Photo of Marjo Saastamoinen
  • Finland

  • Viikinkaari 1, Biocentre 3

    00790 Helsinki


  • PL 65 (Viikinkaari 1)



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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

Species in the wild are constantly faced with environmental variation, for example, in resource availability. The ability to cope with, react or even adapt to such environmental stress is therefore essential. We are using the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia) as a study system to investigate how genetic variation underpinning individual differences in key life-history traits are influenced by environmental conditions during development, life history trade-offs and ecological factors that vary among populations. This system offers a unique opportunity to study these questions, as long term data on the population dynamics and ecologically relevant information are available for more than 500 local-populations of the butterfly, key life-history traits can be assesses for large number of individuals, and the molecular tools are now available for this species to apply genomic research to ecologically relevant traits.

Our project on the ecological immunology in the Glanville fritillary butterfly was initiated in 2013. The projects aims to understand whether developmental conditions can work as predictive cues guiding individual's later life immune responses in an adaptive way, whether such responses can last across generations, and what is the influence of high immune defence investment on other key life-history traits under semi-natural conditions. We are using molecular and genomic tools to assess the role of genetic and epigenetic variation in shaping immune defence as a response to developmental stress.

Link to webpage:




  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.

Publications 2005 2019

Developmental stage-dependent response and preference for host plant quality in an insect herbivore

Salgado, A. L. & Saastamoinen, M., 1 Mar 2019, In : Animal Behaviour. 150, p. 27-38 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Moderate plant water stress improves larval development, and impacts immunity and gut microbiota of a specialist herbivore

Rosa, E., Minard, G., Lindholm, J. & Saastamoinen, M., 20 Feb 2019, In : PLoS One. 14, 2, 13 p., 0204292.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

A plant pathogen modulates the effects of secondary metabolites on the performance and immune function of an insect herbivore

Rosa, E., Woestmann, L., Biere, A. & Saastamoinen, M., Oct 2018, In : Oikos. 127, 10, p. 1539-1549 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Environmental and genetic control of cold tolerance in the Glanville fritillary butterfly

de Jong, M. A. & Saastamoinen, M., May 2018, In : Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 31, 5, p. 636-645 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Frontiers in Metapopulation Biology: The Legacy of Ilkka Hanski

Ovaskainen, O. T. & Saastamoinen, M. A. K., 2018, In : Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. 49, p. 231-252 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Finnish Academy PhD-thesis award

Marjo Saastamoinen (Recipient), 2008

Prize: Prizes and awards

Activities 2007 2017

Post doctoral Advisor - Anniina Mattila

Marjo Saastamoinen (Supervisor)
Jan 2017 → …

Activity: Examination typesPost doctoral mentor

ESEB 2017

Marjo Saastamoinen (Member of organizing committee)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

PhD- thesis supervision - Torsti Schultz

Marjo Saastamoinen (Supervisor)
2017 → …

Activity: Examination typesSupervisor or co-supervisor of doctoral thesis

Seminar at the University College London (UCL)

Marjo Saastamoinen (Attendee)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Talks

Supervision of MSc student

Marjo Saastamoinen (Supervisor)

Activity: Examination typesSupervision of other thesis (Master's, Licentiate)