Sawfly larvae

Ongoing projects

Investment in cooperative antipredator defences under variable ecological and social conditions

The evolution of costly cooperative behaviour is puzzling if individuals not contributing on the cooperative act will gain same benefits but with lower costs than cooperative individuals (dilemma of public goods). This project focuses to investigate how costs and benefits of cooperation and exploitation change under various ecological, social and environmental conditions. Expected results will provide important information on ecological and evolutionary processes that shape the optimization of various cooperative strategies such as cooperative antipredator defence and parental care. As a study species I use gregarious, chemically defended but cryptically coloured pine sawfly larvae (Neodiprion sertifer, Diprion pini and Neodiprion lecontei) and aposematic burying beetles (Nicrophorus vespilloides, collaboration with the Kilner-group).

Sawfly larvae

I collaborate with:

Trade-offs in warning signal expression

This work focuses on the costs and benefits of warning signal production and maintenance. Studying the selective environment of prey animals as a whole and acknowledging that aposematic individuals have to cope with a range of selection pressures that affect the optimisation of their defences are both important to understanding the diversity of aposematic strategies observed in the wild. I am especially interested in the possible constraints for warning signal production such as costs linked to immunology, pigment production, chemical defence, reliability of warning signals, predator perception and sensory ecology. I am using the aposematic wood tiger moth Parasemia plantaginis and aposematic pine sawfly Neodiprion lecontei (collaboration with the Linnen lab) as study species.

P. plantaginis male

I collaborate with

Optimal signalling

It is likely that the cost:benefit ratio of being conspicuous will vary in space and time depending on multiple factors such as predator community structure and the amount of alternative prey. This project aims to test how frequencies of aposematic and camouflaged prey items affect predators' prey preferences in the wild, and how human-induced variation in environmental conditions affects the efficacy of protective colouration. This work is done in collaboration with

Burying beetle


My work has been/is funded by the Academy of Finland, the Centre of Excellence in Biological Interactions, the Centre of Excellence in Evolutionary Ecology, Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation and the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.




University of Jyväskylä
Dpt. of Biological and Environmental Science
P.O. Box 35
FI-40014 University of Jyväskylä


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