennanen T. & Fritze, H. 2002: Relationship between soil microarthropod species diversity and plant growth does not change when the system is disturbed. – Oikos 96: 138-150.

  • Haimi, J. & Mätäsniemi, L. 2002: Soil decomposer animal community in heavy-metal contaminated coniferous forest. - European Journal of Soil Biology 38: 131-136.

  • Liiri, M., Setälä H., Haimi, J., Pennanen T. & Fritze, H. 2002: Soil processes are not influenced by the functional complexity of soil decomposer food webs under disturbance. - Soil Biology & Biochemistry 34: 1009-1020.

  • Salminen, J., Liiri, M. & Haimi, J. 2002: Responses of microbial activity and decomposer organisms to contamination in microcosms containing coniferous forest soil. - Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 53: 93-103.

  • Liiri, M., Haimi, J. & Setälä, H. 2002: Community composition of soil microarthropods of acid forest soils as affected by wood ash application. - Pedobiologia 46: 108-124.

  • Siira-Pietikäinen, A., Haimi, J. & Siitonen, J. 2003: Short-term responses of soil macroarthropod community to clear felling and alternative forest regeneration methods. - Forest Ecology and Management 172: 339-353.

  • Haimi, J. & Siira-Pietikäinen, A. 2003: Activity and role of the enchytraeid worm Cognettia sphagnetorum (Vejd.) (Oligochaeta: Enchytraeidae) in organic and mineral forest soil. – Pedobiologia 47: 303-310.

  • Siira-Pietikäinen, A., Haimi, J. & Fritze, H. 2003: Organisms, decomposition, and growth of pine seedlings in boreal forest soil affected by sod cutting and trenching. – Biology and Fertility of Soils. 37: 163-174.

  • Rantalainen, M.-L., Haimi, J. & Setälä, H. 2004: Testing the usefulness of habitat corridors in mitigating the negative effects of fragmentation: soil faunal community as a model system. – Applied Soil Ecology 25: 267-274.

  • Rantalainen, M.-L., Fritze, H., Haimi, J., Kiikkilä, O., Pennanen, T. & Setälä, H. 2004: Do enchytraeid worms and habitat corridors facilitate the colonisation of habitat patches by soil microbes? – Biology and Fertility of Soils 39: 200-208.

  • Lukkari, T., Taavitsainen, M., Väisänen, A. & Haimi, J. 2004: Effects of heavy metals on earthworms along contamination gradients in organic rich soils. - Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 59: 340-348.

  • Lukkari, T., Taavitsainen, M., Soimasuo, M., Oikari, A. & Haimi, J. 2004: Biomarker responses of the earthworm Aporrectodea tuberculata to copper and zinc exposure: differences between populations with and without earlier metal exposure. – Environmental Pollution 129: 377-386.

  • Rantalainen, M.-L., Kontiola, L., Haimi, J., Fritze, H., & Setälä, H. 2004: Influence of resource quality on the composition of soil decomposer community in fragmented and continuous habitat. – Soil Biology and Biochemistry 36: 1983-1996.

  • Rantalainen, M.-L., Fritze, H., Haimi, J., Pennanen, T. & Setälä, H. 2005: Colonisation of newly established habitats by soil decomposer organisms: the effect of habitat corridors in relation to colonisation distance and habitat size. – Applied Soil Ecology 28: 67-77.

  • Lukkari, T. & Haimi, J. 2005: Avoidance of Cu and Zn contaminated soil by three ecologically different earthworm species. - Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 62: 35-41.

  • Lukkari, T., Aatsinki, M., Väisänen, A. & Haimi, J. 2005: Toxicity of Cu and Zn assessed with three different earthworm tests. – Applied Soil Ecology, in press.

  • Haimi, J., Laamanen, J., Penttinen, R., Räty, M., Koponen, S., Kellomäki, S. & Niemelä, P. 2005: Impacts of elevated CO2 and temperature on the soil fauna of boreal forests. - Applied Soil Ecology, in press.

  • Lukkari, T., Teno, S., Väisänen, A. & Haimi, J. 2005: Effects of earthworms on decomposition and metal availability in contaminated soil: Microcosm studies of populations with different exposure histories. – Soil Biology and Biochemistry, in press.

  • Haimi, J., Knott, K.E., Selonen, S. & Laurikainen, M. 2005: Has long-term metal exposure induced changes in life history traits and genetic diversity of the enchytraeid worm Cognettia sphagnetorum (Vejd.)?. – Environmental Pollution, in press.



