Heikki Hirvonen
1980 …2019

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching


I am mainly interested in animal behavior: how do animals behave and why do they behave the way they do? I examine how evolutionary and environmental factors influence behavioural decisions of individuals, and what are the consequences of individuals’ behavioural decisions on ecological phenomena on individual, population and community levels.

For some reason, my research is often focused on behavioural mechanisms of predator-prey interactions. Much of my research integrates behavioural approaches with genetics and physiology in order to reveal underlying mechanisms of behaviour.

I am also interested in applying behavioural approaches to conservation biology and animal welfare, e.g. by developing behaviour-based solutions to practical conservation and animal welfare. As model species I mainly use aquatic animals, currently main target taxa include salmonid fishes and crayfish, but also production animals.

Besides research on animals, I am involved in national and international research projects aimed at developing teaching and learning of ecology in higher education.

I am leading the research group Ecology and Evolution Team (BEET) currently consisting of one post-doc researcher, three PhD-students and four MSc-students.


Teaching: I am leading the following courses:

  • EEB-208 Behavioral Ecology and Social Evolution 10 ECT
  • BIO-301 Field Course in Ecological Research 10 ECT (Ekologisen tutkimuksen kenttäkurssi 10 op)
  • BIO-102 Animals and Plants: Structure and Function 2*5 ECTS, animal part (Eläin- ja kasvikunnan rakenne 2*5 op)
  • BIO-103 Animal and Plant Diversity 2*5 ECTS, animal part (Eliöiden monimuotoisuus 2*5 op)

Fields of Science

  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
  • Behavioural ecology
  • Conservation biology
  • Predator-prey interactions
  • Aquatic animal ecology
  • Higher education in Ecology

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.