Browsing by Subject "Ekologi och evolutionsbiologi"

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  • Englund, Mikael (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    I present a case study demonstrating how an integrative approach can be applied in systematics to describe a new lepidopteran species and genus. I apply several imaging techniques to provide unambiguous illustrations of diagnostic morphological characters with an emphasis in experimenting non-destructive imaging methods, especially the Micro CT scanning. We establish the taxonomic position and molecular phylogeny of the study species using a multigenetic dataset comprising the study species and 272 other terminal taxa from the superfamily Geometroidea. My study taxon is a largish and conspicuous geometrid moth from South Africa, which we classify to the looper moth family Geometridae, the subfamily Larentiinae of the tribe Xanthorhoini sensu lato. Based on the inspection of the study specimens and all other available information, we conclude that the study specimens belong to a yet undescribed genus and species. During the study, we found out that the species has been present in collections for at least 128 years but has not been formally described. Micro CT scanning was found to be a useful imaging method, particularly when the target structure is flat such as arthropod wing venation, and I recommend it to be applied when dealing with rare specimens. We provide images and description of the known distribution, habitat, host plant, adult and immature stages, and parasitoids of a new species, Chloecolora vergetaria sp. n. Englund & Staude. We intend to publish the formal description of the new genus and species in a separate forthcoming article. Tutkielmassani selitän tieteelle uuden perhossuvun ja -lajin soveltaen useita kuvantamis- ja muita menetelmiä, joiden avulla esitän uudelle lajille tunnusomaiset ulkoiset tuntomerkit. Erityisesti tutkin Micro CT skannauksen ja muiden näytteitä rikkomattomien kuvantamismenetelmien soveltamista integratiivisessa taksonomisessa tutkimuksessa. Selvitämme uuden lajin sukulaisuussuhteet ja taksonomisen paikan käyttäen uuden lajin ja 272 muun mittarimaisten perhosten (Geometroidea) yläheimoon kuuluvan lajin useista geenisekvensseistä koostettua tietokantaa. Tutkimuslajini on suurehko Etelä-Afrikkalainen yöperhonen, jonka luokittelemme kuuluvaksi heimoon mittarit (Geometridae), alaheimoon Larentiinae ja sukukuntaan Xanthorhoini sensu lato. Näyteyksilöiden tutkimuksiin ja kaikkeen muuhun käytössämme olleeseen aineistoon perustuen päättelemme, että näyteyksilöt kuuluvat aiemmin kuvaamattomaan sukuun ja lajiin. Tutkimuksen aikana selvisi, että lajin yksilöitä on ollut tieteellisissä kokoelmissa jo ainakin 128 vuoden ajan, mutta laji on jäänyt vaille muodollista kuvausta. Micro CT skannaus osoittautui käyttökelpoiseksi kuvantamismenetelmäksi erityisesti, kun kuvattava kohde on tasomainen, kuten esimerkiksi niveljalkaisen siipisuonitus - suosittelen sen käyttöä, kun kuvauksen kohteena on harvinainen näyteyksilö. Esitämme uuden lajin, Chloecolora vergetaria sp. n. Englund & Staude, aikuisten sekä sen tunnetun levinneisyyden, elinympäristön, ravintokasvin, kehitysasteiden sekä tunnettujen loisten kuvaukset. Aiomme julkaista uuden suvun ja lajin muodolliset kuvaukset erillisessä artikkelissa.
  • Hyvönen, Hanna (Helsingfors universitet, 2015)
    Northern aapa mires are important carbon sinks. Their CO2 exchange with the atmosphere is based on plant photosynthesis and respiration, and the decomposition of peat and other dead organic matter by microbial activity. The photosynthetic efficiency of plants depends on environmental factors and the amount and development of plant leaf area and biomass. There is not much research on the leaf area index and biomass of plants on aapa mires which makes them an interesting and important subject of research. This study investigated plant community composition, development and their effect on CO2 exchange at a northern aapa mire in Finland. The purpose of this study was to survey the biomass and leaf area index of plants within mire types and determine how they, together with water level and microbial activity, and explain the CO2 exchange between the mire and atmosphere. Another aim of this study was to construct regression models for predicting biomass and leaf area index using the plants height and coverage data. The study was conducted in summer 2014 at Halssiaapa, an aapa mire in Sodankylä. The mire was divided into oligotrophic, mesotrophic and eutrophic hummocks, lawns and hollows. The plant community species, their height and coverage were determined in early June, mid-July and mid-August. Moreover, the growth of plant groups was monitored weekly at 16 inventory squares between 6th June and 18th August. Biomass and leaf area samples were collected from different mire types in mid-July, and by the use of regression analysis, two equations were modelled for each plant group, one for predicting biomass and another for predicting leaf area index. The equations were used for predicting biomass and leaf area index for plant groups and mire types based on early June and mid-August data, and the weekly inventory squares. CO2 exchange, and factors controlling it, were measured via an eddy covariance method (measures exchange at ecosystem scale), and a closed chamber method (measures exchange from 1m2). Biomass, leaf area index, species composition, water level and soil factors (indicators of decomposer activity) were used to explain CO2 fluxes. The activity of decomposers in peat was measured via a decomposition test where litter bags containing tea or straw were placed at sampling sites on the mire. The regression models based on plant sample data explained well the biomass and leaf area indices of plant groups. The mire s overall and maximum biomass and leaf area indices were 147 g m-2 and 0,73 m2 m-2 respectively for vascular plants, and 351 g m-2 and 5,5 m2 m-2 respectively for mosses. Hollows displayed the lowest leaf area index and biomass values, whilst hummocks showed the highest values. Mesotrophic hummocks had the highest values for vascular plants and eutrophic lawns showed the highest values for mosses. Despite having a considerably higher level of biomass and leaf area index than vascular plants, Sphagnum mosses had a much lower gross photosynthetic capacity. Plant communities on lawns and hummocks with an abundancy of sedges (Cyperaceae) had a higher gross photosynthetic capacity and respiration level than plant communities in hollows. Factors leading to increased respiration were increasing vascular leaf area index, release of carbon from straw (indicating decomposer activity), decreasing water level (drier peat) and carbon content in surface peat. Factors leading to increased gross photosynthetic capacity were increasing vascular leaf area index, decreasing water level and decreased straw mass in surface peat (indicating decomposer activity). Temperature and PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) explained 25 % of the variation in gross primary production and 39 % in respiration. The other environmental factors explained 55 % of the residual variation in gross primary production and 78 % in respiration. The mire s gross primary production showed highest increase rate in June and reached its maximum level in early August. Mean plant biomass and leaf area index had the same growth pattern as gross primary production, reaching peak levels at the end of July. The plants Menyanthes trifoliata , Potentilla palustris, Andromeda polifolia and the functional group containing sedges and Scheuchzeria palustris, had a similar growth pattern, but no change in biomass and leaf area index of Betula nana and Vaccinium oxycoccos was detected during the growing season. The models constructed in this study for predicting biomass and leaf area index can be used at Halssiaapa and other nearby aapa mires. Plant surveying and CO2 exchange measurements will be continued at the site in future. Longterm changes in plant community species and CO2 exchange can be researched by comparing results from year 2014 with in coming summers.
