The long-term research on the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia) in the Åland Islandsin SW Finland was started in 1991. This study encompasses the entire distribution of the species in Finland in a network of ca 4,000 habitat patches (dry meadows) within an area of 50 x 70 km. The survey of all local populations in the entire network was started in 1993 and has provided a unique record of long-term and large-scale dynamics of a species inhabiting a fragmented landscape as well as material for specific observational and experimental studies.

The Glanville fritillary has become an internationally recognized model system for metapopulation biology due to the many significant contributions to the literature that this project has made over the past decade (reviewed by Hanski 1999, Metapopulation Ecology, Oxford University Press, and many chapters in the volume edited by Ehrlich and Hanski in 2004, On the Wings of Checkerspots). Since 2007, we have conducted laboratory experiments at the Lammi Biological Station, where we have 600 m 2 of space for rearing of plants and caterpillars and doing experiments. Most recently, several projects have examined the coupling between demographic and microevolutionary dynamics, and the ecological studies have been coupled with functional genomics studies.

A day of fieldwork at the Lammi Biological Station video by Anne Duplouy.

Recent publications:

Ruokolainen, L., Ikonen, S., Makkonen, H. & Hanski, I. (2016). Larval growth rate is associated with the composition of the gut microbiota in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. Oecologia. 181:3, 895-903.

Fountain, T., Melvin, R. G., Ikonen, S., Ruokolainen, A., Woestmann, L., Hietakangas, V. & Hanski, I. (2016). Oxygen and energy availability interact to determine flight performance in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. Journal of Experimental Biology. 219:10, 1488-1494.

Fountain, T. E. S., Nieminen, M. J., Siren, J. P., Wong, S. C., Lehtonen, R. J. & Hanski, I. A. (2016). Predictable allele frequency changes due to habitat fragmentation in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 113:10, 2678–2683.

Tack, A. J. M., Mononen, T. J. M. & Hanski, I. A. Increasing frequency of low summer precipitation synchronizes dynamics and compromises metapopulation stability in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. (2015). Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Biological Sciences. 282: 1806.

Duplouy, A. and Hanski. I. (2013). Butterfly survival on an isolated island by improved grip. Biology Letters, 9: 10.1098/rsbl.2013.0020.

Ojanen, S., Nieminen, M., Meyke, E., Pöyry, J. and Hanski, I. (2013). Long-term metapopulation study of the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia): Survey methods, data management, and long-term population trends. Ecology and Evolution, 3: 3713-3737.

Melitaea cinxia - Photo: Anne Holma