Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution Team

Organisational unit: Research Group

Organisation Profile

Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution Team (BEET) is led by Heikki Hirvonen. Currently Ecology and Evolution Team (BEET) consists of one post-doc researcher, three PhD-students and four MSc-students.


BEET is part of a larger research unit, Integrative Ecology Unit (IKP), which is jointly led by Veijo Kaitala, Heikki Hirvonen and Jouni Laakso.


The research in BEET is mainly focused on behavioural ecology, either directly or indirectly. The questions we ask include:

•    Why animals behave the way they do?
•    How do evolutionary and ecological factors influence behavioural decisions of individuals?
•    What are the consequences of individuals’ behavioural decisions on i) their fitness and on ii) ecological phenomena on population and community levels?
•    How can behavioural approaches be used to solve applied problems, for example in conservation, management and animal welfare?


Our research is often focused on behavioural mechanisms of predator-prey interactions and their effects on population and community dynamics. Much of our research integrates behavioural approaches with genetics and physiology in order to reveal underlying mechanisms of behaviour.


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


Besides research on animals, HH is involved in international research projects aimed at developing methodology for teaching and learning of ecology in higher education.

Latest research outputs

  1. Maternal effects in vulnerability to eye-parasites and correlations between behavior and parasitism in juvenile Arctic charr

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  2. Biologian kenttäopetus yliopistoissa: yhteistyöllä uuteen nousuun

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientific

  3. Resource availability and predation risk influence contest behavior and dominance hierarchies in crayfish

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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