  • Zavattoni, Giorgio (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Populations of forest grouse – capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), black grouse (Lyurus tetrix) and hazel grouse (Tetrastes bonasia) - have been declining through all of Europe. Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation are recognized to be the most important ultimate causes behind this trend. In Fennoscandia, there is a general consensus that forestry practices have a primary role, even though the mechanisms are still not fully understood. Nest predation is generally thought to be an important proximate cause of the declines, but how nest predation relates to habitat changes remains poorly understood. I combined long-term data provided by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) from inventory studies, both for grouses and predators, with an artificial nest experiment. I investigated a) how predation rate varies with forest age and landscape structure; b) what is the possible role of non-native mesopredator species as predators; c) how nest predation rate relates to larger scale reproductive success. In spring 2021, I placed 141 nests with two hen eggs each, in the regions of Kainuu and North Karelia for 14 days with camera traps. The nests were equally divided between mature forests (>80 years), young forests (<40 years) and edges of mature forests (in a mature forest 5m from a clearcut or a field). I found that the overall predation rate was low (~13 %) and similar in the three sites, but predation time was faster in mature forests, suggesting that when these are scarce, they can act as an ecological trap by increasing nest detectability. However, nest predation decreased with the increasing of mature forests in the landscape around the nest, supporting the hypothesis that on a larger scale forestry may increase generalist predator densities. Areas with higher predator densities suffered higher nest losses. The main predators were pine martens, badgers and magpies, followed by bears and ravens. No nests were predated by raccoon dogs or American minks. There was no correlation between areas with higher nest predation and areas where grouse had lower reproductive success which may result from other factors, e.g., chick predation. My results add to the diverse outcomes of several studies of grouse nest predation in Europe, which together indicate large variation in nest predation, no consistency in predatory species, and weak effects of landscape composition on nest predation.
  • Hopkins, Tapani (Helsingfors universitet, 2012)
    Quantitative food webs have been used since the 1990s to describe the ecology of ecosystems. Such webs describe not only 'who eats whom' but also how many individuals get eaten, giving a detailed picture of the connections in an ecosystem. This detail allows far-reaching ecological conclusions to be drawn, for all manner of questions ranging from the influence of abiotic and biotic factors on population dynamics to the effect of latitude on ecosystem structure. Currently the webs' greatest limitations are their incompleteness and lack of geographic coverage: most published webs focus on a tiny fragment of the total food web, and there are few webs from higher latitudes. In this thesis I address these limitations, by extending a parasitoid-lepidopteran web which is being collected in the High Arctic. I add data on bird and spider predation of the web's Lepidoptera, and on the lepidopterans' herbivory of their food plants. Specifically, I ask what the relative strengths of predation and parasitism are in this community, and what effect herbivory has on the plants' seed production. I measured predation rates using both live caterpillars and modelling clay dummies as bait. The former, caterpillars of Sympistis nigrita tethered to threads, gave an estimate of both spider and bird predation. The latter showed bird predation only, but gave a larger sample size than tethered caterpillars. For the herbivory rates, I measured the seed production of avens flowers (Dryas octopetala x integrifolia, one of the main lepidopteran food plants) when damaged by feeding caterpillars. I found that predation is an important cause of mortality for S. nigrita, comparable to the high rates of parasitism already observed. During the larval period, some 38% of S. nigrita caterpillars are killed by spiders, 8% by parasitoids and 8% by birds. The caterpillars ate highly variable amounts of avens flowers, with 14.4% of flowers damaged by feeding in a set of 743 flowers, and 8.3% in another set of 672 flowers. The damaged flowers produced fewer and smaller seeds than did undamaged ones, causing overall avens seed production to drop by 7%. Overall, my findings show spider predation to be a relevant addition to the current parasitoid-lepidopteran food web. Bird predation, however, is relatively light – both when compared to spider predation and also to earlier predation rates reported from warmer latitudes. It is nevertheless comparable to the (naively twice as strong) parasitism since almost half the parasites die when their host is predated. When comparing food webs in order to address large scale ecological questions, such as the effect of latitude on food web structure, broader webs may be required instead of the mere parasitoid-host webs produced to date.
  • Pääkkö, Henna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Animal personality is described as consistent behavioural variation between individuals over long periods of time. Behaviours often connected to animal personality are such as boldness, aggressiveness, and anxiety. In this thesis, the focus was on the behaviours along the shy-bold axis, containing various degrees of boldness expressing behaviour. The study was conducted by using long-term data from the past 30 years on the banded mongoose (Mungos mungo) population in the Mweya Peninsula in the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. In particular, I used the data on regular weighing events done within the population. As the weighing is not forced on these individuals, the participation percentage on these events can be used to describe an individual’s boldness. I used the participation percentage as a boldness index (values between 0 and 1) for each individual to describe their position on the shy-bold axis. This index was then used to analyse the differences between sexes, and the fitness effects boldness had on the individuals of this population by using proxies of survival, weight at sexual maturity and lifetime reproductive success (LRS). To determine long-term consistency between individuals, I analysed the repeatability of the boldness index. The repeatability of these values showed we can consider this behaviour as an animal personality. From the fitness analyses, it was concluded that boldness had significant positive effects on the fitness proxies used, proposing that bold individuals have higher fitness in this population. While sex did not affect an individual’s boldness, it had significant interactions with boldness, affecting the strength of fitness effects on individuals in weight at sexual maturity and LRS.
  • Lindholm, Sara (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    No comprehensive research has been conducted on matriculation examinations in biology. This kind of data are needed, however, as evaluation (e.g. challenges and contents of test assignments) direct the way students study and learn and what they consider important in the taught matter. Thus, it is impossible to say, if the tests really measure core knowledge of biology, or just fragmentary facts. The aim of this study was to provide information on the challenges and contents of matriculation examination in biology and to provide, for the first time, comprehensive information on the factors affecting competence. The results of the study can be used to evaluate the impact of the new curriculum of upper secondary school and to support the development of the new electronic matriculation examination assignments. The research questions were: 1. How do the test tasks of biology matriculation examination measure the core content and the levels of both knowledge and cognitive dimensions? 2. Are the types of test assignments, knowledge and cognitive dimensions distributed equally between all core contents? 3. Do the results vary among a) the examinations, b) the type of tasks, c) the core contents or d) the knowledge and cognitive dimensions? 4. Is the competence of a) task type or b) knowledge or cognitive dimension levels, subject to the different types of core contents? 5. How does gender explain the choice and competence of different tasks? The qualitative content analysis was used to identify the different aspects; the task types (selected response, brief constructed response or performance-based assessment), the knowledge dimensions (factual, conceptual or procedural knowledge) and the cognitive process dimensions (remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate or create). The content variation of matriculation exam was examined and classified using the biological core contents. The data comprised matriculation examinations in biology from spring 2011 to spring 2015 (9 exams, 108 tasks). Additionally, statistical analyses were used to examine how the test subjects (n = 28,777) succeeded in these different assignments and whether girls and boys were equally successful. The task type "selected response" was considered only in four (out of 108) tasks. All levels of knowledge dimensions were found but higher level cognitive processes, such as "analyse" or "create" were not required; the main emphasis in the tasks was in the understanding of conceptual knowledge. The majority of the tasks dealt with the core content "From the molecules to the organisms", i.e. the focus was on biological structures and processes. The analysis of scores obtained in the tests showed that the total scores were higher in the autumn examinations than in the spring examinations and that the scores had been steadily declining. The achievement in the task was most influenced by the type of task and the required level of cognitive process. The interest and knowledge varied between different core contents. Biological evolution appeared to be the most interesting topic to students and had also the highest scores. The girls mastered biology generally better than the boys, but the difference between the sexes was minimal in tasks requiring some form of applied aspect. In particular, the boys excelled the girls in tasks related to ecosystems which mostly required applications. The study also showed other factors affecting student achievement, one of the most significant being the impact of the use or non-use of verbs in the assignment. If the assignment lacked a verb describing what the task requires (e.g. distinguish, subtract, describe), the candidates managed the task poorly. Structural aspects of the task seem to have a great impact especially on the boys' level of knowledge. Future research should classify assignments, for example through assignment instruction guidance or visual interaction on knowledge.