Date of birth: March 24, 1960.
Place of birth: Kuusankoski, Finland.
Citizenship: Finnish.
Marital status: Married to Pirkko-Liisa Haimi, two children (daughter Elina 1993, son Antti 1996)

Ph.D. in Biology (Ecology and Environmental Management), University of Jyväskylä, 1993.
M.Sc. in Biology (Ecology and Environmental Management), University of Jyväskylä, 1986.

Docent in Soil Ecology and Ecotoxicology, University of Joensuu, Finland, from 1998.

Professional experience
Research assistant in Biology, University of Jyväskylä, 1983-85
Researcher in Biology, University of Jyväskylä, 1985 and 1986
Junior/Senior Assistant and Assistant Professor in Biology (ecology and environmental management), University of Jyväskylä, 1986-2001

Senior lecturer in Biology, University of Jyväskylä, 2001-present

Memberships in professional societies
International Society of Soil Science
Nordic Council for Ecology
Finnish Society for Environmental Sciences
Finnish Biological Society
Finnish Entomological Society
Finnish Lepidopterological Society

Ph.D. these supervised
Janne Salminen (1996)
Esko Martikainen (1998)
Mira Liiri (2001, together with Heikki Setälä)
Anne Siira-Pietikäinen (2002)
Minna-Liisa Rantalainen (2004, together with Heikki Setälä)
Tuomas Lukkari (2004, together with Aimo Oikari)

Mika Räty (2004, together with Veikko Huhta)

Titta Kotilainen (in progress, together with Pedro Aphalo)

Duties as scientific expert
Referee in international journals
Soil Biology & Biochemistry, Oikos, Pedobiology, Ecography, Environmetal Pollution.
Referee duties for research councils
The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NOW)
National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa.

Evaluations of Ph.D. theses
Visa Nuutinen (1997, opponent), University of Joensuu.
Matti Leppänen (1999, external reviewer), University of Joensuu.

Oili Kiikkilä (2002, external reviewer), University of Helsinki.
Organizer of congresses and symposia
XI International Colloquium on Soil Zoology, Jyväskylä, Finland, 1992.

II International Workshop on Earthworm Ecotoxicology, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1997.

Invited speaker in international conferences and symposia
1998: Bioremediation of contaminated soil and groundwater, 2. Environmental symposium of Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation, Helsinki, Finland.
1998: The 8th Nordic Workshop, “Will soil animal ecology remain traditional, or?”.

1999: Conference on “Habitat Loss: Ecological, Evolutionary and Genetic Consequences”, Helsinki, Finland.

The most important research projects and funding
1990: Emil Aaltonen Foundation, for research in earthworm ecology.
1991: Ellen and Artturi Nyyssönen Foundation, for Ph.D. research in earthworm ecology.
1992-1995: Finnish Ministry of the Environment, grants for the research “Harmful effects of chemicals in terrestrial environment”.
1993-1995: Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, grants for research in soil biodiversity.
1996-1998: Academy of Finland, project leader Prof. Jari Niemelä, University of Helsinki, for the research “Biodiversity in forest regeneration: decomposers and arthropods in the soil and litter”.
1997-1999: Academy of Finland, project team: Dr. Heikki Setälä (responsible leader), Dr. Hannu Fritze and JH, for research “Functional importance of biological diversity of soil decomposers to ecosystem’s ability to resist disturbances”.
1998-2000: Academy of Finland, project team: Dr. Hannu Fritze (responsible leader), Dr. Martin Romantschuk, Dr. Matti Karp, Dr. Kim Yrjälä and JH, for the research “Microbial community of a coniferous humus under wood ash with an increased Cd content”.
1999-2000: Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation, for the project “Effects of forestry practices on soil decomposer community”.
2000-2002: Academy of Finland, project team: Dr. Heikki Setälä (responsible leader), Dr. Hannu Fritze, Dr. Taina Pennanen and JH, for research “Habitat fragmentation and performance of decomposer communities – linking the mechanisms affecting diversity of soil decomposer organisms to tree growth”.
2000-2005 for the research in the Centre of Excellence (leader Prof. Rauno Alatalo) “Life-history and genetic variation in oligochaete worms differently exposed to anthropogenic contaminants".
2002-2004: Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation, for the project “Use of earthworms in soil quality assessment: responses of different species to heavy metal exposure”
2005-: UPM-Kymmene forest company, "Impacts of stump removal on soil decomposer community in coniferous forests"