Marjo Saastamoinen


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.

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Latest publications

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Landscape permeability and individual variation in a dispersal-linked gene jointly determine genetic structure in the Glanville fritillary butterfly

    DiLeo, M. F., Husby, A. & Saastamoinen, M., Dec 2018, In : Evolution Letters. 2, 6, p. 544-556 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Latest activities

  1. Post doctoral Advisor - Anniina Mattila

    Marjo Saastamoinen (Supervisor)
    Jan 2017 → …

    Activity: Examination typesPost doctoral mentor

  2. ESEB 2017

    Marjo Saastamoinen (Member of organizing committee)

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

  3. PhD- thesis supervision - Torsti Schultz

    Marjo Saastamoinen (Supervisor)
    2017 → …

    Activity: Examination typesSupervisor or co-supervisor of doctoral thesis

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Latest prizes

  1. Finnish Academy PhD-thesis award

    Marjo Saastamoinen (Recipient), 2008

    Prize: Prizes and awards

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