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Spatial Foodweb Ecology Group

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Spatial Foodweb Ecology Group
Department of Agricultural Sciences
PO Box 27 (Latokartanonkaari 5)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

phone +358 (0) 2941 57659



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Quercus robur

  Tomas Roslin
Senior Researcher

Room Number: C-322
Tel: +358 (0)9 191 57659, 040 8653611
e-mail: tomas.roslin(at)

Spatial Foodweb Ecology Group


Supplementary material for published papers:
Lewinsohn & Roslin 2008. Ecology Letters 11
Gripenberg et al. 2007. J Anim Ecol 77
Quintero & Roslin 2005. Ecology 86
Roslin & Roland 2005, Ecoscience 12


National gall wasp survey 2007
Dung beetle project 2011

Video material [in Finnish]

Video material [in Finnish]

Video material [in Finnish]

Video material [in Finnish]

Audio [in Swedish]


I conducted my PhD in the MRG between 1995 and 1999 as supervised by Ilkka Hanski. I then shared my post doc period between Helsinki and Alberta, Canada , where I worked in the group of Jens Roland. In 2003 I returned to the MRG, and currently serve as an Academy Research Fellow. Since 2010, I have served as an university lecturer in agroecology.


My research focuses on spatial interactions in ecological systems, in particular among herbivorous insects on oak, among dung beetles and among insects of the high Arctic. During the last few years, I have been especially interested in how the relative role of bottom-up and top-down forces vary in space, and in how spatial context may affect the local interplay between herbivores and plants. While much of classical herbivore-plant ecology has been focusing on the role of local host plant quality as a determinant of herbivore densities, my colleagues and I have been able to partition spatiotemporal variation in host plant quality into different hierarchical levels, to show that variation among host plant individuals is frequently secondary to variation at other levels, and to ascribe regional patterns in herbivore distribution and abundance to spatial population processes beyond the previous top-bottom paradigm. In addition to showing effects on ecological population dynamics, we have also demonstrated how spatial context affects microevolutionary processes such as local adaptation. Overall, I believe that these insights pave the way for a novel, more dynamic view on trophic interactions in spatially structured landscapes. They also help identify how and why human modification of the landscape may affect interactions among species.

In my latest research, I have increasingly turned from plant-herbivore relations to interactions among multiple trophic levels. Here, I use quantitative food webs as descriptors of interaction structure. As key initiatives, I aim to address general patterns across multiple local food webs, and to link food web structure to food web functioning.

Graduate students: Silvija Budaviciute, Matti Landvik
Undergraduate students: Saija Lähteenmäki, Anniina Kuusijärvi, Tähti Pohjanmies, Kristiina Visakorpi. Previous students


In my spare time, I enjoy fishing, watching birds and insects and playing with my two children.