Alumni and Collaborators


Sebastiano de Bona

Postdoctoral Researcher in the Integrative Ecology Lab at Temple University (USA)

Seba seeks to find how population-level features emerge from traits at the individual level.

During his doctoral work, he studied how dispersal, habitat choice, and other life-history traits shape the spatial ecology of introduced guppy populations.

Emily Burdfield-Steel

Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

Emily is interested in how communication shapes evolution, particularly when communication breaks down.

Such errors teach her about the selection pressures acting on a system.

Frank Chan

Max Planck Research Group Leader, Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, Tübingen (Germany)

Frank wants to understand how the genome manages to be both robust and flexible, conserving what works whilst rapidly responding to selection.

Franziska Dickel

Research Associate at Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz (Austria)

Franziska studies how insects can boost their immunity by using surrounding plants as a pharmacy.

John Endler

Alfred Deakin Professor at Deakin University (Australia)

John considers himself a 19th century natural historian with 21st century techniques. 

He predicts the direction of evolution by looking at the interaction between sensory systems, signals and the environment. Also, he codes.

Dalial Freitak

Associate Professor at the University of Graz (Austria)

Dalial is an entomologist that wants to know how insects stay healthy, with a mind to ecology, evolutionary biology, physiology and immunology.

Swanne Gordon

Department of Biology, Washington University St Louis (USA)

Swanne’s research questions why diversity persists in nature.

She uses a combination of field, laboratory, and theoretical approaches centred around wood tiger moths and Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata).

Astrid Groot

Professor at the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

Astrid’s research aligns closely with our own, so it’s no surprise that we find something to do together.

In general, we are investigating variation in attraction to chemical signals, in collaboration also with Bibiana Rojas, Emily Burdfield-Steel, <Chiara de Pasqual>, <Cristina Ottocento> and Pherobank

Robert Hegna

Assistant Professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University (USA)

Robert is a behavioural ecologist that studies how prey use warning signals to avoid being eaten. His methods involve field behaviour experiments and population genetic analyses, using both vertebrates and invertebrates. 

Other than moths, he’s also into herpetology and scorpions.

Marie Herberstein

Professor at Macquarie University (Australia)

Marie investigates the behavioural ecology of invertebrates within an evolutionary framework. 

She works with spiders as ideal models for deceptive signals, mating behaviour and sexual selection, among other topics.

Marie has also conducted an in-depth analysis of Eurovision.

Robert D. Holt

Eminent Scholar  and
Arthur R. Marshall, Jr., Chair in Ecology at the University of Florida, Gainesville (USA)

Bob’s core research focuses on theoretical issues at the population and community levels, and linking ecology with evolutionary biology.

He also uses theory for applied problems, particularly conservation biology, and conducts experiments on habitat fragmentation.

Liisa Hämäläinen

Visiting Fellow at Macquarie University (Australia)

Liisa is a behavioural and evolutionary ecologist interested in the warning signals of prey, and how predators adapt to this information.

She is currently a visiting fellow at Macquarie University in Australia, where she investigates variation in warning signals in an aposematic tiger moth that isn’t plantaginis (Amata annulata).

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Eira Ihalainen

Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of St Andrews (UK)

Eira’s research with us covered warning signals and mimicry, before she went on to study learning and behaviour in zebra finches as a Marie Curie Fellow.

Chris Jiggins

Professor at the University of Cambridge (UK)

Chris studies adaptation and speciation in butterflies and moths, for which he is an expert on Heliconius butterflies

He wants to understand the predictability of evolution, looking to convergence in mimics and the underlying causes for speciation.

Almut Kelber

Professor at Lund University (Sweden)

Almut’s research centers around the visual ecology of animals – including birds and butterflies, moths and bees, frogs and toads.

She looks into the eyes of these creatures, relating their unique functionality to the world around them.

David Kikuchi

Researcher at Universität Bielefeld (Germany)

David studies communication from all different angles, including its role in cooperation and conflict. 