  • Schwenk, Cindy Emilia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Breeding-dispersal and philopatry are important life-history traits when it comes to the ecology of animals. A number of factors such as sex, age, habitat stability, population density, predation and various environmental factors influence the movement patterns of species. Philopatry, in general, can be used by organisms as a predator avoidance strategy and to improve feeding efficiency. Dispersal on the other hand has been shown to help avoid inbreeding and competition within groups or between kin. Among the different types of dispersal and philopatry, breeding dispersal and site fidelity to breeding sites have been studied in many vertebrates. Many birds and some ungulate species have been the focus of these studies and have shown that breeding success influences site fidelity. Among ungulates, the reindeer genus (Rangifer tarandus spp.) however, has received little attention for this topic. A species of special conservational value is the wild forest reindeer (Rangifer tarandus fennicus), which is a rare, and near-threatened subspecies of reindeer living in Finland. Knowledge of factors influencing the dispersal and site fidelity for this species is lacking but has important implications for the conservation and management of this and other vulnerable species. In my thesis I investigated the philopatry of wild forest reindeer females from eastern Finland and tested if the calving site fidelity was influenced by breeding success, predator pressure and the female’s age. Given the high densities of predators in the study area (Kainuu) and thus high predator pressure on reindeer, I expected (i) the philopatry of the wild forest reindeer female’s to be stronger in areas with higher predator pressure but (ii) higher dispersal movement when wild forest reindeer females had no breeding success the previous year. Additionally, I expected (iii) the dispersal distances of wild forest reindeer females to be negatively correlated with their age. For this study I used long-term GPS monitoring data of 53 collared wild forest reindeer females, which were followed for varying periods (2-6 years) between 2010-2021 from Eastern Finland. I found that the inter-year distances between calving sites per female had a median distance of 2.84 km, confirming that female wild forest reindeer show philopatry to calving sites, as do other reindeer subspecies. Even though the movement ranged from 4.8 m to 36.99 km, showing substantially longer dispersal for some individuals. The model outcomes indicate some association between predation pressure and site fidelity, and reduced philopatry following calf mortality, although none of these associations were significant. The age of the mother did also not show any significant influence on a female’s site fidelity. Nonetheless, these results would suggest that a mother's choice to leave or return to the same calving site might be influenced by the previous year's calf mortality but more complex variables like anthropogenic disturbances, environmental factors, as well as intrinsic factors and the physical condition of the mother most likely also play a role in this.
  • Lindholm, Tanja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Suomesta tavataan kaksi majavalajia: alkuperäinen euroopanmajava (Castor fiber) ja vieraslaji amerikanmajava (Castor canadensis). Euroopanmajava metsästettiin sukupuuttoon 1800–luvulla ja viimeinen euroopanmajava ammuttiin tiettävästi Sallan Eniönjoesta vuonna 1868. Vuonna 1935 aloitettiin majavien uudelleenistutukset 17 Norjasta tuodulla euroopanmajavalla. Vuonna 1937 Suomen majavakantaa vahvistettiin seitsemällä Amerikasta tuodulla amerikanmajavalla. Tahallisesta vieraslajin tuomisesta ei kuitenkaan ollut kyse, vaan vasta vuonna 1973 todettiin Castor-suvun koostuvan kahdesta eri lajista. Alueilla, joille istutettiin molempia lajeja, on jäljellä ainoastaan amerikanmajava. Syyt ovat edelleen epäselviä. Molempien lajien kannat ovat edelleen keskittyneet alkuperäisten istutusalueiden läheisyyteen, ja amerikanmajavakanta on muutamia poikkeuksia lukuun ottamatta saanut kasvaa ilman euroopanmajavan kilpailun vaikutusta. Jos lajien elinympäristövaatimukset ovat samat, eivät lajit voi esiintyä rinnakkain. Näin ollen on tärkeää tuntea molempien lajien elinympäristön käyttö mahdollisemman tarkkaan aluekohtaisesti ja ennakoida, johtaako majavalajien kohtaaminen kahden lajin rauhaisaan yhteiseloon vai mahdollisesti euroopanmajavan häviämiseen läntisestä Suomesta. Tutkimuksen tarkoituksena oli vertailla lajien elinympäristön vaatimuksia ja sitä kautta tuoda lisätietoa euroopanmajavan suojeluun. Tutkimusalueeksi valikoitui keskinen Pirkanmaan alue, missä lajien välinen etäisyys on ainoastaan 11 kilometriä linnuntietä. Aineisto koostuu vuoden 2013 Luonnonvarakeskuksen koordinoimista valtakunnallisten majavalaskentojen pesätiedoista sekä erilaisista paikkatietoaineistoista. Elinympäristönkäytön mallin muuttujat on tuotettu CORINE Land Cover 2012 (CLC2012), vuoden 2011 Valtakunnallisen Metsien Inventoinnin (VMI) ja Maanmittauslaitoksen maastotietokannan digitaalisiin paikkatietoaineistojen avulla. Alueelle luotiin 60 satunnaispistettä, jotka kuvaavat tarjolla olevaa elinympäristöä. Lajien elinympäristöjen käyttöä analysoitiin kahden logistisen regressioanalyysimallin avulla, joista ensimmäisessä tarkastellaan ydinaluetta (50m) ja toisessa elinpiiriä (1km). Analyyseissä verrattiin lajeja keskenään sekä satunnaispisteisiin. Ennen regressioanalyysejä tarkasteltiin muuttujien kolineaarisuutta Variance Inflation Factor:in (VIF) avulla, jonka jälkeen tarkasteltiin aineiston yhteensopivuuttaa mallin kanssa Akaiken informaatiokriteerin (AIC) avulla. Pienin AIC ilmaisee parhaan mallin korkeimman selitysasteen ja mallin yksinkertaisuuden (parsimonisuuden) kompromissina. Ydinalueella ei havaittu merkitseviä eroja elinympäristön vaatimuksissa lajien välillä. Majavien elinympäristönkäyttö ei kuitenkaan ollut satunnaista. Kuusen tilavuudella oli positiivinen vaikutus euroopanmajavan esiintymiseen ja lehtipuiden tilavuudella oli positiivinen vaikutus amerikanmajavan esiintymiseen verrattuna tarjolla olevaan ympäristöön. Elinpiirianalyyseissä lajien välillä havaittiin merkitseviä eroja, joissa euroopanmajava esiintyi alueilla, missä kuusen tilavuus ja sekametsän osuus oli suurempi verrattuna amerikanmajavan elinpiiriin. Kasvavalla kuusen tilavuudella, sekametsän osuudella sekä vesistöjen määrällä oli positiivinen vaikutus euroopanmajavan esiintymiseen ja rakennetuilla alueilla negatiivinen vaikutus euroopanmajavan esiintymiseen verrattaessa tarjolla olevaan ympäristöön. Amerikanmajavan elinympäristön käyttö ei poikennut satunnaisesta. Tulokset saattavat heijastaa rantavyöhykkeen metsäsukkession eri vaiheita, mutta on huomattava, että lajien välillä oli merkittäviä eroja. Elinympäristön muuttujat selittivät huomattavasti enemmän euroopanmajavan esiintymistä alueella verrattuna amerikanmajavaan. Toisin sanoen euroopanmajavan elinympäristön vaatimukset ovat spesifimmät/tarkemmat/ominaisemmat. Tulosten avulla on mahdollista ennustaa niin amerikanmajavan leviämistä alueella kuin hyödyntää tietoja euroopanmajavalle tärkeiden elinympäristöjen suojelussa.
