Thank you! And see you again in 2024!

Thanks to everyone who joined the 32nd spring symposium! Also we are grateful to our sponsors (Oikos, Keru, Akvaarioon) that support us during the symposium!

This year’s prize winners were:

Olli’s price (Best presentation):

Patrick Heidbreder, with “Towards speciation genes and the role of selection in hybridization outcomes”

Runner up for best presentation:

Sunandan Das, with “Phylogenomic systematics of snake superfamily Elapoidea, with discovery of a new family”

2nd runner up for best presentation:

Nadja Verspagen, with “Intraspecific variation in thermal plasticity in a temperate butterfly”

Best poster presentation:

Ronja Saarinen, with “Information hiding strategies in the common redstart (Phoenicurus Phoenicurus)”

Runner-ups for best poster presentation:

Francisco Silva with “Amphibian and reptile diversity in a forest-rice-cashew mosaic in rural Guinea-Bissau” 

Mihika Sen with “Community perceptions of wildlife fencing in Laikipia, Kenya”

Logo competition winnter: Zowi Oudendijk 

It’s a great pleasure to see how this turned out in the end, and looking forward to the 33rd LUOVA Spring Symposium!

Welcome to the Spring Symposium next week!

the 32nd LUOVA Spring Symposium will take place next week, Mon 6th – Wed 8th March in the main auditorium of the Viikki library building, Infocenter Korona (Viikinkaari 11).  This email has two important announcements for anyone planning to attend the symposium, so keep your eyes peeled!
  1. You can find the abstract book and programme on this website
  2. The registration for the Grande Finale event is now open, with a limit of maximum 100 participants. Please snatch your ticket and register here!
1. Programme and attending
The symposium is organized by LUOVA (Doctoral Programme in Wildlife Biology), but open to everyone who takes interest in ecology, evolutionary biology, conservation, taxonomy, or other related topics. You can come and follow the sessions freely, no registration needed. However, registration is required for the Grande Finale event.
Ahead of us are three days filled with fascinating talks and posters about the most recent research from different doctoral and master’s programmes. We are also extremely happy to announce our keynote talks for this year:
Attila Hettyey (6th March, 9:30 am) – Phenotypic plasticity in chemical defences of a vertebrate: responses to predators, competitors and pathogens
Kristiina Tambets (7th March, 9:30 am) – Human archaeogenomics and population dynamics (full title TBA)
Pol Capdevila (8th March, 9:30 am) – Bringing resilience on board: marrying the theoretical concept with empirical data across ecological systems
2. Grande Finale registration

The registration for the Grande Finale party, ending the LUOVA Spring Symposium, is now open! This year, Grande Finale will be held in the legendary setting of the Natural History Museum (LUOMUS) on Wednesday, March 8th from 6pm to 11pm. Please join us to toast among the dinosaurs, have food and drinks with the skeletons, and enjoy live music and good company! The award ceremony for talk-prize winners will also take place at the event. Don’t miss out, since the number of guests is limited to the first 100 registrants.

What: Grande Finale event of the 32nd Spring Symposium

Where: Natural History Museum (Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 13, Helsinki)

When: Wednesday 8th March, 6pm – 11pm

Price: 5€

Registration link:

Registration is required to make sure that there’s enough snacks and drinks for everyone. We collect an entrance fee of 5€ per guest, including all food and drinks. You will be sent payment details after your registration.

For food, we serve a menu of cocktail bites (one of each menu item / person). All the cocktail bites are vegetarian and low-lactose or lactose free. Additionally, three of them are vegan, two of which also gluten free. Please find the full list below and feel free to bring additional food if you feel like the menu doesn’t accommodate you.

Beetroot tsatziki brioche bun (low-lactose)

Small vegetable samosas (lactose free, vegan)

Ginger glazed tofu & lime aioli (lactose free, gluten free, vegan)

Forest mushroom quiche (lactose free)

Blackcurrant chocolate kisses (lactose free, gluten free, vegan)

Welcome and hoping to see you all there!

The Spring Symposium people,

Deryk Tolman, Josephine Couet, Nora Bergman, Thomas Merrien, and Yuhan He

Hey! Register for your presentation now!

Dear everyone,

The registration for the 32nd Spring Symposium of the LUOVA Doctoral programme (March 6th – 8th, Viikki campus) is now open. It closes the morning of Monday, February 13th at 16:00. Registration is only necessary for those presenting a talk or a poster, or writing a diary; Those attending to enjoy other people’s presentations are welcome to join without registering. We also hope that supervisors and other researchers will participate and provide feedback on the talks and posters. 