He questions how communities and signals shape each other, and the underlying mechanisms behind signal production.

Hanna Kokko

Professor at the University of Zurich (Switzerland)

Hanna has been with us since the early days. She adds her valuable insights toward how evolution and ecology interact, and helps bridge empirical and theoretical approaches.

Carita Lindstedt-Kareksela

Senior Researcher at the University of Jyväskylä
Group leader in the science education project: Evolution in Action

Carita seeks to understand adaptive variation in antipredator strategies, like cooperative defence. She looks closely at signals, and the pervading ecological and social conditions.

Her main study species are pine sawflies, but she also works with other prey and predator species.

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Leena Lindström

Professor at the University of Jyväskylä

Leena mainly wants to know about biological invasions: predicting how humans and climate change affect pest species. 

But she also has interests in how predators can select for both cryptic and conspicuous colouration.

Anne Lyytinen

Senior Planning Officer at the University of Jyväskylä

Sami Merilaita

Lecturer at the University of Turku (Finland)

Sami is an expert in behavioural ecology, evolutionary ecology, protective coloration and colour polymorphism.

Lauri Mikonranta

Research Associate at the University of York (UK)

Lauri’s research centers on the complex dynamics of interactions between host, pathogen and microbiome.

He also maintains a pretty serious set of camera gear for nature photography

Francisko de Moraes Rezende

Franzisko investigated how variable light conditions affect warning signal efficacy in an aposematic polymorphic moth.


Bibiana Rojas

Academy of Finland Research Fellow at the University of Jyväskylä

Bibiana studies at the intersection of behavioural and evolutionary ecology. She’s an expert on communication and interactions, especially within frogs, moths and birds.

Her current interests focus on tadpole cannibalism and its modulation by parental decisions, alongside disease transmission in wild poison frog populations.

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Elena Rosa

Researcher at Natural Resource Institute of Finland (Luonnonvarakeskus, LUKE)

Elena wants an active role in environmental preservation.

Her PhD thesis investigated the ecological factors that shape immune defense, alongside the trade-offs between immune response and life-history traits.


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Hannah Rowland

Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena (Germany)

Hannah explores the evolution and function of anti-predator defences, including aposematism. 

Katja Rönkä

Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki

Katja just completed her PhD with us, aiming to answer why the Wood Tiger Moth comes in so many colours. Her research involved a variety of techniques, varying from molecular systematics, to behavioural assays, to large-scale predation experiments in the field.

She is now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki.

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Francesca Santostefano

Postdoctoral Researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour (Germany)
Postdoctoral Fellow at Université du Québec à Montréal (Canada)

Francesca is interested in how social interactions among animals shape their behaviours and fitness.

Sanni Silvasti

Sanni studied the behavioural thresholds of blue tit colour vision and the effect of chromatic complexity in finding prey.


Kaisa Suisto

Moth Whisperer

Toomas Tammaru

Professor at the University of Tartu (Estonia)

Toomas is a scientist and naturalist, mainly interested in butterflies and moths around the Holarctic.

He studies their evolutionary and population ecology, so there is much for us to share.

Rose Thorogood

Assistant Professor in Behavioural Ecology, University of Helsinki

Rose uses information ecology theory to better understand coevolution.

Her projects look into how information use by predators affects the evolution of prey defences, and the information conflict between brood-parasitic cuckoos and their hosts.

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Janne Valkonen

Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Jyväskylä

Janne is interested in studying the colouration of whatever snakes and frogs he can find.

He’s also an expert at stats, and a seasoned field worker.

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Anne Winters

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at Exeter University, Cornwall (UK)

Anne researches the chemical defenses of the wood tiger moth, with respect to chemical diversity and the functional roles of different compounds. 

She’s also interested in the costs associated with obtaining chemical defenses, which can help to explain the variation seen in nature.

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