  • Kainlauri, Tarja (Helsingfors universitet, 2011)
    Pro gradu tutkielmani aiheena oli tutkia koirien (Canis familiaris) saalistushalukkuutta ja persoonallisuutta sekä näiden mahdollista yhteyttä dopamiinireseptori D4 –geeniin (myöh. DRD4-geeni). DRD4-geeni ilmenee lähinnä hermosoluissa ja se vaikuttaa erityisesti aivojen limbisen järjestelmän toimintaan. Limbinen järjestelmä säätelee tunnetiloja ja tunteisiin liittyviä autonomisia toimintoja sekä motivaatiota eli samoja asioita, joihin dopamiinin tiedetään vaikuttavan. Dopamiini vaikuttaa elimistöön sitoutumalla esimerkiksi aivojen limbisen alueen dopamiinireseptoreihin. Dopamiinin on havaittu liittyvän assosiatiiviseen oppimiseen ja DRD4-geenin puolestaan mm. aktiivisuuteen ja impulsiivisuuteen sekä uteliaisuuteen mistä syystä se valittiinkin kandidaattigeeniksemme tutkimukseen. Koira puolestaan sopii erityisen hyvin mallilajiksi kandidaattigeenitutkimukseen, koska koirarodut ovat geneettisiä isolaatteja ja eroavat toisistaan niin rakenteensa kuin käyttäytymisensäkin puolesta. Kytkentäepätasapaino eli alleeliassosiaatio on koirissa huomattavasti voimakkaampaa kuin ihmisissä ja siten koiralta on merkittävästi helpompaa löytää mm. tautigeenejä. Koirilla kytkentäepätasapaino yltää noin 2 Mb laajuudelle, kun vastaava luku ihmisellä on vain noin 0,28 Mb. Tutkimuksen 405 suursnautserin ja saksanpaimenkoiran saalistushalukkuus testattiin koiran luonteenkuvauksesta eli MH-testistä tutulla viehetestillä. Viehetestissä koiran edestä yllättäen "pakenee" saalista muistuttava mutkittelevasti kulkeva kankainen viehe. Koirien suoritukset viehetestissä videoitiin ja suoritukset luokiteltiin neljään luokkaan äärimmäisen saalistushalukkaasta saalistushaluttomaan. Muita persoonallisuuspiirteitä tutkittiin koirien omistajien täyttämien luonnelomakkeiden avulla. Kaikista viehetestillä testatuista koirista otettiin verinäytteet, joista eristettiin DNA. Saalistustestissä äärimmäisen saalistushalukkaat ja täysin saalistushaluttomat saksanpaimenkoirat (N=44) valittiin DRD4-geenin alleeliassosiaatiotutkimukseen. Tutkittavaa geenialuetta monistettiin käyttämällä alleelispesifejä alukkeita PCR-reaktiossa. Tutkimuksen koirista löydettiin DRD4-geenin alleeleja 2 ja 3a. Luonnelomakeaineiston taustalta paljastui faktorianalyysin avulla neljä faktoria: sosiaalisuus ihmisiä kohtaan, leikkisyys ja aktiivisuus, aggressiivisuus koiria kohtaan sekä rohkeus. Näistä ensimmäinen assosioitui merkittävästi alleelin 3a kanssa. Koirat jotka kantoivat tätä alleelia olivat vähemmän aggressiivisia ihmisiä kohtaan kuin koirat, joilla 3a-alleelia ei ollut. Saalistushalukkuuteen kumpikaan alleeleista eikä mikään genotyypeistä assosioitunut. Saalistushalukkuutta kokonaisaineistossa selitti parhaiten leikkisyys ja aktiivisuus. Rodut erosivat toisistaan ihmisiin ja koiriin suuntautuvalta aggressiivisuudeltaan siten, että saksanpaimenkoirat olivat suursnautsereita aggressiivisempia.
  • Torppa, Kaisa (Helsingfors universitet, 2014)
    The purpose of this thesis was to examine the diversity and species composition of dung beetle (Scarabaeinae) communities in degraded rainforest landscapes in southeastern Madagascar. Several studies elsewhere in the world have revealed that forest-dwelling dung beetle communities and especially large species suffer from forest degradation and fragmentation by decreased species diversity. The most important factors affecting community structure of forest-dwelling dung beetles are habitat area, connectivity and vegetation quality i.e. microclimate. The hypothesis of this study was that the situation is the same in Madagascar. As dung beetles provide several important ecosystem services, like nutrient cycling and bioturbation, loss of dung beetle diversity imposes a secondary threat to the extraordinary nature of Madagascar by decreasing the regeneration ability of vegetation. Material for the study was collected in forest fragments of different size and quality between two areas of primary tropical rainforest – Ranomafana National Park and Vatovavy mountain – in November and December 2011 and January 2012. The sampling was conducted by transects of 30–60 fish- or carrion-baited pitfall traps which were set up in 55 localities in the study area. In each locality, several variables were measured to describe the vegetation and microclimatic conditions. The variables included temperature, humidity, estimate of vegetation quality by 6 observation-based classes, vegetation density, hights of three clearly visible vegetation layers, altitude and slope steepness. In addition, connectivities were measured for the localities using GIS and a satellite image –based vegetation classification. In order to demonstrate the differences between certain localities the study sites were divided into seven zones in terms of their distance from the Ranomafana National Park, average connectivity of the transects and elevation. Altogether 4,199 individuals belonging to 24 species were collected. Six of the species are currently under identification process in the Paris Museum of Natural History. According to the preliminary results they include two species new to science. Largest numbers of species were collected from good quality fragments between Ranomafana and Vatovavy. Also, a clear transition zone in species composition was detected a few kilometers west from Vatovavy, where altitude changes sharply. The study reveals that the species assemblages in the forest fragments and degraded forest areas are surprisingly species rich. This may, however, be partly because of extinction debt, and many of the still surviving species may soon die out due to restricted dispersal possibilities. Connectivity and vegetation quality were shown to have an effect on Canthonini species richness, with less species in less connected areas and lower vegetation quality. Vegetation quality was also shown to have an impact on the proportions of species with different body length: more small and medium-sized (< 8 mm) species were found in fragments where vegetation was more degraded. In addition to revealing how rainforest fragmentation and degradation affect local communities, the study gives interesting information about the distribution of certain species of Epilissus (Scarabaeinae: Canthonini). It has been known before that four species of Epilissus show elevational differentiation in their occurrence in Ranomafana. In this study, two more species of the same genus, E. prasinus and E. emmae obscurpennis, were shown to continue this pattern in lower elevations near Vatovavy mountain, about 50 kilometers east of Ranomafana.
