Academy Professor

University of Helsinki

My research capitalizes on the unique opportunities provided by the large-effect gene genetic architecture of salmon age at maturity, combined with the strengths of Atlantic salmon as a model for functional genomic, ecological and evolutionary research. My aim is to link genotype, phenotype and fitness in this important life-history trait using approaches ranging from investigating the cellular-level processes in the laboratory to estimating reproductive success in completely natural populations. I also apply the obtained knowledge for improving salmon conservation and management in collaboration with managers.


PhD Can­did­ate

University of Helsinki

Understanding the genetic basis of behavior and metabolic rate as a means for improving aquaculture productivity and fish welfare


Laboratory Coordinator

University of Helsinki


PhD Can­did­ate

University of Helsinki

Role of maternal life-history genotype and diet on maturation, egg traits, and offspring fitness in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)


Postdoctoral Researcher, PhD

University of Helsinki

I investigate how gene regulatory mechanisms evolve between species, populations, and sexes with the overarching goal to link regulatory evolution with adaptation.  My research at the Primmer lab aims to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying sex-dependent dominance in age at maturity of Atlantic salmon, a central adaptive trait with wide evolutionary, ecological, and conservation relevance.  Many of the approaches that I use are based on systems genetics - the study of how interacting levels of gene regulation (such as epigenetic marks and gene transcription) combine and translate genetic information to produce variation in forms and functions. In addition to basic research, I raise awareness of species at risk and translate genetics research for the public.


Postdoctoral researchers

Samuel Andrew

Tutku Aykanat

Henry Barton

Matthieu Brunneaux

Paul Debes

Susan Johnston

Johanna Kurko

Erica Leder

Kenyon Mobley

Hannu Mäkinen

Petri Niemelä

Spiros Papakostas

Victoria Pritchard

Frode Skarstein

Olaf Thalmann

Silva Uusi-Heikkiä

Anti Vasemägi


Laura Buggiotti (University of Turku): Avian evolutionary genomics: studies of Fiducula flycatchers.

Yann Czorlich (University of Turku): Population dynamics and evolutionary genetics of life history variation in Atlantic salmon.

Johannes Holmen (Main supervisor: Asbjörn Vollestad, University of Oslo): The Eurasian minnow: Post-glacial dispersal history and recent invasion patterns in Norway.

Markus Johansson (Co-supervised with Juha Merilä): Conservation genetics of the common frog (Rana temporaria).

Claudia Junge (co-supervised with Asbjörn Vollestad and Glenn-Peter Sætre, University of Oslo): The early stages of adaptive radiation: sympatric divergence in grayling.

Mikko Koskinen: Genetic studies of population history and contemporary microevolution in grayling (Thymallus: Salmonidae).

Katriina Lahti (Student of Esa Ranta): Integrated analysis of aggression in salmonids.

Veronika Laine (University of Turku, co-supervised with Gabor Herczeg, University of Helsinki): The genetics of behaviour and other adaptive traits in nine-spined sticklebacks.

Paula Lehtonen (University of Turku, co-supervised with Toni Laaksonen): The molecular mechanisms and evolutionary significance of plumage colour variation in pied flycatchers.

Kalle Rytkönen (University of Turku, Main supervisor: Mikko Nikinmaa): Molecular evolution of metazoan hypoxia inducible factors.

Heikki Rynnänen (University of Turku): Applications of gene sequence polymorphisms in evolutionary genetic studies of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and other teleost fish species.

Marion Sinclair-Waters (University of Helsinki, co-supervised by Nicola Barson): Refining the genetic architecture of Atlantic salmon age-at maturity using genomics-enabled approaches

Akarapong Swatdipong (University of Turku, co-supervised by Anti Vasemägi): Conservation genetics of exploited Finnish salmonid fishes.

Anni Tonteri (University of Turku): Populations genetics of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, from northwest Russia.

Juha-Pekka Vähä (University of Turku, co-supervised with Jaakko Erkinaro, Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute): Conservation genetics of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Genetic structure in space and time, and the effects of escaped farmed salmon.

Ksenia Zueva (University of Turku, co-supervised by Victoria Pritchard): Evolutionary genomics of adaptation in Atlantic salmon from Northern Europe.

Masters students

Aino Alasentie (Co-supervised with Sakari Kuikka and Juha-Pekka Vähä): Conservation genetics of Finnish pike populations.

Paul Bangura (Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté ): Is there a link between vgll3 genotype and aggressive behavior in juvenile farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)?

Mikko Ellmen (University of Turku): Reproductive success of Teno River Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).

Tanzeela Hanif (University of Turku): Annotation of the Gyrodactylus salaris transcriptome.

Dorian Jagusch (Uppsala University), main supervisor, Kenyon Mobley: Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) in regard to vgll3 (and akap11) genotype and environment

Tiina Korkea-Aho (Co-supervised with Mikko Koskinen): Individual-based population genetic analysis of grayling (Thymallus thymallus) from a single water system.

Jan Laine (co-suervised by Tutku Aykanat): Breeding success and survival in relation to major effect loci affecting the age at maturation in Teno river Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

Paula Lehtonen (Co-supervised with Anni Tonteri): Spatio-temporal genetic structuring of brown trout (Salmo trutta) populations from the Luga River in Northwest Russia.

Katja Maamela (Co-supervised by Kenyon Mobley): Maturation and egg traits of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) females with different life-history genotypes in two feeding treatments.

Tuuli Mäkinen (Co-supervised by Nina Peuhkuri): The effect of genetic diversity on survival and growth of Saimaa land-locked salmon.

Anni Tonteri (Co-supervised by Jaakko Lumme, University of Oulu): Phylogeography of salmon (Salmo salar) populations in northwest Russia as revealed by microsatellite loci.