The Ecology Centre







Ökoloogia keskus välitöödel

Researchers fieldwork.

The Institute of Ecology of Tallinn University was established in 1992. Since the institute's inception, our researchers have successfully focused primarily on researching the functioning and development of water-related ecosystems and making recommendations for more sustainable management of natural resources based on this knowledge. Our research areas have been predominantly lakes, rivers, coasts and marshes, increasingly also groundwater as a link that binds and influences them all. In the course of our research, our scientists have tried to find out what the history of ecosystems is.

The current state and nature of ecosystems are determined by their past, how they relate to the inanimate environment and other ecosystems, and what factors have influenced their development. Based on this knowledge, we can predict their possible future. One important factor in shaping our ecosystems is human activity, with its positive and negative consequences.

Üliõpilased välitöödel

Students fieldwork.

Recognizing that improving the state of ecosystems depends not only on scientists but also on specialists with good science education in our ministries and companies who can comprehensively address environmental issues important to Estonia and the world, the Institute of Ecology actively contributes to higher science education from the very beginning. In this way, we have contributed to the science-based management of our ecosystems, their restoration and the rational use of resources. But modern society needs more than just knowledge about the use of natural resources from science. Building a sustainable society in which human activity fits into all of its natural environment in all its forms requires integrated collaboration with other academic disciplines.

Due to the structure of Tallinn University, we have good cooperation with educators, communication specialists, digital technology holders, psychologists, political and legal scientists, artists and humanities, with whom we can explore and find new ways to make the world better and people more aware of the environment and sustainable development changes.


Tallinna Ülikooli katusel asuvad linnamesilaste tarud.

Tallinn University's rooftop beehives.

Researchers at the Institute of Ecology offer solutions to problems and developments in water-related ecosystems. We advise on decisions related to the management of natural resources and help to solve already existing environmental problems. Examples of our research objects are: swamps, lakes, coasts, rivers and groundwater. If necessary, we involve other specialists from Tallinn University and our other cooperation partners to solve multifaceted problems. We have modern laboratories and fieldwork equipment for conducting research and analysis.

Keywords: GIS, geophysical surveys (GPR), drones, (honey) pollen, environmental indication (eg siliceous algae analysis), monitoring planning and conducting, vegetation surveys, hydrological measurements and certified water sampling, sediment and soil analysis, sediment and soil analyzes, turbine analyzes, peat analysis and coastline change studies and destruction analyzes, nature tourism and nature trails - design and planning, digital solutions (Discovery Path), nature education, product life cycle analysis, conservation management and management planning, ambient air protection, mineral use and mine management research, water management.


Researchers at the Institute of Ecology offer to schools a variety of opportunities to collaborate, jointly promote science education. Our strength is our knowledge of water-related ecosystems and their evolution, but also all related topics, from climate change to sustainable development, all using modern learning methods.

Looduse akadeemia rühm

School students in a workshop.

There are opportunities for cooperation in several directions.

Supervision of student work, internship opportunities - students can get involved in our laboratory or field work and participate in various ongoing research and through it also do their own research. Opportunity to get acquainted and be a shadow in the daily work of researchers in order to get a better idea of ​​the options and bottlenecks of the research career.

Opportunities for conducting school lessons - we help to make science lessons more attractive by bringing the latest knowledge on various aquatic ecosystems, biodiversity, climate change, sustainable development and other topics. We introduce our activities and offer the opportunity to visit laboratories. If there is time and opportunities, we will also visit the school.

Trainings for teachers - we offer many different training opportunities - topics related to aquatic ecosystems based on our research directions; sustainable development education issues; Anthropocene and global problems; how to conduct research; how to teach science in an attractive way and deal with different topics.


The researchers of the Institute of Ecology offer research topics and internship opportunities (laboratory, fieldwork) to all students interested in ecology, hydrology, environment, sustainable development, environmental education and communication, etc. It is possible to get involved in the implementation of projects by helping to collect or analyze data and thereby contribute to finding answers to important scientific or applied questions with your bachelor's or master's thesis.



The Institute of Ecology is a research and development centre where researchers deal with water-related ecosystems - marshes, lakes, coasts, rivers and groundwater. We study the processes that take place in these ecosystems on different scales of time and space. We apply the acquired knowledge in solving issues related to the sustainable management and protection of ecosystems.

Keywords: environmental ecology, landscape and urban ecology, ecosystem restoration, ecosystem services, nature-based solutions, human impact, climate change, carbon and web balance changes, paleoecology, environmental communication, environmental education, honey research.


In Estonia, the web balance is positive, which means that more water is stored in our landscapes and circulates here than it leaves. After the ice ages, two thirds of Estonia has been covered by various large bodies of water in the Baltic Sea basin. A large area of ​​modern land is covered by inland waters and various wetlands (swamps, reeds, marshes, etc.). Thus, water determines the nature and course of many processes in our ecosystems. The Institute of Ecology, as a result of research in this field

  • we have a better understanding of the functioning and evolution of ecosystems in the past, present and future,
  • we take more account of the impact of human activities on ecosystems and landscapes,
  • we further develop various research methods in our field,
  • we can contribute to the preservation and restoration of ecosystems,
  • we can define the total benefit offered by these landscapes.

