Heikki Hirvonen


    Research areas

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

Description of research and teaching


I am mainly interested in animal behavior: why animals 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 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 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 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. BEET belongs to Integrative Ecology Unit I am leading together with Prof. Veijo kaitala and Prof. Jouni Laakso.


Teaching: I am leading the following courses:

  • Principles of Behavioural Ecology 2 ECT (Käyttäytymisekologian perusteet 2 op)
  • Ecology Field Course 8 ECT (Ekologian kenttäkurssin tutkimusjakso 8 op)
  • Introduction to Zoology - Structure, Function and Evolution 2*3 ECT (Johdatus eläintieteeseen – rakenne, toiminta ja evoluutio 2*3 op)
  • Animals: Life History and Identification 2*3 ECT (Eläintuntemus 2*3 op)
  • Advanced Field Course in Behavioural Ecology 8 ECT (Käyttäytymisekologian syventävä kenttäkurssi 8 op)
  • Behavioural Ecology of Mammals 3 ECT (Nisäkkäiden käyttäytymisekologia 3 op)
Further information on the affiliationDepartment of Biosciences, Principal Investigator / Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution Team / Integrative Ecology Unit

Latest publications

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

    Kortet, R., Lautala, T., Kekalainen, J., Taskinen, J. & Hirvonen, H. Nov 2017 In : Ecology and Evolution. 7, 21, p. 8780-8787 8 p.

    Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

  2. Biologian kenttäopetus yliopistoissa: yhteistyöllä uuteen nousuun

    Komonen, A., Nyman, T., Tahvanainen, T., Hirvonen, H. J., Eeva, T., Huttunen, S., Hänninen, J., Koivula, M., Koskela, E., Markkola, A., Muurinen, L., Mäkinen, K., Nappu, N., Nordström, M. C., von Numers, M., Sundell, J. J. & Sääksjärvi, I. E. 2017 In : Yliopistopedagogiikka. 24, 2, p. 52-54 3 p.

    Research output: ProfessionalArticle

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

    Gruber, C., Tulonen, J., Kortet, R. & Hirvonen, H. Aug 2016 In : Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 70, 8, p. 1305-1317 13 p.

    Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

View all (94) »

Latest activities

  1. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Hirvonen, H. (Reviewer)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Supervision of Master's thesis

    Hirvonen, H. (Supervisor)

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

  3. Vice director of The Doctoral Programme in Wildlife Biology (LUOVA)

    Hirvonen, H. (Supervisor)
    2017 → …

    Activity: ExaminationAssistant director of or other significant role in doctoral programme

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Latest prizes

  1. Olli's Prize

    Heikki Hirvonen (Recipient), 1993

    Prize: Prizes and awards

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Highlighted projects

  1. QNHE: Quality of Norwegian Higher Education: Pathways, Practices and Performances

    Hovdhaugen, E., VabØ, A., Stensaker, B., Maassen, P., Nerland, M., PrØitz, T., De Lange, T., Lindblom, S., Hyytinen, H., Haarala-Muhonen, A., Virtanen, V. & Hirvonen, H.

    Research Council of Norway


    Project: Research project

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