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Unravelling life-history responses and underlying mechanisms to environmental stress in wild populations

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "META-STRESS" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 14

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Finland [FI]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙494˙882 €
 EC max contribution 1˙494˙882 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2014-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2015
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2015-04-01   to  2020-03-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Organisms in the wild are constantly challenged by environmental variation in e.g. resource quality. The goal of this project is to move beyond laboratory experiments to understand the mechanisms that allow organisms in the wild to cope with environmental stress. Understanding the responses and mechanisms operating in wild populations is critical for assessing the eco-evolutionary consequences of environmental stress.

The large metapopulation of the Glanville fritillary butterfly gives me a unique opportunity to study processes operating from genes within individuals all the way to metapopulation-level dynamics. I will use individuals sampled from families from specific local populations with known ecological background (based on > 20 years of data) to experimentally test the influence of environmental stress on life-history variation. I will combine these experiments with simultaneous life-history assessments on the siblings remaining in the wild, thus effectively coupling laboratory and field-based studies. I will integrate the ecological studies with molecular approaches to unravel the significance of different mechanisms – candidate genes, epigenetic inheritance and intestinal microbial communities – potentially influencing individual responses to environmental challenges. I will focus on the influence of host plant quality as an environmental stressor, which is known to greatly influence life histories in many organisms, and which can be manipulated in the laboratory and assessed in the wild.

The proposed research has potential for groundbreaking results in evolutionary ecology, as the results will increase our understanding of 1) how individual responses to unfavorable environmental conditions and the underlying mechanisms vary within and among local populations in a spatially and temporally heterogeneous environment, and 2) how the consequent life-history variation influences the ecological and microevolutionary dynamics of wild populations.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Luisa Woestmann, Melanie Gibbs, Helen Hesketh, Marjo Saastamoinen
Viral exposure effects on life-history, flight-related traits, and wing melanisation in the Glanville fritillary butterfly
published pages: 136-143, ISSN: 0022-1910, DOI: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2018.03.009
Journal of Insect Physiology 107 2019-11-22
2018 M. A. de Jong, M. Saastamoinen
Environmental and genetic control of cold tolerance in the Glanville fritillary butterfly
published pages: 636-645, ISSN: 1010-061X, DOI: 10.1111/jeb.13247
Journal of Evolutionary Biology 31/5 2019-11-22
2018 Anne Duplouy, Guillaume Minard, Meri Lähteenaro, Susu Rytteri, Marjo Saastamoinen
Silk properties and overwinter survival in gregarious butterfly larvae
published pages: 12443-12455, ISSN: 2045-7758, DOI: 10.1002/ece3.4595
Ecology and Evolution 8/24 2019-11-22
2018 Marjo Saastamoinen, Greta Bocedi, Julien Cote, Delphine Legrand, Frédéric Guillaume, Christopher W. Wheat, Emanuel A. Fronhofer, Cristina Garcia, Roslyn Henry, Arild Husby, Michel Baguette, Dries Bonte, Aurélie Coulon, Hanna Kokko, Erik Matthysen, Kristjan Niitepõld, Etsuko Nonaka, Virginie M. Stevens, Justin M. J. Travis, Kathleen Donohue, James M. Bullock, Maria del Mar Delgado
Genetics of dispersal
published pages: 574-599, ISSN: 1464-7931, DOI: 10.1111/brv.12356
Biological Reviews 93/1 2019-11-20
2019 Luisa Woestmann, Dimitri Stucki, Marjo Saastamoinen
Life history alterations upon oral and hemocoelic bacterial exposure in the butterfly Melitaea cinxia
published pages: 10665-10680, ISSN: 2045-7758, DOI: 10.1002/ece3.5586
Ecology and Evolution 9/18 2019-11-20
2018 Otso Ovaskainen, Marjo Saastamoinen
Frontiers in Metapopulation Biology: The Legacy of Ilkka Hanski
published pages: 231-252, ISSN: 1543-592X, DOI: 10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-110617-062519
Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 49/1 2019-11-20
2019 Ana L. Salgado, Marjo Saastamoinen
Developmental stage-dependent response and preference for host plant quality in an insect herbivore
published pages: 27-38, ISSN: 0003-3472, DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.01.018
Animal Behaviour 150 2019-11-20
2018 Vicencio Oostra, Marjo Saastamoinen, Bas J. Zwaan, Christopher W. Wheat
Strong phenotypic plasticity limits potential for evolutionary responses to climate change
published pages: , ISSN: 2041-1723, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03384-9
Nature Communications 9/1 2019-11-20
2017 Kristjan Niitepõld, Marjo Saastamoinen
A Candidate Gene in an Ecological Model Species: Phosphoglucose Isomerase ( Pgi ) in the Glanville Fritillary Butterfly ( Melitaea cinxia )
published pages: 259-273, ISSN: 0003-455X, DOI: 10.5735/086.054.0122
Annales Zoologici Fennici 54/1-4 2019-11-20
2018 Aapo Kahilainen, Saskya van Nouhuys, Torsti Schulz, Marjo Saastamoinen
Metapopulation dynamics in a changing climate: Increasing spatial synchrony in weather conditions drives metapopulation synchrony of a butterfly inhabiting a fragmented landscape
published pages: 4316-4329, ISSN: 1354-1013, DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14280
Global Change Biology 24/9 2019-11-20
2019 Elena Rosa, Guillaume Minard, Johanna Lindholm, Marjo Saastamoinen
Moderate plant water stress improves larval development, and impacts immunity and gut microbiota of a specialist herbivore
published pages: e0204292, ISSN: 1932-6203, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204292
PLOS ONE 14/2 2019-11-20
2018 Michelle F. DiLeo, Arild Husby, Marjo Saastamoinen
Landscape permeability and individual variation in a dispersal-linked gene jointly determine genetic structure in the Glanville fritillary butterfly
published pages: 544-556, ISSN: 2056-3744, DOI: 10.1002/evl3.90
Evolution Letters 2/6 2019-11-20
2016 Luisa Woestmann, Jouni Kvist, Marjo Saastamoinen
Fight or flight? - Flight increases immune gene expression but does not help to fight an infection
published pages: , ISSN: 1010-061X, DOI: 10.1111/jeb.13007
Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2019-05-27
2016 Luisa Woestmann, Marjo Saastamoinen
The importance of trans-generational effects in Lepidoptera
published pages: 489-499, ISSN: 1674-5507, DOI: 10.1093/cz/zow029
Current Zoology 62/5 2019-05-27

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