The father of metapopulation theory, Professor Ilkka Hanski, was one of the world’s top researchers in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology.

Academy Professor Ilkka Hanski (b. 1953) passed away on Tuesday morning, 10 May, after a long illness. Known as the father of metapopulation theory, Ilkka Hanski, who also held the honorary title of Academician of Science, was one of the world’s top ecologists and evolutionary biologists, widely respected as an expert both in the academic community and among the general public.

Ilkka Hanski led the Metapopulation Research Centre on the Viikki Campus, an Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence since 2000. Hanski studied a broad range of biodiversity topics. In his latest research, he examined the impact of biodiversity in human environments on allergies and other inflammatory diseases.

Many esteemed honours

During his career, Ilkka Hanski received several esteemed prizes and awards. The most significant one is the 2011 Crafoord Prize, granted by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for excellence in research fields outside the scope of the Nobel Prize. He also received the International Balzan Prize as well as the Latsis Prize for biodiversity research, granted by the European Science Foundation. In February 2016, Professor Ilkka Hanski was granted the Frontiers of Knowledge Award in ecology and conservation biology.

Professor Hanski was a member of the UK’s Royal Society and the National Academy of Sciences in the US. He also received several Finnish awards for his scientific work, for science education and for popularising research in his field.

Ilkka Hanski in an interview in March 2016
Ilkka Hanski received the highest academic title in Finland in September 2015