  • Fabritius, Henna (Helsingfors universitet, 2010)
    Genetic variation is vital for both contemporary and long-term wellbeing of populations. Whereas heterozygosity (Ho) and allelic richness (A) are commonly used to measure the level of genetic diversity in a population, effective population size (Ne) describes the speed of loss of genetic variation. Various effective population sizes are proposed as standards for safe retention of genetic variation in a Minimum Viable Population (MVP). Since the 1940s, several types of effective population size estimators have been developed. Earlier estimators relied on demographic parameters, whereas genetic estimators are based on the analysis of either one or two genetic samples from a population. All Ne estimators have their unique sensitivities and limiting assumptions, which complicate the choice of estimator, comparison of results of different studies and the assessment of the reliability of the results. Ne estimators have recently been used e.g. in the monitoring of many aquatic populations, but their reliability and comparability has not often been tested with extensive ecological and genetic data, and it is not well established how much added value they bring to the conservation of easily observable species. I tested this with an extensive dataset on the Siberian jays (Perisoreus infaustus) living in Suupohja, Finland (62°22'N, 21°30'E). The Suupohja Siberian jays form one of the few isolates of Siberian jays in Southern Finland. I utilised three demographic and three genetic Ne estimators to estimate the Ne and the Ne/N ratio in the Suupohja Siberian jays, and compared the findings to the Ho and A estimates calculated with the same data, and to various suggested MVP standards. The results showed that the ratio of effective and census population sizes (Ne/N) is close to 0.6 in the Suupohja Siberian jays. Uneven survival of offspring and population size fluctuations are the main factors in the formation of this ratio. The average genetic Ne estimate would, then, suggest a census population size of 44 % higher than the average N in the Suupohja study area. This result is probably connected to the high proportion of breeding immigrants in the data, which would cause the Ne estimates to reflect a larger genetic neighbourhood than the study area. The genetic Ne estimates also suggest that the Suupohja Siberian jays might not be able to maintain their genetic diversity in the long term if gene flow would cease due to further isolation, especially if isolation would also cause a faster demographic decline. Conservation attempts should aim at ensuring gene flow to the remaining Siberian jay isolates in Southern Finland, in order to protect them from increasing genetic uniformity and inbreeding. It is possible that while the average dispersal distances in the Siberian jay are short, occasional long-distance dispersal events have an important role in the pretention of genetic structuring in a Siberian jay population. Ne estimation based on demographic data was laborious in the case of the Suupohja Siberian jays, whereas the genetic Ne estimates showed large variation depending on year and estimation method used. Reliable estimation of Ne with genetic methods would have required information on the large-scale genetic structure of the population. In any case, Ne estimates gave a clearer picture on the genetic viability of the Suupohja Siberian jays than the Ho and A estimates, which did not indicate any decrease of genetic diversity during the study period.
  • Lanki, Maiju (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    Adaptive radiation is an important mechanism of evolution, which can lead to emergence of sympatric species or morphotypes. Among other biological interactions, parasitic pressure can have significant evolutionary implications for host populations by reducing the fitness of the host individuals. Parasite community structure of fishes is typically strongly dependent on both host ecology (e.g. habitat and feeding behaviour) and environmental factors (e.g. water quality and temperature). However, the relative importance of these factors for parasite-mediated speciation is not known. Also, host gender-specific differences in parasite communities can have an effect on the differentiation of host morphs. In this Master's thesis, I focused on differences in parasite communities of sympatric morphs of three-spine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) in two large Icelandic lakes, Thingvallavatn and Mývatn. In these lakes, the habitats of sympatric mud and lava morphs are the same (soft/hard bottom), but the habitat water temperatures are opposite between the lakes. In this unique system, it is thus possible to compare between the effects of host ecology and water temperature on parasite community structure and strength of parasite-mediated selection. Additionally, I studied the effect of host sex on the parasitic pressure. There is also a third stickleback morph, Nitella morph, inhabiting the cold limnetic habitats in Lake Thingvallavatn. I sampled the stickleback morphs from both lakes and identified their parasite species. I discovered a total of five parasite genera: trematodes Apatemon and Diplostomum, and cestodes Diphyllobothrium, Proteocephalus and Schistocephalus. Most of the observed parasites have negative effects on health and fitness of the host. I found more parasites in sticklebacks living in higher temperature in both lakes regardless of the morph. When comparing the cold water morphs in Thingvallavatn, parasite abundance was higher in the limnetic Nitella morph than in the shallow water lava morph. Fish gender had an effect on parasitism only in Thingvallavatn as males of both lava and Nitella morphs were more heavily infected with cestodes. Similarities in parasite communities with water temperature indicate that water temperature mainly determines parasite infections in this system instead of host ecology. As similar fish morphotypes exist in different lakes under opposite parasitic pressure, parasitism has unlikely initiated host differentiation, but differences in infection probably have emerged secondary to the ecological specialization of the morphs to different habitats. These results are among the first to tackle the key question in parasite-mediated divergent selection: at which point of the speciation process parasite communities become differentiated and thus can have an effect on speciation. However, the comparison between the cold water morphs (lava and Nitella) indicates that although water temperature seems to be the main factor controlling infections in this system, its effect may still be over ridden by host ecology. Sex-depended differences in parasitic pressure, on the other hand, are likely to reflect specific characteristics of each fish population and lake. These results suggest complex interactions between host ecology and abiotic environment, such as water temperature, in determining the parasite community structure. Hence both factors have to take into consideration when studying the role of parasites in speciation processes. In future, it is necessary to pinpoint the stage of the host speciation process when parasite infections become differentiated in replicated systems to gain comprehensive understanding of the role of parasites in adaptive radiations.
