Markku Viitasalo

Research Professor

Viitasalo Markku

Sustainable Use of
the Marine Areas

phone: +358 295 251 742

Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
Marine Research Centre
Latokartanonkaari 11
FI-00790 Helsinki

Skype: yha.syke.viitasalo.markku

@Google Scholar
CV (pdf) 


Current tasks

I work as a Research Professor in the Marine Spatial Planning Unit of the Marine Research centre. My main focus is in conservation and sustainable use of the marine ecosystems. Most of my time is currently allocated in leading of the Finnish Inventory Programme for Marine Underwater Environment (VELMU). I also work as a co-leader in a research project SmartSea, which studies Blue Growth in the Gulf of Bothnia, and in a project building marine spatial plans in Zanzibar, Tanzania.


I am a marine biologist by education, and have acted as a professor in Marine Biology in University of Helsinki, and as Head of Biology Department in the Finnish Institute of Marine Research. My early work has focused on functioning of the marine ecosystem, and in the effects of climate change and eutrophication on planton, benthos, and fish. After starting to work in the VELMU Programme, I have shifted to studying mapping and assessment of diversity of benthic ecosystems. I have also worked in different expert groups in HELCOM, ICES, European Science Foundation and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Current topics

  • Effects of environmental factors on marine biodiversity
  • Effects of climate change on the marine ecosystem
  • Usage of marine inventory data in Marine Spatial Planning
  • Improving the ecological effectiveness of marine conservation
  • Biodiversity and marine spatial planning in Zanzibar

Research projects

  • VELMU Programme 
  • SmartSea
  • ZAN-SDI (a research project funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Baltic Health Index (A project building an index that describes the provision of Ecosystem Services in the Baltic Sea)

Other tasks

national and international expert tasks, e.g.. Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Ocean Conference, national duties related to Climate Agreement. Presentations and lecturing in symposia and universities, and to different stakeholder groups. Supervising MsC and PhD theses.


I have been an author in ca 90 refereed publications and reports. I have participated in writing 6 textbooks dealing with the marine ecosystem. The latest work is a 500-page book ”Treasures of the Sea”, which is based on the 12 years of inventories of the VELMU Programme.

Publications (pdf, 1.6.2017) 

@Google Scholar


Published 2017-08-29 at 10:01, updated 2021-12-01 at 9:07

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