Nature blog

Martin Küttim: “Researching nature is a varied activity”

Martin Küttim of the School of Natural Sciences and Health at Tallinn University defended his doctoral thesis entitled ‘Ecophysiology of Boreal Mire Mosses – Effects of Winter Conditions and Consequences of Climate Change’ in December 2020. In this interview, he discusses how he came up with this topic and how he stays motivated.

Martin Küttim

How did you come up with this topic during your studies?
I became interested in bogs early on, thus I had already focused on investigating the ecosystems of bogs in my seminar paper. In my third year, when I attended the University of Jyväskylä winter school, I learned about the impact of winter environmental conditions on plants for the first time, and I became interested in how these impact the ecosystems of bogs.

Writing a doctoral thesis is a huge task and definitely needs constant self-motivation. What’s your trick? How were you able to consistently work on it to achieve a successful final result?
I found my research topic to be so exciting that my interest towards it was already a source of motivation for me. Secondly, researching nature is a varied activity that involves an abundance of fieldwork, laboratory analysis, playing with numbers as well as reading and writing, so if you get tired of one activity, you can do something else for a change. And I had a lot of great people helping and motivating me.

How is your research going to change the world?
The fact that plants are still doing things during the cold winter is hard to understand even for people whose background is in natural sciences. Thus, my research indicates the importance of winter for plant life and people will learn that despite the frost and snow, ecosystems do not go on pause for several months. The aim of the thesis in terms of natural sciences is to show how the ecosystems of bogs will react when the predicted climate changes occur and what changes it can bring to plant life.

What are the most important values and beliefs that you live by?
I value benevolence and kindness highly and I try to show my appreciation for great people. I dedicate myself to my work enough that the result is good and I feel satisfied in the end.