Meet the researchers of the Biodiversity, Systematics and Evolution of Insects research group.

Researchers and their topics are presented in an alphabetical order.

Conrad Gillett

My research interests focus on the systematics, evolution and biogeography of beetles, the most diverse organisms, whose study illuminates our wider understanding of biology. I employ a combination of modern molecular and morphological methodology, with a focus on reconstructing evolutionary history within the families Carabidae and Scarabaeidae.

Maria Heikkilä

I use integrative methods, that is, combine morphological, genomic, and paleontological data to study the diversity, phylogenetic relationships, and evolutionary history of insects. 

My project funded by the Research Council of Finland explores the evolutionary history of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) and their sistergroup, Trichoptera (caddisflies). Lepidoptera are one of the largest groups of terrestrial insects, whereas Trichoptera have considerably fewer species and have an aquatic larval stage. We aim to understand when these two insect orders with very different life histories evolved and how they have been affected by events in the history of Earth. This brings important information as we seek to predict, for example, effects of climate change on living organisms.

Lauri Kaila
Lee, Kyung Min

I specialise in the field of molecular phylogenetics and systematics, focusing on unraveling the evolutionary history of insects, specifically Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera as model organisms. My research has predominantly involved the application of High-Throughput Sequencing techniques and bioinformatics tools to explore biodiversity patterns at the genomic level, conduct objective species delimitation, and examine historical introgression and gene flow among closely related taxa.

Pasi Sihvonen

My research focuses on systematics and biodiversity of geometrid moths globally, a megadiverse insect radiation of 24 000 species. My research is characterised by large-scale international projects that have a global view, and they often combine molecular and morphological data. I am one of the authors of landmark monograph series The Geometrid Moths of Europe.

Gunilla Ståhls-Mäkelä

My research concerns molecular systematics and taxonomy of hoverflies (Diptera, Syrphidae) and and flat-footed flies (Platypezidae) employing both morphological and molecular data and different analytical methods. Recent studies include genomics-based approaches to investigate presence of chemosensory receptors in smoke-flies. This study focus on documenting fire-specific adaptions in insects attracted to smoke, collaborative research with Dr. Victoria Twort (University of Helsinki). I have continuous international collaboration with European hoverfly researchers.

The Taxo-Fly project is an EU-funded service contract to generate taxonomic information for all European hoverflies. The core project duration is 2021-2024, with an one-year extension until 2025