Anna-Liisa Laine

Professor of Plant Biodiversity
University of Helsinki, Finland

Director of the Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme

Director of the Research Centre for Ecological Change

Understanding biodiversity for a better future.

We study ecosystems from the top down and from the bottom up to understand how the world stays green.

The interactions that link species to one another are the building blocks of biodiversity. In our work we are broadly interested in the eco-evolutionary feedback loops that drive species interactions.
To uncover these, we combine experimental, and molecular approaches with field surveys and mathematical modelling. These complementary approaches allow us to pinpoint the processes by which natural communities are structured and how they function.
This offers irreplaceable insight to understand how our biodiversity is responding to ongoing global change, and how we can improve sustainability of the global food production system.


Ilona Peltoniemi
Research Technician
Greenhouse, laboratory, field

Krista Raveala
Project Planner
Fieldwork, data management, illustrations

Andréa Davrinche
Post doc
Plant ecology, biodiversity, functional traits

Luiz Domeignoz Horta
Post doc
Microbial ecology, diversity

Michael Giolai
Post doc
Plant pathogen interactions, genomics

Tuuli Rissanen
Post doc
Species-environment relationships, biodiversity

Hanna Susi
Post doc

Paula Thitz
Post doc
Plant-invertebrate interactions
Carbon Action

Maija Jokinen
PhD student
Molecular biology, viruses

Sara Leino
PhD student
Plant-microbe interactions

Michael Rechsteiner
PhD student
co-supervisor Prof. Dr.Andreas Wagner

Marie-louise Spalinger
MSc student
Supervisor Dr. Luiz Domeignoz-Horta
Soil ecology, diversity, nature


Key Research Themes

Long-term ecology

Long-term nature observation series are indispensable records of how individual populations and species are responding to environmental change. In the Research Centre for Ecological Change we are systematically collecting long-term ecological data for an unprecedented syntheses of how communities of organisms are responding to change.

Biodiversity in a changing world

We are studying how natural communities are responding to global change and how interactions among species across trophic levels are changing as well.

Global plant demography

As part of PlantPopNet, we are driving a coordinated global effort combining data and theory to understand abiotic and biotic drivers of population persistence and distribution in a changing world.

Biological diversity and sustainable food production

Humans have intensified and mechanized agricultural processes in an effort to boost efficiency, productivity and profits. As a result, global food systems are increasingly generating severe social, environmental, economic and climate costs. We are investigating how mechanisms that promote stability in natural ecosystems could be utilized to develop sustainable and climate-smart food production systems.

Intraspecific variation in host-parasite interactions

Understanding how diversity is maintained in host and parasite populations is one of the core challenges in disease biology. Using long-term population dynamic data combined with genomics and experimentation, we address this question in a natural plant-pathogen interaction. This work brings us one step closer to answering questions of how risks of virulence and pathogen occurrence evolve – important questions from both basic and applied points of view.

Pathogen communities

Across biological systems it is becoming increasingly clear that host populations and even single host individuals are typically exploited by diverse pathogen communities. In our work we aim to understand the spatio-temporal determinants of this diversity, and what the eco-evolutionary implications are for both hosts and pathogens.



Funded by the European Union (ERC, Co-EvoChange, 101097545). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Council Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

Academy of Finland

Jane & Aatos Erkko Foundation

Nessling Foundation

University of Zürich

University of Helsinki


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Anna-Liisa Laine
Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
PO Box 65 (Viikinkaari 1)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland

Email: anna-liisa.laine[at]
Twitter: @annaliisalaine