The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Helsinki has a number of internationally renowned research groups in the following areas: metapopulation research, population ecology, conservation biology, evolutionary biology, ecological genetics and genomics.

The researchers and teachers carry out diverse collaboration with the Helsinki University Museum of Natural History (LUOMUS), the Institute of Biotechnology, various Finnish universities, Metsähallitus (Forestry Administration), Natural Resource Institute Finland (LUKE), as well as the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). These agencies, as well as our own research groups, employ a significant number of students.

Part of the research and instruction takes place at the University of Helsinki’s research stations in Tvärminne, Lammi and Kilpisjärvi, located on the southern coast, in central Finland, and in Lapland, respectively.

Highly cited researchers of the University of Helsinki in the fields of biology and environmental science:

Mar Cabeza stud­ies dy­namic nature con­ser­va­tion
Liisa Holm, a vet­eran of bioin­form­at­ics
Willem de Vos is a pi­on­eer of the mi­cro­bi­ome
Juha Mer­ilä – com­biner of eco­logy and ge­net­ics
Jaakko Kan­gas­järvi re­vealed the sig­nalling func­tion of ROS com­pounds

Read more about the highly cited researchers in the field of biology, microbiology and environment.

Pro­fessor Otso Ovaskainen: Meta­pop­u­la­tion Research Centre.

The unifying theme in our research is the role of space in the biology of individuals, populations, and communities. Our work includes both basic research and applications to conservation and management.

Read more about the Metapopulation Research Centre

Pro­fessor Lotta Sund­ström and Uni­versity lec­turer Perttu Seppä: Evol­u­tion in So­cial In­sects.

The aim of our research is to integrate different levels of organisation from that of the gene, through single genomes, societies and populations to that of the species, with social insects as model organisms.

Read more about the Evolution in Social Insects

As­sist­ant Pro­fessor Rose Tho­ro­good: In­formed Birds Research Group.

Our research seeks to understand how animals acquire and use information, how this influences their fitness, and the evolution of others in their environments.

Read more about the Informed Birds Research Group

Do­cent Ul­rika Can­dolin: Ad­apt­ing to rapid en­vir­on­mental change.

I attempt to link conservational work with evolutionary questions to both determine the processes that have resulted in present local adaptations and predict the consequences of environmental change.

Read more about the "Adapting to rapid environmental change" project.

Senior Lec­turer Heikki Hirvonen: Be­ha­viour, Eco­logy and Evol­u­tion Team.

Our research focuses on behavioural approaches to various ecological and evolutionary phenomena with applications to conservation biology and sustainable management of natural populations.

Read more about the Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution Team


Pro­fessor Veijo Kait­ala: Op­por­tun­istic patho­gens: vir­ulence, disease dynamics and evol­u­tion.

The goal of the research project is to develop the epidemiological theory of pathogen eco-evolutionary dynamics where the pathogen is embedded within a food web such that the organism face e.g. the predators, parasites, and resource competition.

As­sist­ant Pro­fessor Ar­ild Husby: Ge­net­ics and ge­n­om­ics of eco­lo­gic­ally im­port­ant traits in natural pop­u­la­tions.

We use quantitative genetic and genomic tools to understand the genetic basis of complex traits in wild populations. We are specifically interested in how organisms adapt to changing environmental conditions and the mechanisms by which they do so.

Senior Lec­turer Riitta Sa­volainen: Sys­tem­at­ics and Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy of Ants.

We study molecular systematics, social parasitism, speciation, phylogeography, and biogeography of several Holarctic ant groups.