Life-history evolution


The broad aim of our research is to understand the processes and the underlying genetic mechanisms that shape intraspecific life history variation in the wild. Most of our research focuses on understanding how organisms cope with environmental variation in nature, such as habitat fragmentation or environmental stress.  

In our research we couple observational data with experimental work. One of our study systems is the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia) metapopulation in the Åland Islands. This classic metapopulation consists of a network of hundreds of local populations that exist in a stochastic balance between local extinctions and re-colonizations. The long-term, since 1993, population-level abundance data on the butterfly and numerous related ecological factors such as host plant density and parasitism prevalence, together with genomic tools, allow us to synthesise in a multidisciplinary fashion the importance of both ecological and genetic factors influencing life history variation in the wild. We also work with nation-level data from long-term monitoring of butterflies in Finland, as well as museum collections.

We are members of the Research Centre for Ecological Change (REC) and Centre for Ecological Genetics. REC unites leading experts in the field to utilize long-term series of ecological data to understand impacts of global change. The Centre for Ecological Genetics is an international consortium between partners from Denmark, Scotland, and Finland. Our work is supported by several organisations and foundations, namely Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, Novo Nordisk Foundation, LUOVA grad school, and Helsinki Institute of Life Science.

Recent publications