Bio- ja ympäristötieteiden laitos

Research in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Division


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Research highlights



  • Next generation legacy of symbiosis. A group by Dr. Sandra Varga, Dr. Rocio Vega Frutis and Dr. Minna-Maarit Kytöviita show the first evidence of transgenerational mycorrhiza-mediated maternal and paternal effects in a gynodioecious species Geranium sylvaticum.  Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis affected plant fitness mainly through female functions with enduring effects on the next generation.The trangenerational effects were mainly on the quality of offspring, and these effects were fungal-species specific. New Phytologist 199: 812-821.
  • Challenges of ecological restoration: Lessons from forests in northern Europe. Ecological restoration is more and more commonly used to fight the global biodiversity loss. The questions of what biotopes, where and how to restore are in the center of massive international debate. In 2011, an international group of forest conservation specialists gathered in a meeting in Jyväskylä to discuss the lessons learned and the future challenges to overcome in boreal forest restoration. Now the results of this fruitful meeting have been published as a perspective in Biological Conservation. The group of 30 authors include representatives from ten European countries, nine of them from University of Jyväskylä. Biological Conservation 167: 248–256.
  • Adapted conservation measures are required to save the Iberian lynx in a changing climate. An international group led by Prof. Professor Miguel Araújo (University of Copehnagen, Denmark) modeled how the anticipated climate change will eventually lead to a rapid and dramatic decline of the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) and probably eradicate the species within 50 years given the present-day conservation efforts. However, when carefully planned reintroduction programme, account for the effects of climate change, prey abundance and habitat connectivity, this group suggests that we could avert extinction of the lynx this century. For the first time, this research group shows why considering prey availability, climate change and their interaction in models is important when designing policies to prevent future biodiversity loss. Nature Climate Change(2013) doi:10.1038/nclimate1954.


    • Prey community structure affects how predators select for Müllerian mimicry. How and in what conditions this striking similarity evolves has been mystery for decades. In a novel world experiment wild great tits (Parus major) foraged from either simple (few prey appearances) or complex (several prey appearances) artificial prey communities with specific model prey. Bird selected for accurate mimicry in simple communities since predators avoidance learning was slower in complex communities. Therefore in diverse environments, the limited diets of specialist predators could create ‘simple community pockets’ where accurate mimicry is selected for. Proceedings of Royal Society of London B 279:2099-2105.
    • Advantage of rare infanticide strategies in an invasion experiment of behavioural polymorphism: The novel invasion experiment confirms negative frequency-dependent selection in wild mammalian populations, where resource benefits allow an infanticidal strategy to invade a population of non-infanticidal individuals. Prof. Tapio Mappes and colleagues, on one hand, demonstrate potential benefits of infanticide, and on the other, they open a new perspective of correlative evolution of infanticide in females and males. Nature Communications 3: 611


    • Negative Frequency-Dependent Selection of Sexually Antagonistic Alleles in Myodes glareolus: The never-ending battle of the sexes: An international team of researchers from Finland, Australia and France have demonstrated that genetic conflicts of interest between the sexes are maintained by a negative frequency dependence that can maintain genetic variation. The findings, published in the Science 334 : 972-974 also show how social interactions between neighbors can impact the ecology and evolution of a population. The research led by Professor Tapio Mappes and Academy Researcher Esa Koskela, and it is a part of two Centres of Excellences in Evolutionary Research and Biological Interactions Research.
    • Costly punishment prevails in intergroup conflict. Mikael Puurtinen and Tapio Mappes, working together with Lauri Sääksvuori from Max Planck Institute of Economics in Jena, showed that punishment of uncooperative individuals is highly beneficial when there is competition between groups, and that punishment creates circumstances that are favorable for evolution of further group-benefitting behaviors. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278:3428-3436.
    • Mate choice for optimal (k)inbreeding. Reproduction among relatives often results in inbreeding depression, but this disadvantage can be offset by inclusive fitness benefits from higher relatedness to offspring. This paper predicts preference for intermediately related individuals as reproductive partners. Empirical evidence from mate choice experiments and reproductive patterns in nature is in qualitative agreement with the theoretical prediction. Evolution 65:1501-150.

    Research highlights before 2011


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