  • Merikanto, Ilona (Helsingfors universitet, 2012)
    Many pathogens are able to survive and reproduce in the environment outside of host for instance by saprotrophic lifestyle. These kinds of pathogens are called opportunistic as compared to obligatory pathogens that cannot interact or reproduce in the environment outside of host. Opportunistic pathogens are subject to strong selection forces in the environment outside of host for instance while they compete for resources they share with other microbes. Ecological interactions in the environment outside of host can therefore influence on the disease dynamics and evolution of virulence of an opportunistic pathogen. No proper theoretical model that would acknowledge opportunistic reproduction and ecological interactions in the environment out side of host has been developed before. Yet it is essential to develop this kind of theoretical model so that the development and dynamics of opportunistic diseases could be predicted and prevented. In this work, an opportunistic disease model was developed that considers both the opportunistic reproduction and the influence of a superior competitor as compared to pathogenic strain on pathogen growth in the environment outside of host. Differential equations in the model represent the density changes in time in the populations of susceptible and infected host, pathogen and rival strain outside host that is not pathogenic. Evolution of virulence of the new opportunistic pathogen meaning the ability to grow from low density in presence of superior competing strain was modeled in differing circumstances. Opportunistic disease dynamics was modeled in differing circumstances, when non-pathogenic competing strain was either present or absent. Equilibrium equations were solvable to a system, where non-pathogenic competing strain was absent, but to a system where non-pathogenic competing strain was present. Analyses of the model were performed with Math Works MATLAB – program. Reproducing inside host gives an opportunity for new opportunistic pathogen to increase in density under circumstances where competition is moderate enough so that the reproduction in the environment outside host may compensate opportunistic pathogen's weaker ability to compete. Reproduction and competition in the environment outside host produce disease dynamics that differ from more traditional SI-models. Density dependence of the reproduction in the environment outside host stabilizes host-parasite system in the absence of competition in the environment outside host. Instead, in the presence of competition the competitive advantage of the non-pathogen strain destabilizes disease dynamics and prevents extinction of the susceptible host. Reproduction in the environment outside host also enables opportunistic pathogen to remain in the environment in the absence of susceptible hosts and functions thus as a potential mechanism for disease out breaks when circumstances change. However, increasing competition in the environment outside host at the expense of opportunistic pathogen may potentially prevent epidemics. Among other things, the model could be applied to biological control with the intension of removing an opportunistic pathogen naturally by weakening its survival in the environment out side of host in a competiotion situation. This kind of biological control could for example be possible in the case of saprotrophic Flavobacterium columnare –fish pathogen that is found in fish farms.
  • Vainio, Anssi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2023)
    Research into animal emotions is important for improving animal welfare and understanding behavior. Emotional research also provides a better overview of ecology and helps from the point of view of protection. According to the consensus, animals feel different emotions and express their feelings in many ways. Emotional expression is also an important part of communication between animals. In my research, I wanted to study zoo visitors’ ability to interpret animals’ emotions. The study was conducted in Korkeasaari as a survey, where respondents were asked to rate animals’ valence and arousal based on short video clips. According to several theories, valence and arousal are two important dimensions of emotion. Interpretation is based on movements, expressions, and gestures of one animal or several animals. In my research, I used videos of Barbary macaque, Siberian tiger, and Markhor expressing different emotions. The aim of this study was to explore if there are differences in participants ratings between the species. In addition, I explored whether a specific emotion is interpreted better than others. I expected that, based on an evolutionary distance, the emotions of the Barbary macaque would be interpreted best despite the emotion. Secondly, I expected the best identification of negative Valence and high arousal, which would be important for evolution and survival. I found that the valence of the barbary macaque was interpreted best, but the arousal of the markhor was interpreted as well as the Barbary macaques. Different emotions were interpreted differently in each specie. The interpretation of emotions is also influenced by the participant’s demographic factors such as age and gender. Differences in ratings between the species may also be explained by species-specific factors such as the extent of the emotional scale to be expressed or need to express emotions. Together with other similar studies, the aim of this study is to improve animal welfare and to increase interest and knowledge of animal emotions.
  • Lehtonen, Jussi (Helsingfors universitet, 2006)
    The Seychelles magpie robin Copsychus sechellarum is among the most threatened of the twelve avian species endemic to Seychelles. Originally relatively abundant and widespread in Seychelles, its population has severely diminished, mainly on account of introduced predators and habitat destruction. The lowest count was recorded in 1965, when the number of birds was between eight and fifteen, all confined to just one island. In 1990 a successful recovery program was implemented, and the population has now recovered to approximately 150 birds on four islands. Translocations to new islands are a major part of the recovery program. So far Seychelles magpie robins have been translocated to three islands, and three more target islands still need to be chosen if the long-term goals of the project are to be reached. Determining habitat suitability at the translocation target area is essential before attempting a translocation. Cockroaches are a major part of the bird's diet. Cockroach abundance has been shown to be a good indicator of magpie robin habitat quality, but it is very laborious and time consuming to measure. The objective of this study is to build a model that can be used to predict cockroach abundance, and thereby Seychelles magpie robin habitat quality, with relatively simple and inexpensive measurements. The data for this project was collected on Cousin, Cousine and Aride islands in Seychelles during October and November 2004. Several potential predictors of cockroach abundance were measured using simple and low-cost methods. The measured variables were Seychelles skink Mabuya sechellensis abundance, altitude from sea level, slope gradient, rock type, canopy cover, shrub cover, litter depth, soil depth, the relative canopy cover of different tree species, and percentage of ground covered by litter, rock, grass, woody vegetation and bare ground. These variables were measured in several 25 × 25 m plots on each island. Cockroach abundance had been measured in the same plots previously. Several multiple linear regression models were built using these variables, with cockroach abundance as the dependent variable. The Akaike Information Criterion was used to rank the models and to find the most important explanatory variables. Stepwise regression was used as a secondary method in order to see if two different methods point to the same result. Both methods indicated that slope gradient and granitic rock type are the two most important predictors of those tested. These are features that are invariably associated with granitic terrain, and both are positively correlated with cockroach abundance. A simple comparison of average cockroach abundance between granitic and coralline rock types also showed a significant difference, with granitic terrain providing higher cockroach abundance. The islands in Seychelles can be divided into two main categories: granitic and coralline islands. Steep slopes and granitic rock are both features associated with granitic terrain and granitic islands only. Therefore, based on the results of this study, granitic islands are likely to provide higher cockroach abundance and thus better Seychelles magpie robin habitat quality. Hence it is recommended that Seychelles magpie robin translocation efforts are focused preferentially on granitic islands.
  • Österblad, Ika (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    Parasitoid host interactions are intimately associated with food web dynamics as well as with evolutionary change. The parasitoid s possibility to expand its host range or switch to different hosts is affected by parasitic strategy. Strong specialization to a narrow host repertoire can arise e.g. if the larva spends considerable time in close contact with an active, developing host (koinobiosis). In contrast, an ectoparasitic larva, growing rapidly on a sessile host, does not have to be equally tightly adapted to host physiology. This may permit a wider host range. However, there are other restricting factors, such as egg production capacity. Extant parasitoids show a staggering species diversity, most notably among the Hymenoptera. Theories concerning speciation in association with host range have been developed, but draw from knowledge of merely a small part of this diversity. This study adds information by showing a number of radical host shifts in the evolutionary history of the ichneumonid wasp genus Gelis. Species of this genus exploit either insect prepupae or spider eggs. These are similar in being rather defenceless, aside from a protective silk covering. Nonetheless, differences are large enough to restrict Gelis species to each utilise only one of the two groups. In order to trace ancient host group shifts, host data was mapped onto a phylogeny constructed through bayesian analysis of sequence data. Sequences from the COI (mitochondrial) and ITS2 (nuclear, noncoding) regions were used. The results suggested at least four host group shifts within the genus. In addition, wing reduction was found to have occurred in two different lineages. Through COI barcode sequence clustering supported by morphological traits, a previously undescribed species from the G. bicolor-species complex was detected. The phylogenetic analyses also indicated the existence of further cryptic species, and the genus Thaumatogelis Schwarz was found to be nested within Gelis.
  • Lehtinen, Oskari Jouko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Lifespan is a key fitness trait, together with fecundity, dispersal, and growth. In addition to environmental factors shaping variation in lifespan, it is also influenced by genetic components. Based on theory, genetic variation in lifespan is expected to be reduced due to its high relevance to fitness. However, due to trade-offs between different life-history traits and the variable or unstable environmental conditions organisms face in nature, life-history traits are also expected to sustain higher genetic variation. From studies in model organisms, such as the fruit fly and the roundworm, researchers have uncovered key insights into the genetic basis of lifespan. Some genes have been shown to contribute more to lifespan than others and different species seem to share homologous genes influencing lifespan that have been conserved. Many of these genes relate to the insulin receptors and insulin signaling processes. The allelic variation and over- or under-expression of these genes have been shown to be associated with changes in lifespan. However, regardless of our accumulating knowledge of these genes in impacting lifespan under laboratory conditions, we have little understanding of the role of these genes impacting variation in lifespan under more natural conditions. In general, assessment of genes affecting variation in lifespan in natural populations is rare, even under circumstances where we know that the lifespan has a heritable component. The Glanville fritillary (Melitaea cinxia) is a butterfly that inhabits most of Europe. It is used as a model species in ecology and evolution in relation to metapopulation dynamics and spatially structured habitats. It has been studied extensively both under experimental conditions and via observational studies in the field. The Glanville fritillary butterfly works as a good model organism for assessments of genetic components of life-history variation, as vast amounts of genomic and ecological data are already available. In this thesis, I aim to shed light on the genetic background of lifespan by using the Glanville fritillary as a model organism. More specifically, I will test the association of some well-known lifespan-related candidate genes with a phenotypic variation on the butterfly’s adult lifespan based on previously obtained experimental data on individuals collected from the natural metapopulation during the larval stage.
  • Koppelomäki, Krista (Helsingin yliopisto, 2023)
    Good understanding of animal emotions is vital for improvement of animal welfare. Emotions are affective states that are defined by positive or negative valence depending on the pleasantness of the situation, as well as the state of arousal or excitement. As subjective experiences, emotions are hard to measure directly. Lateralization, a phenomenon in which emotion processing is done asymmetrically in different hemispheres of the brain, has been used to study changes in valence. The state of arousal is known to cause changes in the activation of the autonomic nervous system, which lead to changes in peripheral blood circulation. These neurologically mediated changes in blood flow can lead to changes in surface temperature that can be detected by infrared thermography (IRT). IRT is a technology that’s based on converting infrared radiation to images. From these images, the surface temperature of an animal can be quantitatively measured. Previous studies have focused mostly on negative emotions, which are known to affect surface temperatures. Positive and neutral affective states are in need of more research, as they have been studied less. Lateralization is also still a fairly new area of research. In this thesis I investigated if there would be detectable surface temperature patterns in riding horses at Cypis-talli, Espoo, that could be linked with mainly positive and neutral emotional states. I also explored the possibility of finding lateralization effects related to emotional states in horses. Additionally, I wanted to know if these changes in surface temperature would be situational or dependent on individual variation. We used naturally occurring situations in the horses’ lives to observe them in three situations: one where the horses got fed, one where they were taken outside to the paddocks after feeding, and one where the horses were momentarily separated from their paddocking buddies. During all situations the horses’ eyes and nasal region were measured with a thermal camera. Numerical data was collected from the images and analysed with linear mixed models and post-hoc pairwise comparisons. I found that there were significant changes in surface temperature in the eyes and nasal region of the horse that were likely related to changes in arousal. The surface temperature of the eyes and nasal region dropped when the horses got their feed, got taken outside to the paddocks and when they were separated and reunited with another familiar horse. Another finding was that there appeared to be a lateralization effect in the eyes and nasal region on the nasal cavities. There seemed to be a lot of individual variation in temperature throughout. An interesting finding was that the health condition of the horse significantly affected the temperature changes in many cases. My results suggest that surface temperature effects that have been previously seen in other species via IRT can also be detected in horses, and that the changes in temperature are most likely related to the emotional state and health status of the animal. Nasal temperature could be useful for measurement in future studies, but further research to validate its use in detection of emotional or health related states is required.
  • Lehikoinen, Petteri (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    Kosteikot ovat biodiversiteetiltään yksi maailman rikkaimmista habitaateista. Kosteikkojen ja niillä elävien vesilintujen tuottamien ekosysteemipalvelujen laajuuteen ja tärkeyteen on havahduttu vasta viime aikoina. Kosteikkoja ja niiden linnustoa uhkaavat maailman laajuisesti maankäyttö sekä makeiden vesistöjen pilaantuminen. Viimeisen vuosisadan aikana maailman kosteikkojen määrä on vähentynyt puoleen ja niiden tila on heikentynyt. Kosteikkolinnuston elinolot ovat heikentyneet ja linnusto on taantunut. Kosteikkoja rakentamalla ja kunnostamalla on voitu parantaa linnuston elinolosuhteita. Etenkin keinotekoisten kosteikkojen merkitys on ollut suuri luontaisten kosteikkojen tilan heikkenemisen myötä. Vain vähän tiedetään miten luonnollisten kosteikkojen hoitotoimet vaikuttavat linnustoon paikallisella tasolla. Niukasti tietoa on myös saatavilla päättäjille hoitotoimien kustannustehokkuudesta. Tässä työssä tutkittiin Etelä-Suomen kosteikkojen hoitotoimien vaikutuksia levähtävään ja pesivään linnustoon. Työn tarkoituksena oli selvittää eri hoitotoimien vaikutuksia ravinnonhankinnaltaan erilaisiin lintukiltoihin ja -ryhmiin. Yhtenä tutkimuksen päätavoitteena oli luoda käsitys hoitotoimien kustannustehokkuudesta sekä mihin resurssit kannattaa käyttää. Tutkimusalue käsitti 21 Etelä-Suomen linnustollisesti arvokasta kosteikkoa. Kosteikkoja kunnostettiin vuosina 2004–2012 kahdessa hoitojaksossa. Hoitojaksoja ennen ja niiden jälkeen kosteikkojen pesivä ja levähtävä linnusto selvitettiin. Suomen ympäristökeskus vastasi hoitotoimista ja linnustolaskennoista Uudenmaan ja Kymenlaakson ELY-keskusten kanssa. Kosteikkoja kunnostettiin pääasiassa avoimuutta lisäämällä laidunnuksen, puustonraivauksen, niiton ja äestyksen sekä ruoppauksen avulla. Muutolla levähtävä linnusto selvitettiin läpi muuttokauden noin viiden päivän välein suoritettujen laskentojen avulla ja pesivä linnusto selvitettiin viiden käyntikerran kartoitusmenetelmällä. Kohteiden linnut eriteltiin hoidettuihin osa-alueisiin sekä niiden ulkopuolelle jääviin hoitamattomiin osa-alueisiin. Kontrollialueina toimivat hoitamattomat kohteet ja osa-alueet. Lasketut linnut yhdistettiin ravinnonhankintansa perusteella kymmeneen kiltaan, jotka olivat puolisukeltajasorsat, sukeltajasorsat, kalansyöjävesilinnut, joutsenet, hanhet, kahlaajat, naurulokki, rantakanat ja kaulushaikara, avomaavarpuslinnut sekä pensaston ja ruovikon varpuslinnut. Kolmea viimeksi mainittua kiltaa tarkasteltiin vain pesimäaikana. Erikseen tarkasteltiin kansallisesti uhanalaisia sekä lintudirektiivin liitteen I lajeja. Hoitotoimien sekä niihin käytettyjen kokonaiskustannusten vaikutuksia kiltakohtaisiin lintumääriin tarkasteltiin lineaarisilla sekamalleilla. Syysmuuttoaineistossa kaikkien lintukiltojen määrät kasvoivat niitto- ja äestysalan myötä; laidunnuspinta-ala lisäsi hanhien ja kahlaajien lukumääriä. Kaikkien kiltojen lukumääriä lisäsi laidunala keväällä, lisäksi niitto- ja äestys - sekä ruoppausala lisäsivät kahlaajien lukumääriä. Kalansyöjien lukumäärät vähenivät ruoppausalan kasvun myötä, mutta yhteys oli tilastollisesti vain suuntaa antava. Pesimäaineistossa ruoppausala x kilta-interaktio osoittautui tilastollisesti merkitseväksi, mutta kiltakohtaisesti tarkasteltuna vaikutukset olivat suuntaa antavia; rantakanat ja kaulushaikara runsastuivat ja kalansyöjävesilinnut vähenivät. Sekä uhanalaisten että lintudirektiivin liitteen I lajien lukumääriä kasvatti laidunnus keväällä ja syksyllä. Hoitotoimiin käytettyjen kokonaiskustannusten suhteen runsastuivat syksyllä puolisukeltajasorsat, hanhet ja kahlaajat. Keväällä kokonaiskustannuksilla oli positiivinen yhteys puolisukeltajasorsien, kahlaajien ja naurulokin lukumääriin. Pesimäaineistossa kokonaiskustannukset kasvattivat naurulokin lukumääriä. Suuntaa-antavasti kokonaiskustannukset lisäsivät rantakanojen ja kaulushaikaran määriä sekä vähensivät kalansyöjävesilintujen määriä. Erityisesti huomioitavaa on, että hoitotoimilla havaittiin vain positiivisia merkitseviä tuloksia lintukiltoihin. Laidunnus oli tärkein yksittäinen hoitotoimi, mikä liittynee sen ympäristöä monipuolistavaan vaikutukseen. Hoitotoimista eniten hyötynyt kilta oli kahlaajat, mutta kaikki killat hyötyivät jostain hoitotoimesta. Hoitotoimien positiiviset vaikutukset liittynevät avoimuuden lisääntymiseen sekä karjan läsnäoloon, jotka voivat parantaa lintujen ruokailuolosuhteita sekä lisätä turvallisuutta. Kokonaiskustannukset paljastivat että naurulokki ja puolisukeltajasorsat hyötyivät hoitotoimista kokonaisuutena, sillä ne eivät poikenneet muista killoista yksittäisiä hoitotoimia tarkasteltaessa. Vähiten hyötyivät sukeltajasorsat sekä kalansyöjävesilinnut. Tutkimus osoittaa, että hoitotoimilla voidaan parantaa taantuneiden kosteikkolintujen elinolosuhteita. Koska hoitokohteet ovat Etelä-Suomen parhaimpia lintuvesiä, on hoitotoimien biologinen merkitys suuri. Vaikutukset eivät ole pelkästään kansalliset, vaan kunnostuksesta hyötyvät Suomenlahden muuttoreittiä pitkin pohjoiseen muuttavat kosteikkolinnut –aina Siperiaan asti. Yksi tärkeimmistä huomioista on, että hoidon loputtua kosteikkojen tila heikkenee. Hoitoa tulisi jatkaa, jottei saatuja hyötyjä menetettäisi. Tulevaisuudessa olisi tärkeää suunnitella mittavat hoitotoimet myös tutkimuksen kannalta, jolloin hoitotoimien vaikutuksia voitaisiin tutkia tarkemmin. Tärkeää olisi löytää keinot sukeltajasorsien ja kalansyöjien elinolojen parantamiseksi.
  • Pakarinen, Suvi (Helsingfors universitet, 2011)
    The relationship between hosts and parasites is one of the most studied interactions between living organisms, and it is both universal and common in nature. Parasitoids are special type of parasites whose offspring develop attached to or within a single host organism that it ultimately consumes and kills. Hosts are arthropods and most parasitoids belong to the insect order Hymenoptera. For almost two decades metapopulation research on the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia) has been conducted in the Åland Islands, Finland. The studies have been concerned with the population dynamics, evolution, genetics, behavior, natural history and life history characteristics of M. cinxia, as well as with species interacting with the butterfly. The parasitoids of M. cinxia have been under long term studies and much has been learned about specific host-parasitoid interactions during the past decade. The research for this Master s thesis was done in the Åland Islands during summer 2010. I conducted a reciprocal transplant style experiment in order to compare the performance of host butterflies (M. cinxia) under attack by different parasitoid wasps (C. melitaearum). I used hosts and parasitoids from five origins around the Baltic Sea: Öland, Uppland, Åland, Saaremaa and Pikku-Tytärsaari. The host-parasitoid relationship was studied in terms of host susceptibility and parasitoid virulence, addressing specifically the possible effects of inbreeding and local adaptation of both parasitoids and their hosts. I compared various factors such as host defence ratio, parasitoid development rate, cocoon production rate etc. I also conducted a small scale C. melitaearum egg development experiment and C. melitaearum external morphology comparison between different parasitoid populations. The results show that host resistance and parasitoid virulence differ between both host and parasitoid populations. For example, Åland hosts were most susceptible to parasitoids and especially vulnerable to Pikku-Tytärsaari wasps. Pikku-Tytärsaari wasps were most successful in terms of parasitoids virulence and efficiency except in Saaremaa hosts, where the wasp did not succeed. Saaremaa hosts were resistant except towards Åland parasitoids. I did not find any simple pattern concerning host resistance and parasitoid virulence between inbred and outbred populations. Also, the effect of local adaptation was not detected, perhaps because metapopulation processes disturb local adaptation of the studied populations. Morphological comparisons showed differences between studied wasp populations and sexual dimorphism was obvious with females being bigger that males. There were also interesting differences among populations in male and female wing shapes. The results raise many further questions. Especially interesting were Pikku-Tytärsaari wasps that did well in terms of efficiency and virulence. Pikku-Tytärsaari is a small, isolated island in the Gulf of Finland and both the host and parasitoids are extremely inbred. For the host and parasitoid to persist in the island, the host has to have some mechanisms to escape the parasitoid. Further research will be done on the subject to discover the mechanisms of Pikku-Tytärsaari host s ability to escape parasitism. Also, genetic analyses will be conducted in the near future to determine the relatedness of used C. melitaearum populations.