Alexander Kopatz, PhD

Former PhD Student
Current Position: 
Mailing Address: 
Norwegian institute for nature research
Postal address: P.O. Box 5685 Torgarden, NO-7485 Trondheim, Norway
Street Address: 
Høgskoleringen 9, 7034 Trondheim, Norway

Research and Interests:

I studied in Oulu the genetics of the brown bear in Finland and its population structure, dispersal and connection to Russian and Scandinavian bear populations. The objectives are to reveal the genetic structure of the population in Finland and study the connection and dispersal from and towards Russia and Scandinavia. Furthermore, I want to investigate the effect of hunting on the brown bear population in Finland. Soon after I arrived in Finland, I wanted to apply non-invasive techniques to research the large carninvores in this country. Together with my supervisors Ilpo Kojola, Jouni Aspi and Minna Ruokonen as well as my collaborators in Scandinavia and Russia, we built up a project which investigates the brown bears in Northern Europe. I defnded my thesis "Genetic structure of the brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Northern Europe" in 2014.

Profile and Background:

During my studies of Biology at the University of Kiel and University of Mainz in Germany my interest in big mammals, their ecology, behaviour and genetics got stronger and stronger. My first contact with them as a student was working with Great Apes in the Zoological Garden Frankfurt. From that on I wanted to research mammals especially large carnivores, misunderstood due to lack of knowledge, it became clear, that studying ecology of large mammals or carnivores in a bigger scale without looking at their genetics would be difficult, whatever I would try to investigate. First, practical steps in molecular ecology I got at the Animal Ecology unit at the University of Mainz and biological anthropology, human forensics and forensic entomology at the University of Kiel and Institute of Forensic Medicine in Frankfurt. As well interested in the evolution of communication and signals, my final thesis looked on human mating behaviour and investigated the role of body motion in nonverbal communication. Just finished with my studies I worked for the WWF Germany and after that I went to Portugal for the research and census of the Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) before I came to Finland to work as a wolf tracker for the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute researching wolves in different parts of the country.




During my work, especially in the field and beside my research I do photography, a hobby well represented among wildlife biologists. Whenever there is time for sport, I like practicing Capoeira, football and sailing. Complete relaxation I gain outside in the forest or while listening to funky rare grooves on vinyl.