Keyword: Department of Biology

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Research at the Department of Biology

We have a strong, versatile and internationally recognized research agenda in ecology, animal physiology, genetics and evolutionary biology. Many of our research projects integrate over the levels of biological organization and involve multi-disciplinary collaborations.

Department of Biology

We explore life and biological evolution in a range of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The Department of Biology is one of the scientifically most productive units of the University and successfully educates experts at all degree levels.

Destruction of Species – Researchers Discuss Biodiversity Crisis


Nature is becoming less diverse all across the globe, which is also threatening the future of humankind. Researchers emphasise the fact that there is still hope, but now is the time to act.

​Professors Kari Saikkonen and Ilari E. Sääksjärvi emphasise the need for protecting natural forests that are home to diverse species. In Finland, forests cover over 70% of the country’s surface area, but especially in the south most of it is commercial forest.

Amazon Research Team Wants to Open Its Collections


The University of Turku's Amazon Research Team's (UTU-ART) botanical acquisitions focus especially on ferns and medinilla plants. After spending weeks in the jungle, the researchers’ plant specimen findings end up in the University's Herbarium and databases. The Amazonia is home to innumerable unknown species and therefore it is important to develop the databases.

​A specimen belonging to the Amazon Research Team's collections

Studying at the Department of Biology

Studying biology at our department consists of an essential combination of theory and practice from the first year on. Practical studies in our laboratories are conducted in small groups led by experienced scientists, whereas field courses take place in our various research stations, from the marine environment in southern archipelago to the tundras of northern Lapland.

Shared Lifetime of Grandmothers and Grandchildren Significantly Increased Since 1800s


The importance of grandmothers in the lives of their grandchildren has changed. The shared lifetime between grandmothers and their grandchildren has a fundamental effect on how grandparents and grandchildren influence each other. A study conducted by biologists at the University of Turku, based on Finnish parish registers, indicates that, in this agrarian society, the shared lifetime of grandchildren and their grandmothers was short.

Capturing Elephants from the Wild Shortens Their Lives


Humans have been capturing wild Asian elephants for more than 3,000 years for different purposes, and this still continues today despite the fact that the populations are declining. An international team of researchers has now analysed records of timber elephants in Myanmar to understand the effects of capture on the animals and their survival. The study shows that even years after their capture, wild-caught elephants’ mortality rate remains increased, and their average life expectancy is several years shorter compared to captive-born animals.

New Wasp Species with a Giant Stinger Discovered in Amazonia


Researchers from the University of Turku, Finland have discovered a new wasp species in the Amazon which has an exceptionally large stinger that surprised even the scientists. The new insect, which is found in the extremely diverse transitional zone between the Andes and the Amazonian lowland rainforest, uses its stinger both for laying eggs and injecting venom.