All of life is social (SA Frank 2007)

Heikki Helanterä

PhD, docent

Associate Professor (tenure track)
Evolutionary biology, genetics, ecology

60 peer reviewed publications in international journals. The publications have been cited 2167 times, of which the most cited publication accounts for 172 citations. The author has a h-index of 24.00. (Google Scholar)


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 am also working in a multidisciplinary project on applying evolutionary theory to sustainable resource use by humans.

Research interests

  • Social evolution, ants, social insects, evolutionary genetics, behaviour