Finnish Museum of Natural History

Risto Väinölä

Senior Curator, PI

Metazoa Team. Scientific collections of aquatic invertebrates, fishes, mammals.

Research: Diversity and history of boreal aquatic fauna

We explore the history and diversity of the northern aquatic fauna, mainly using information from the genomes of organisms. The main study objects include freshwater crustaceans and brackish-water bivalve molluscs, particularly those of the Baltic Sea  We have also studied polychaete worms, herring and sculpin fishes, freshwater seals, forest reindeer and the oak of Finland.

Publications (external pages)


Contact information                 

Macoma balthica

Research themes

  • Evolution amphi-boreal marine fauna: history of connections between the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans
  • Biogeography and systematics of brackish-water bivalves and the structure of hybrid zones
  • Evolution of the endemic crustacean diversity in Lake Baikal
  • Phylogeography of Fennoscandian aquatic fauna ("glacial relict" crustaceans, seals, sculpin fishes)
Biological and evolutionary questions addressed in framework of these themes:
  • Species diversity - detection of cryptic species, molecular species identification (barcoding)
  • Phylogenetic relationships of organisms - systematics and classification
  • Speciation and the collapse of species limits - hybridization and hybrid swarms
  • Pleistocene refugial history and re-colonization of current distributional ranges - phylogeography
  • Post-glacial population histories - secondary contact of lineages, loss of diversity in isolation, human-mediated invasions

Research group


  • Elena Kochanova, doctoral student (phylogeography of harpacticoid copepods)


Alumni - former group members


Person in charge of the page: 
Risto Väinölä