Ecology & Evolution of Interactions

Our research aims to explore the behavioral and genetic processes that underscore variation in animal interactions.

We are the ‘Ecology and Evolution of Interactions’ research group, led by Johanna Mappes. Our main base of operations is the University of Helsinki (Finland), but we still have people and critters at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland), and alumni scattered worldwide.  

Our lab has long-standing interests to understand the behavioural and genetic processes that underscore variation in animal interactions. Our main line of questioning investigates the evolution of polymorphism within populations and divergence between populations. Experimental studies in the lab and field are our speciality. 

Our primary study system is the polymorphic wood tiger moth (Arctia plantaginis). Here we have a long-term project investigating populations at depth across Europe and the northern hemisphere. We also have major projects taking place with snakes, poison frogs, beetles and butterflies. 

Some projects focus on the relationships between species, from the conflict between predators and prey to the mutualistic cooperation of symbiotes. Other projects look to the relationships among members of the same species, such as those involved with sexual selection. 

People Involved 

Johanna Mappes, Professor 

Alma Oksanen, Laboratory Coordinator 

Melanie Brien, Postdoctoral researcher 

Sandra Winters, Postdoctoral researcher 

Cristina Ottocento, Postdoctoral researcher

George Hancock, Postdoctoral researcher

Eetu Selenius, Doctoral researcher

Zowi Oudendijk, Doctoral researcher

Theo Brown, Doctoral researcher