Academy Professor

University of Helsinki

Understanding life history variation is a central theme in biology because various biological questions ultimately revolve around the causes and consequences of variation in reproduction and survival, i.e. fitness. Traditionally, a major tool in life-history research has been quantitative genetics because it provides an important statistical link between phenotype and genotype. However, the mechanisms by which evolution occurs may remain unclear unless such traditional approaches are combined with molecular investigations. Another complicating factor is that the fitness of male vs female life histories do not always align, and hence life history traits may be shaped by sexual conflict. This is why life-history approaches focusing on both quantifying the conflict and understanding its resolution at the genetic level are needed. My research currently addresses these themes using several salmonid fish species (Atlantic salmon and European grayling) as models.


Postdoctoral researcher, PhD, Docent

University of Helsinki

My research covers a broad spectrum of topics in evolutionary biology and aims to understand the complex relationship between behavior, ecology and the genetic architecture of organisms.

At the University of Helsinki, I am leading two major research projects that focus on 1) local adaptation in a natural population of Atlantic salmon and 2) sexual conflict over reproductive traits and behaviors in salmon.

My interests also include sexual selection and mating systems, ecological speciation, the genetics of biological invasions, parental care, alternative reproductive tactics (i.e. sneaking), and post-copulatory sexual selection.

Fishes are my favorite model organisms and I've worked with pipefishes, gobies, stickleback and salmonids extensively.


Project Coordinator, PhD, Docent

University of Helsinki

I am an evolutionary developmental biologist.  My research synthesizes ideas from evolutionary systematic biology and molecular and cellular biology to understand the evolution of development and morphology.  In my developmental work, I use non-model organisms and ask how differences in the vertebrate body plan evolved.


Senior researcher, PhD, Docent

University of Helsinki

I am an evolutionary biologist whose research examines genomic, morphological and behavioral divergence among populations, and the consequences of hybridization between those populations. My work provides insights into how the diversity of life arises. It also has practical applications to managing populations of conservation or economic concern, and I develop genetic tools for this purpose. I am interested in a wide variety of taxa.

In the Evolution, Conservation & Genomics group at the University of Helsinki, I use population genomic and other approaches to understand evolutionary dynamics in wild Atlantic salmon populations and guide their management.


Postdoctoral researcher, PhD

University of Helsinki

I investigate how gene regulatory mechanisms evolve between species, populations, and sexes with the overarching goal to link regulatory evolution with adaptation.  My research at the Primmer lab aims to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying sex-dependent dominance in age at maturity of Atlantic salmon, a central adaptive trait with wide evolutionary, ecological, and conservation relevance.  Many of the approaches that I use are based on systems genetics - the study of how interacting levels of gene regulation (such as epigenetic marks and gene transcription) combine and translate genetic information to produce variation in forms and functions. In addition to basic research, I raise awareness of species at risk and translate genetics research for the public.


Postdoctoral researcher, PhD

University of Turku

Molecular basis of rapid thermal adaptation in European grayling

I study genomes from a functional viewpoint to understand the molecular mechanisms of adaptation.  Focusing on rapid evolutionary adaptations, I further investiagate potential eco-evolutionary feedbacks to key ecosystem functions, trying to understand the entire chain of causation from genes to ecosystems.  Part of my research also includes work on molecular systematics and on speciation genomics.  My work lies on the bioinformatic analysis of data from high throughput sequencing platforms and from high resolution mass spectrometry.  Typical experimental set-ups include common garden and experimental evolution experiments.  Research is typically interdisciplinary, linking network biology, molecular biology, ecology, morphometrics etc.  I currently work in close collaboration with Prof. Craig. R. Primmer at the University of Turku in Finland.


Postdoctoral researchers

Samuel Andrew

Matthieu Brunneaux

Susan Johnston

Erica Leder

Hannu Mäkinen

Frode Skarstein

Olaf Thalmann

Silva Uusi-Heikkiä

Anti Vasemägi


Laura Buggiotti (University of Turku): Avian evolutionary genomics: studies of Fiducula flycatchers.

Yann Czorlich (University of Turku): Population dynamics and evolutionary genetics of life history variation in Atlantic salmon.

Johannes Holmen (Main supervisor: Asbjörn Vollestad, University of Oslo): The Eurasian minnow: Post-glacial dispersal history and recent invasion patterns in Norway.

Markus Johansson (Co-supervised with Juha Merilä): Conservation genetics of the common frog (Rana temporaria).

Claudia Junge (University of Turku, co-supervised with Asbjörn Vollestad and Glenn-Peter Sætre, University of Oslo): The early stages of adaptive radiation: sympatric divergence in grayling.

Mikko Koskinen: Genetic studies of population history and contemporary microevolution in grayling (Thymallus: Salmonidae).

Katriina Lahti (Student of Esa Ranta): Integrated analysis of aggression in salmonids.

Veronika Laine (University of Turku, co-supervised with Gabor Herczeg, University of Helsinki): The genetics of behaviour and other adaptive traits in nine-spined sticklebacks.

Paula Lehtonen (University of Turku, co-supervised with Toni Laaksonen): The molecular mechanisms and evolutionary significance of plumage colour variation in pied flycatchers.

Kalle Rytkönen (University of Turku, Main supervisor: Mikko Nikinmaa): Molecular evolution of metazoan hypoxia inducible factors.

Heikki Rynnänen (University of Turku): Applications of gene sequence polymorphisms in evolutionary genetic studies of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and other teleost fish species.

Akarapong Swatdipong (University of Turku, co-supervised with Anti Vasemägi): Conservation genetics of exploited Finnish salmonid fishes.

Anni Tonteri (University of Turku): Populations genetics of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, from northwest Russia.

Juha-Pekka Vähä (University of Turku, co-supervised with Jaakko Erkinaro, Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute): Conservation genetics of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Genetic structure in space and time, and the effects of escaped farmed salmon.

Masters students

Aino Alasentie (Co-supervised with Sakari Kuikka and Juha-Pekka Vähä): Conservation genetics of Finnish pike populations.

Mikko Ellmen (University of Turku): Reproductive success of Teno River Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).

Tanzeela Hanif (University of Turku): Annotation of the Gyrodactylus salaris transcriptome.

Tiina Korkea-Aho (Co-supervised with Mikko Koskinen): Individual-based population genetic analysis of grayling (Thymallus thymallus) from a single water system.

Paula Lehtonen (Co-supervised with Anni Tonteri): Spatio-temporal genetic structuring of brown trout (Salmo trutta) populations from the Luga River in Northwest Russia.

Nico Lorenzen - currently at the University of Southern California

Tuuli Mäkinen (Co-supervised with Nina Peuhkuri): The effect of genetic diversity on survival and growth of Saimaa land-locked salmon.

Anni Tonteri (Co-supervised with Jaakko Lumme, University of Oulu): Phylogeography of salmon (Salmo salar) populations in northwest Russia as revealed by microsatellite loci.