Anna-Liisa Laine

Professor in Plant Ecology

Group Leader (PI) in
Center of Excellence in Metapopulation Biology
University of Helsinki

Our understanding of how ecological and evolutionary dynamics are played out in nature has been revolutionized by a seemingly trivial realization – all species have spatial population structures at some scale. Within a spatial framework I combine epidemiological, experimental, and molecular approaches to understand how eco-evolutionary feedback loops drive species interactions.

Much of my work is focused on understanding how diversity is maintained in host and parasite populations. Understanding this is one step closer to answering questions of how risks of virulence and pathogen occurrence evolve – important questions from both basic and applied points of view

Host-pathogen evolution

Evolutionary epidemiology

Trophic interactions


Featured publications. Click on the featured article to access the publication page.



Soubeyrand, S. & Laine, A.-L. 2017. When group dispersal and Allee effeect shape metapopulation dynamics. Annales Zoologici Fennici, In press.

Parratt, S. R., Barres, B., Penczykowski, R. M. & Laine, A.-L. 2017. Local adaptation at higher trophic levels: contrasting hyperparasite–pathogen infection dynamics in the field and laboratory. Molecular Ecology, In press.

Hiltunen, T. Virta, M. & Laine, A.-L. 2016. Antibiotic resistance in the wild: an eco-evolutionary perspective. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Biological Sciences. 372:1712 DOI:10.1098/rstb.2016.0039


Laine, A.-L. 2016. Disease resistance: Not so costly after all. Nature Plants 2:16121 DOI:10.1038/nplants.2016.121

Croll, D. & Laine, A.-L. 2016. What the population genetic structures of host and pathogen tell us about disease evolution. New Phytologist, 212:537-539.

Borer, E., Laine, A.-L. & Seabloom, E. 2016. A Multiscale Approach to Plant Disease Using the Metacommunity Concept. Annual Review of Phytopathology 54: 397-418.

Laine, A.-L. 2016. Ilkka Hanski: Population ecologist who modeled how species cope with habitat loss. Nature 534:180 DOI:10.1038/534180a

Parratt, S.R., Numminen, E. & Laine, A.-L. 2016. Infectious Disease Dynamics in Heterogeneous Landscapes. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. 47: In press.

Parratt, S. R. and Laine, A-L 2016. The role of hyperparasitism in microbial pathogen ecology and evolution. The ISME Journal 10.1038/ismej.2015.247. DOI: 10.1016/S0167-8809(99)00028-6

Tollenaere, C., Susi, H. & Laine, A.-L. 2016. Evolutionary and epidemiological implications of multiple infections in plants. TRENDS in Plant Science, 21: 80-90 DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2015.10.014

Penczykowski, R., Laine, A.-L. & Koskella, B. 2016. Understanding the ecology and evolution of host–parasite interactions across scales, Evolutionary Applications, 9: 37-52. DOI: 10.1111/eva.12294


Susi, H., Barrès, B., Vale, P. & Laine, A.-L. 2015. Coinfection alters population dynamics of infectious disease. Nature Communications, 6: 5975. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6975

Susi, H., Vale, P. & Laine, A.-L. 2015. Host genotype and coinfection modify the relationship of within and between host transmission. American Naturalist, 186: 252-263. DOI: 10.1086/682069

Tack, A. J. M., Laine, A.-L., Burdon, J. J. Bissett, A. & Thrall, P. H. 2015. Belowground abiotic and biotic heterogeneity shapes aboveground infection outcomes and spatial divergence in a host-parasite interaction. New Phytologist, 207: 1159-1169. DOI: 10.1111/nph.13408

Susi, H. & