Heikki Helanterä

PhD, docent
Professor, head of research unit
Evolutionary biology, genetics, ecology

Ecology and Genetics
Faculty of Science

An anthill and a person standing next to it

I see sociality, cooperation, conflict and communication practically everywhere. My main study system is Formica ants, especially their social evolution and genetics. I combine many approaches to reach a multi-faceted view on social evolution. I work on genomics and transcriptomics, behaviour, chemical ecology and theoretical and conceptual approaches to evolution. In addition to ants and other social insects, my second main interest is the major transitions in evolution. I carry out theoretical, philosophical and empirical analyses on the similarities and differences between transitions in complexity, such as evolution of multicellularity and evolution of superorganismal insect societies. I also lead the Ötökkäakatemia ("Bug Academy") science communication project

Research interests

  • Social evolution, social insects, genetics, genomics, behavioural ecology, evolutionary theory

Researcher information

Researcher profiles

Contact information



Visiting address

Linnanmaa campus, room B245

Postal address

Ecology and Genetics research unit
POB 3000
FI-90014 University of Oulu