With that, we’d like to invite all doctoral researchers (PhD students) life sciences-related to give a talk at the symposium, and all master’s students are encouraged to present their study as a poster (see details below). 

Registration link is here

Please remember to register in Sisu as well if you’re applying for credits.

The Spring Symposium is a great opportunity for doctoral researchers and master’s students to get live experience giving conference-style presentations in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Doctoral researchers can apply to get one study credit for presenting a talk via course code LUOVA-401 and LUOVA-402. Master’s students can also earn credits by presenting a poster or writing a learning diary (Course code EEB-312). Sign up for these on the registration form and in Sisu.

Regarding the practical organization of the symposium: 

  1. The symposium will be organised as an on-site event, but there is a possibility to set up tools for live streaming and remote attendance for those who need it.
  2. The posters will be shown on screens in the auditorium. We will ask the students to make a poster in the landscape format
  3. We are happy to announce to you that the Grande Finale event will take place in the Zoological Museum of Natural History the evening of the last day of the symposium (Wednesday, the 8th of March). More information about this event soon.

Best wishes, 

The LUOVA 32nd Spring Symposium committee.

Deryk Tolman – Joséphine Couet – Nora Bergman – Thomas Merrien & Yuhan He.

The Spring Symposium is organized by doctoral students from the Doctoral Programme in Wildlife Biology Research (Finnish acronym LUOVA) of the University of Helsinki. The symposium brings together students active in research fields related to ecology, evolution, systematics and nature conservation.

Save the date!

Dear everyone,

Please save the date for the 32nd Spring Symposium of the LUOVA Doctoral Programme, which will be held March 6th – 8th 2023

With its roots in 1990, and officially named in 1992, the Spring Symposium is a University of Helsinki tradition; a high-profile seminar for PhD and Master’s students to present their work, with peers and external evaluators giving valuable feedback on both the scientific content and presentational skills of the speaker.

This will be a hybrid event, with in-person talks being streamed online for those otherwise unable to attend. We’d like to invite all doctoral students in life sciences to give a talk at the symposium, and master’s students to present their project as a poster.  Three international keynote speakers (TBA) will also be helping to provide feedback on student presentations and will be our judges for Olli’s prize (best talk) and best poster awards. We also invite interested undergraduates to attend the presentations, or even present a poster of their own.

Registration for talks and posters will open in January.

The Grande Finale event (Wed. 8th of March) will be held physically this year, with a dinner, award ceremony, and the post-symposium party at the LUOMUS Natural History Museum. 

Logo competition


We are happy to annouce that the logo designer, and winner of the logo competition this year, is Zowi Oudendijk! Many thanks to Zowi for this really great design, which you will see featured on most of the spring symposium’s materials.

And we are grateful for the contributions of the other seven participants, it’s really hard to make decision from so many great designs. Thanks again!

Logo competition is coming!

NASA, Coca Cola, Iittala… Where would they be without their logos? Probably still in space and stuff. But as an equally successful organisation, the 32nd LUOVA Spring Symposium is in need of its next top logo designer. And it could be you! Stretch those moose drawing muscles for a chance at honour and glory (and a small prize).


Is the moose your muse? Do you believe a moose’s majesty can only be portrayed in logo form? You’re in good company at the 32nd LUOVA Spring symposium!


Please keep reading. 


The annual LUOVA Spring Symposium is back again for Spring 2023,  and we are looking for the new logo! In the 32nd LUOVA Spring Symposium Logo Competition, you can submit your suggestion for a logo design for the symposium event: 


You are free to design the logo however you want. But here are 3 mandatory rules to follow:

  • Contain a visual reference to a moose (Alces alces, the symbol animal of the Spring Symposium), 

  • Display the symposium title “Spring symposium” and the number “32nd”

  • Be submitted as a .PNG and be a minimum of 4000×4000 pixels. Use a transparent background if that’s appropriate. Can alternatively be submitted in vector format as a .svg or .pdf


Submit your logo using this form (requires a google account) by the 9th of November.

Feel free to draw some inspiration from the great designs of previous years:

In order, by: Meri Lähteenaro, the 2016 LUOVA Spring Symposium Committee and Roni Kantola. 

The LUOVA 32nd Spring Symposium committee.

Deryk Tolman – Joséphine Couet – Nora Bergman – Thomas Merrien & Yuhan He.


The Spring Symposium is organized by doctoral students from the Doctoral Programme in Wildlife Biology Research (Finnish acronym LUOVA) of the University of Helsinki. The symposium brings together students active in research fields related to ecology, evolution, systematics and nature conservation.