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Leaders of different study systems projects

Ecology and genetics Research Unit
Mathematical Sciences Research Unit


Gulo gulo

Ongoing studies

  • Wolverine genetics and phylogeography across Eurasia (Gerhardus Lansink, Dominika Bujnakova)
  • Finnish wolverine diet using isotope analysis (Clement Masse)
  • Fennoscandian wolverine genetics (Gerhardus Lansink)
  • Population dynamics including genetic effects (Diego Rondon Bautista)
  • Finnish wolverine genomics (Suvi Ponnikas)

Past studies

  • Finnish wolverine genetics (Gerhardus Lansink)
  • Finnish wolverine diet using scat analysis (Anni Koskela)

Photo credit: Matti Pihlatie (used with permission)

Grey wolf

Canis lupus

Ongoing studies

  • Finnish wolf genomics (Suvi Ponnikas)
  • Skull morphology of Fennoscandian wolves (Dominika Bujnakova)
  • Global wolf morphology patterns (Dominika Bujnakova)
  • Population dynamics including genetic effects (Diego Rondon Bautista)

Past studies

  • Finnish wolf genetics (Jenni Harmoinen, Alina Niskanen, Eeva Jansson)
  • Finnish wolf pedigree (Jenni Harmoinen)

Photo credit: Jari Peltomäki / Finnature (used with permission)

Brown bear

Ursus arctos

Past studies

  • Bear telemetry and home range patterns (Astrid Olejarz, Alina Niskanen, Jenni Harmoinen)
  • Bear genetics (Alexander Kopatz)

Indian leopard

Panthera pardus fusca

Ongoing studies

  • Genetic diversity and structure of leopard populations using microsatellite markers (Daniela Salazar)
  • Gene flow and migration between leopard sub-populations (Daniela Salazar)
  • Diet analysis of leopard populations in human dominated landscapes (Micro-histological and metabarcoding) (Daniela Salazar)

Photo credit: Wenzel Pinto (used with permission)

Saimaa ringed seal

Phoca hispida saimensis

Ongoing studies

  • Past history of Saimaa seal based on museum samples (Matti Heino, Jenni Harmoinen, Jouni Aspi, Laura Kvist)

Photo credit: Mervi Kunnasranta (used with permission)


Equus caballus
Breed: Finnhorse

Ongoing studies

  • Equine metabolic syndrome genetics (Laura Kvist)
  • Insect bite hypersensitivity genetics (Laura Kvist)
  • History of the breed (using genetics of historic and ancient samples) (Laura Kvist)

Past studies

  • Selection, inbreeding and history using genomics of modern samples (Laura Kvist)

Photo credit: Heidi Salo

Semi-domesticated Reindeer

Rangifer tarandus tarandus

Ongoing studies

  • Finnish semi-domesticated reindeer diets using stable isotope analysis (Tamara Hiltunen)
  • Finnish semi-domesticated reindeer movement ecology and habitat selection (Tamara Hiltunen)
  • Past evolutionary history and phylogeography of reindeer (Matti Heino)

Past studies

  • History of the semi-domesticated reindeer using ancient DNA (Matti Heino)

Photo credit: Tamara Hiltunen

Wild Forest Reindeer

Rangifer tarandus fennicus

Ongoing studies

  • Wild forest reindeer ecology and habitat selection (Viivi Puoskari)

Photo credit: Pekka Kilpeläinen (male wild forest reindeer on the left and male semi-domesticated reindeer on the right)

Svalbard Reindeer

Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus

Past studies

  • Svalbard reindeer late winter diets using stable isotope analysis (Tamara Hiltunen)

Photo credit: Tamara Hiltunen

Bean goose

Anser fabalis

Ongoing studies

  • Subspecies composition of bean goose hunting bags in Finland, Sweden and Estonia & development of subspecies photo identification method (Johanna Honka)
  • Environmental DNA-based detection method for bean geese (Johanna Honka)

Past studies

  • Genetic population structure of bean geese breeding in Finland (Johanna Honka)
  • Bean goose hunting bag subspecies composition in Finland in 2010-2013 (Johanna Honka)

Lesser white-fronted goose

Anser erythropus

Ongoing studies

  • Mapping of potential breeding sites of the endangered Fennoscandian lesser white-fronted goose in Finnish Lapland using environmental DNA (Johanna Honka, Laura Kvist, Jouni Aspi)

Past studies

  • Genetic population structure and phylogeography of lesser white-fronted geese (Minna Ruokonen, Laura Kvist)
  • Genetic composition of captive bred lesser white-fronted geese (Minna Ruokonen, Laura Kvist)

Photo credit: Tapio Kostet/WWF Kiljuhanhityöryhmä

Domestic goose and its progenitor greylag goose

Anser anser

Ongoing studies

  • Stable isotope analyses of archaeological finds of Russian and Finnish domestic geese (Johanna Honka, Laura Kvist)

Past studies

  • Ancient DNA of Russian archaeological domestic geese (Johanna Honka)
  • Domestication of the greylag goose and hybridization between domestic and greylag goose (Marja Heikkinen)
  • Genetic population structure of domestic and greylag goose (Marja Heikkinen)

Photo credit: Johanna Honka (greylag goose on the left and domestic goose on the right)

Golden eagle

Aquila chrysaetos

Ongoing studies

  • Population structure and genetic diversity of golden eagles in Finland and across Eurasia using mtDNA and nuclear markers (Ekaterina Karabanina)
  • Turnover in Finnish golden eagles (Aure Kylmänen, Ekaterina Karabanina, Suvi Ponnikas, Laura Kvist)
  • Population dynamics including genetic effects (Diego Rondon Bautista)

Past studies

  • Breeding habitat requirements and distribution of suitable habitat of the Finnish Golden Eagle (Suvi Ponnikas)

Photo credit: Jarkko Järvinen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Moor frog

Rana arvalis

Ongoing studies

  • Environmental DNA-based detection method for moor frog (Suvi Olli)

Photo credit: Aleksandrs Balodis (CC-BY-SA-4.0)

Breadcrumb sponge

Halichondria panicea

Ongoing studies

  • Investigating the genetic diversity of breadcrumb sponges across the populations around the North Sea (Joseph Lawrence, Lumi Viljakainen, Øystein Varpe, Laura Kvist)

Photo credit: Joseph Lawrence

Past study systems


  • Bank vole (Myodes glareolus)
  • Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris)
  • Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx)
  • Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus)
  • Moose (Alces alces)
  • Flying squirrel (Pteromys volans)


  • Kestler (Falco tinnunculus)
  • Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)
  • Southern dunlin (Calidris alpina schinzii)
  • Temminck’s tint (Caldris temmickii)
  • Terek sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)
  • Great tit (Parus major)
  • Blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus, Cyanistes teneriffae)
  • Willow tit (Poecile montanus)
  • White-tailed sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)
  • Trumpeter finch (Bucanetes githagineus)
  • Reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)


  • Tartarian catchfly (Silene tatarica)
  • Creeping alkali grass (Puccinellia phryganodes)
  • Dark-red helleborine (Epipactis atrorubens)
  • Siberian primrose (Primula nutans)
  • (Viola uliginosa)
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