The scientific education of Estonians is considered to be quite good. At the same time, research shows that the use of knowledge in real life is low. The Institute of Ecology contributes to the improvement of the situation as follows:

  • participates fully in the transfer of research results to different (target groups) groups of people,
  • develops effective teaching methods and teaching aids,
  • shapes and develops a sustainable worldview


Researchers at the Institute of Ecology offer solutions to problems and developments in water-related ecosystems. We advise on decisions related to the management of natural resources and help to solve already existing environmental problems. Examples of our research objects are: swamps, lakes, coasts, rivers and groundwater. If necessary, we involve other specialists from Tallinn University and our other cooperation partners to solve multifaceted problems. We have modern laboratories and fieldwork equipment for all kinds of environmental research and analysis.

Services offered

Field surveys and sampling - sampling and surveying for environmental surveys. Various devices can be used (eg geophysical measurements and large-scale mapping, drone scans of the land cover, surveys related to the aquatic environment).

Geophysical surveys - surveys to solve multifaceted problems using a wide range of equipment (GPR, ADP, RTK-GPS, Chirp, Boomer). Examples include studies:

  • Using Georadar (GPR) - this is a device that can be used to look into the ground, wall or floor and get clarity about the interior of the objects under study without destroying the object. Suitable for pre-construction survey to determine the properties of the soil or the location of previous buildings, buried ships or pipelines contained therein. For more information, please contact: Hannes Tõnisson, e-mail:
  • With multi-beam sonar (ADP) - designed for a variety of water research purposes. You can precisely map the bottom of water bodies for various development activities, to determine the water volume or simply to create an accurate map. The measurement can be combined with georadar and other equipment to get an overview of the thickness and location of the sediment. ADP can also be used to measure the flow of large rivers. For more information, please contact: Egert Vandel, e-mail:

Landscape mapping, GIS analysis - large-scale mapping of landscape and vegetation using drones and a dGPS device. Detection of hard-to-reach objects (eg beaver dams). For more information, please contact: Raimo Pajula, e-mail:

Water research - complex research of surface and groundwater dynamics and water chemistry. Planning and conducting monitoring, hydrometric measurements, finding water supply areas (tracing tests), identification of groundwater-dependent ecosystems, protection of water bodies and preparation of management plans. Surface and groundwater sampling and chemical analysis - general composition, compliance with requirements. For more information, please contact: Oliver Koit, e-mail:

Soil analyzes - analysis of soil and water sediment composition. For more information, please contact: Galina Kapanen, e-mail:

Biota surveys - ecosystem status, vegetation analyzes (including drones), aquatic biota surveys. For more information, please contact: Martin Küttim, e-mail:

Rehabilitation of water bodies - principles of construction and management of (artificial) water bodies, preparation of condition assessment, determination of water and sediment composition. Use of sediments deposited in water bodies and uptake of nutrients. For more information, please contact: Tiit Vaasma, e-mail:

Marsh remediation and restoration - restoration of the hydrological regime necessary for the ecological functioning of the wetland. For more information, please contact: Mati Ilomets, e-mail:

Honey research - by analyzing honey samples under a microscope, it is possible to distinguish the dust of different plants and to describe the harvesting area on the basis of the results. The analysis makes it possible to assess the origin of honey, including whether it is Estonian honey. For more information, please contact: Liisa Puusepp, e-mail:

Digital learning and information trails outdoors ( - Avastusrada is an application running in the web browser of a smart device, with the help of which you can create interactive hiking and adventure trails that can be walked outdoors. The versatility of the solution allows the discovery path to be applied in a wide range of fields: from education to tourism development and scientific applications. For more information, please contact: Jaanus Terasmaa, e-mail:

Implementation of sustainable development goals in business - mapping of the company's activities and strategic reorganization based on the goals of sustainable development. Research shows that sustainable corporate restructuring is a strategic inevitability. The entry of new generations into the economic life has changed the current market behavior. Companies that do not follow the principles of sustainability lose both employees and customers. The way out is to reshape our activities based on the goals of sustainable development, to make our activities more supportive of them and to take public responsibility for the fulfillment of some goals. We can help you how to get there. For more information, please contact: Mihkel Kangur, e-mail:

Consultations on coastal processes - Ignoring the natural features of coastal processes when building on the coast can lead to undesirable results. For example, within ports and waterways, undesirable changes or intensifying coastal destruction may also occur in neighboring areas. In order to make the right decisions, we support our decades of experience in studying the characteristics of the movement and accumulation of coastal sediments (sand-gravel), and the long-term evolution of this process and changes in the coastline due to storms. We are ready to contribute to the development of scientifically sound schemes for the rational use of beaches. For more information, please contact: Kaarel Orviku, e-mail:

addressUus Sadama 5, 10120 Tallinn

phone(+372) 6199 800