I am an evolutionary ecologist and entomologist currently working as an Academy Research Fellow and Associate Professor in forest entomology in the University of Helsinki. My research aims to understand the role of natural selection in shaping the adaptive genetic and phenotypic variation in antipredator strategies.
Our research group studies the lifehistory costs of cooperative antipredator defences and how ecological and social conditions shape the evolution of antipredator strategies and animal signalling. We use a combination of behavioural, physiological, genetic, life-history and functional ecological techniques both in the field and in the laboratory. Currently our main study species are pine sawflies. Our work will provide information on ecological and evolutionary processes that shape the first steps of evolutionary transitions toward more complex sociality: group living and cooperation within a group. Our study species are also known as an economically important forest pest insects. Expected results will be used to predict how variation in the social behaviour and its consequences on individual fitness can contribute for the population dynamics of forest pest insects under changing environmental conditions.
In addition my research, I am also a group leader in an autonomous science education project (Evolution in action) that we acquired funding for from the Tieteen tiedotus ry, European Society for Evolutionary Biology (years 2019-2020) and Kone foundation (2020-2022). I also led a Science testers -science education project funded by Finnish Cultural Foundation at Central-Finland in 2020-2021.