Research groups
Our high-standard international research groups investigate developmental regulation and cell signalling in plants and animals, the adaptation of organisms to stress and its effect on the survival of organisms in a changing climate, as well as factors that affect organismal evolution. Our broad-based basic research offers limitless opportunities for the public utilisation of research findings.
Research groups of the Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme

Research groups that operate wholly or partly under the Research Programme OEB in alphabetical order.


Ancient genes of North-Eastern Europe
Group leader: Päivi Onkamo (University of Turku)

The SUGRIGE project aims at getting a whole-genome picture of ancient and contemporary Finns and Finno-Ugrians. We sequence ancient human remains from the regions where Finno-Ugrians live or used to live, in collaboration with Max Planck Institute for the Science of human history, Jena.


Behavioural Ecology
Group leader: Ulrika Candolin

Behavioural responses to environmental change, causes mechanisms and consequences for individuals, populations, communities, ecosystems.

Bioinformatics for Molecular Biology and Genomics
Group leader: Jarkko Salojärvi

We study evolution; speciation, adaptation and host-microbe interactions in plants using statistical modeling and different -omics data sources.


Canopy Spectral Ecology and Ecophysiology
Group leader: T Matthew Robson

CanSEE studies how plants respond to changes in spectral composition, how these cues are processed and received by leaves and by the whole plant. We place this research in context, considering how the spectral irradiance perceived by plants changes depending on their environment.


Ecological Data Science
Group leader: Giovanni Strona

Environmental and Ecological Statistics Group
Group leader: Jarno Vanhatalo
Environmental sciences includes a broad range of scientific fields studying the environment and solutions to environmental challenges. Ecology studies the distribution and abundance of species, and their interactions with other species and the environment. Statistical inference and uncertainty estimation are essential for both fields to ensure that appropriate conclusions and decisions can be reached from experiments and observations.

Evolution, Conservation, and Genomics
Group leader: Craig Primmer

Life history is the nexus of biology, because various biological questions ultimately revolve around the causes and consequences of variation in reproduction and survival, i.e. fitness. The fitness of male vs female life histories, however, do not always align, and hence life history traits may be...

Evolution, Sociality and Behaviour
Our group is a consortium of multiple principal investigators working around the common theme of sociality, behaviour and evolution. We studie in­ter­ac­tions cre­at­ing evol­u­tion­ary pro­cesses and pat­terns.


Global Change and Conservation
Group leader: Mar Cabeza

Inter­disciplinary ap­proaches for applied con­ser­va­tion


Life-history evolution
Group leader: Marjo Saastamoinen

Life-History Evolution research group focuses on understanding how organisms cope with environmental variation in nature, such as habitat fragmentation or environmental stress. Our main study system is the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia) metapopulation in the Åland Islands.

Mitochondrial Signalling and Translation Stress Responses
Group leader: Uwe Richter

We are dedicated to improve the life of patients with mitochondrial disease by understanding the mechanisms underlying these maladies that have no treatment option.


Oxygen Stress Tolerance and Lignin Biosynthesis
Group leader: Kurt Fagerstedt

Research in this group is directed to oxidative stress tolerance of plants and to lignin biosynthesis in xylem of trees.


Plant Ecophysiology and Climate Change
Group leader: Helena Åström

Research on snow and winter ecology in northern ecosystems.

Plant Growth Dynamics
Group leader: Ari Pekka Mähönen
We combine lineage tracing and microscopy with molecular genetics to understand growth dynamics of the stem cells of the vascular cambium at a cellular resolution.

Plant Receptors
Group leader: Michael Wrzaczek

Our research focus is to understand the function of receptor proteins, specifically receptor-like protein kinases, and their role in mediating the effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Plant ROS-signalling
Group leader: Jaakko Kangasjärvi
In an effort to get a better understanding of plant physiology during adverse or favourable growth conditions. We elucidate signalling mechanisms in plants that are associated with reactive oxygen species.

Plant Stress Natural Variation
Group leader: Mikael Brosche

Plant growth is limited by growth conditions. In our group we focus on identification of molecular mechanisms activated by reactive oxygen species that contribute to defense signaling, ultimately leading to adaptation to abiotic stress.


Research Centre for Ecological Change
Group leader: Anna-Liisa Laine

By fully utilising long-term series of nature observations, we can understand environmental change and its impact on communities of organisms and the ecosystem services they provide.


Sensory and Physiological Ecology of Plants
Group leader: Pedro J. Aphalo
We are elucidating the role of information in plant fitness. Plants sense their environment. They perceive signals and cues, using acquired information to adjust growth, morphology and development. Plants also emit informational signals. Acclimation that relies on information can be anticipatory.


Wood Development
Group leader: Ykä Helariutta
Our group studies the de­vel­op­ment of plant vas­cu­lar tis­sue (xylem & phloem).