From Alabama to Lammi

I left a small town in Alabama in the United States in June of 2017 and moved straight to the Lammi Biological Station. I immediately felt straight home living in the country side and it was an amazing place to experience Finland while the days are very long. I currently work in the Evolution, Conservation, and Genomics Research group under the supervision of Dr. Craig Primmer at the University of Helsinki. We now have a fish rearing facility at the station. It consists of 32 tanks in total and will all be filled with Atlantic salmon alevins in the following weeks. These fish will remain in the tanks for several years and will be part of many experiments with multiple members of our research group.

I was able to live at the station for over 5 months but have now moved to Helsinki to be able to work at the Viikki campus. Living at the station was quite the experience for me. It is a bit isolated and when you are a foreigner (like me), you probably do not have a car. However, I enjoyed every day I lived here. There are many trails to hike and a sauna right on the lake. The station staff are all excellent. There is a constant influx of professors, researchers, and students so it is easy to meet new people and be exposed to different projects and areas of science. The station has an amazing welcoming environment and was the perfect first place to live in Finland.

Text: Adrew House

Merry Christmas from LBS

Be ready to identify the mammals we recently found hanging out at the lakeside shelter. One of which is well out of its normal range, but has been known to be spotted in more southern climes around this time of year.

Best viewed with sound on… LBS wishes everyone a merry Christmas season!

Male-male competition

Research in the Behavioural Ecology Research Group (Monash University, Australia), led by Associate Professor Bob Wong, focuses on the evolution of animal mating systems and behaviour. We have, for instance, investigated the impacts of environmental change on animal behaviour and the evolutionary process, and how investment in sex influences reproductive strategies and biological diversity.

Vargskär island in Tvärminne archipelago.

Members of the Group have had a long association with Tvärminne Zoological Station. In this respect, the Group has also been working in close collaboration with Prof. Kai Lindström (and others) for over a decade on sexual selection and parental care in fish. The work in Tvärminne has involved both field and laboratory-based research investigating the role of environmental factors (e.g. salinity, predation risk, competition, resource quality and density) on male and female mating behaviour. Our work has also included student research, with Australian-based students undertaking experiments on male parental care in sand gobies and sticklebacks.

Catching gsand gobies in shallow water.

In 2017, Bob Wong and Dr. Topi Lehtonen completed a field based experiment in Tvärminne, investigating the role of nesting resource quality and male-male competition on patterns of nest colonisation in male sand gobies. The research involved setting up artificial nesting resources (ceramic tiles) in shallow water near Vargskär Island and manipulating both the quality of the resource (large versus small tiles) and the extent of resource aggregation (i.e. a single nesting resource on its own, or two nesting resources in close proximity) and examining the attributes of the males that subsequently settle into those areas. The findings will contribute to our understanding of how resources and resource competition affect settlement patterns in the wild.

Artificial nesting resource (ceramic tiles) in shallow water (photo: Topi Lehtonen).
Artificial nesting resource (ceramic tile) in shallow water (photo: Topi Lehtonen).
Dr. Topi Lehtonen and Associate Professor Bob Wong on a small boat doing a selfie.
Dr. Topi Lehtonen and Associate Professor Bob Wong on a small boat doing a friedsie (photo: Topi Lehtonen).

Associate Professor Bob Wong, Monash University, Australia.

Read more from:
Bob Wong lab webpage:
Topi Lehtonen: