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.
Our main study system 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 newly developed genomic tools allows us to synthesise in a multidisciplinary fashion the importance of both ecological and genetic factors influencing life history variation in the wild. In our research we couple observational data with experimental work.
In 2017, we became part of the Research Centre for Ecological Change that unites leading experts in the field to utilize long-term series of ecological data to understand impacts of global change.