Recent Highlights


Our new paper testing for signs of selection at candidate barrier loci underlying speciation is finally submitted and also found from bioRxiv: doi:


Congratulations to Ina for receiving a 4-year PhD funding for her thesis about the role of gene networks in speciation!


Together with Rose Thorogood and Bendik Ferkingstad we had an exciting day figuring out how to best test mate choice. We were a bit puzzled as to why the males choose to mate with other males rather than a female. At the same time we had a journalist and a photographer visiting us from Sweden who had quite innovative angles for pictures.


Congrats Ina for graduation and getting a grant to start PhD studies!


I visited Y.E.S. daycare to talk about ants and evolution. Fittingly, the daycare group was called bugs =)! We talked about queens, workers and ant language.



The first sampling trip of the season is always exciting. Today was especially exciting as Pierre was joining us for the first time and we were trying to find the old queens (which are tricky to sample any other time of the year except early spring) for Jack’s project. We had a good catch!



We had an enjoyable trip to Tvärminne, our field site. Simon Martin from the University of Cambridge joined us in a weekend full of brainstorming, skiing, cooking and chatting. We even had a dip in the sea after Sauna.


March 2018

We are excited to have two new people joining the group! Research intern Monika Bhalke will look at variation in endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia within the hybrid ants and Post doc Pierre Nouhaud will be leading a project to study genomic variation between independent hybrid populations within the Formica rufa group.

January 2018

We are sad to say goodbye to Lucy who will start a job at Illumina (Cambridege), but happy to welcome Ina Satokangas who started in our team as a research assistant.

August 2017

Lucy Pluckrose joined our team as a research assistant and Ann-Kristin Dicke is visiting to do a German exchange project (RISE).

June 2017

I was awarded the HiLIFE fellowship by University of Helsinki.

May 2017

I was awarded the Academy of Finland post doctoral fellowship.

February 2017

Speciation meeting in Italy was amazing! Lots of new ideas and interesting talks. I was extremely honored to be voted to present my talk at the GRC Speciation meeting.

February 2017

My project “SpecIAnt: Speciation In Ants” got Marie Curie funding!

October 2016

My former MSc student Jack Beresford from UK joined me in Finland! He is starting a PhD to study hybridizing ants and starting with a challenging task of comparing 74 transcriptomes with each other.

August 2016

Our article on seasonal sex ratio variation in Formica pratensis was published in Evolution.

January 2016

Together with Master’s student Jack Beresford we finished making library preps for 75 ant transcriptomes!

May 2015

I took part in an innovative project called Virtual Life Science. It’s a partnership between Sheffield University, Rawmarsh Community School and artist Paul Evans. Over the course of six months pupils from Year 9 will research, design and develop a series of artworks based on the work of eight life science researchers.

April 2015

Our application in SURE was successful and Lucy Pluckrose, second year student at the University of Sheffield will join me for the summer. Her project will look at changes in a hybrid ant population during 15 year sampling period.

Two other students have also joined me in my hybrid ant project. Jack Beresford is trying to identify new hybrid ant populations using mitochondrial and microsatellite data and Sam Morris is working in the lab and doing OnCampUS Placement.

February 2015

I was awarded a grant from Finnish Cultural Foundation for my project “Genetic and epigenetic basis of speciation in wood ants”.

October 2014

I was thrilled to hear my presentation was at the top 3 and was awarded a prize at a recent Finnish Molecular Ecology Symposium!

September 2014

I moved to Sheffield, UK! I am very happy to be working at the University of Sheffield, Department of Animal and Plant sciences as a post doctoral fellow.

August 2014

Our latest article on wood ant hybridization was published in PNAS! Here we show that introgression and gene flow between related species is at the same time selected for and against depending on sex (or more likely ploidy as in ants the females are diploid and males haploid). Female hybrids are selected for, but male hybrids die early in development.

June 2014

A joined effort in analyzing expression, structure and molecular evolution of one of the key genes affecting social behaviour, Vitellogenin, resulted in a paper in Molecular Biology and Evolution!

This was noted in Finnish news websites.


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