Atte Moilanen
Professor, Principal Investigator


Room Number: 5717
Tel: +358 (0)9 191 57753
e-mail: atte.moilanen(at)


Biodiversity informatics and conservation group


Updated profile and publications in TUHAT pages



My background is in computer science, optimization, decision theory and population biology. I joined the MRG around 1994, and I had my PhD concerning spatially realistic metapopulation modeling in late 1998 (Univ. Helsinki, supervised by Ilkka Hanski). Close to the same time I had separate a licentiate in technology (Helsinki Univ. Technology) concerning solution of difficult optimization problems using a combination of stochastic global search (genetic algorithms) and local search. Since then, I have continued in the MRG as a post doc and since 2003 as a senior researcher (currently research fellow of the Academy of Finland). Expanding on spatial ecology, my present primary interest is the development of methods, software, concepts and theory for the purpose of conservation planning.


My research interests include spatial modeling and conservation planning. I am leading the spatial conservation planning group, which includes Anni Arponen, Heini Kujala, Jussi Latila, Joona Lehtomäki and Federico Montesino-Pouzols who all work on topics that have links to conservation planning or population management (please see their respective pages). My own research currently aims at methodological development in the field of conservation planning in general. Two major components of the work are (i) how should conservation outcome be evaluated, and (ii) how can one identify the allocation of conservation resources that produces highest conservation benefits. We develop spatial planning methods that combine large-scale spatial optimization (using both linear and nonlinear species distribution models), with a realistic weighting and valuing of species and handling of uncertainty. We concentrate on spatial design problems starting from the premise that the spatial structure of a reserve network would affect the occurrence and persistence of biodiversity there. My major collaborations outside the MRG are with Professor Chris Thomas' group (University of York), Professor Mark Burgman's group (University of Melbourne),  Professor Hugh Possingham’s group (University of Queensland), Professor Claire Kremen’s group (UC Berkeley) and Dr John Leathwick’s group (NIWA, New Zealand).


I'm the prototype of a nerd. I program a computer. During my free time I play with my kids, read books, collect stamps, play RPGs and an ancient Chinese/Japanese strategy game, Go.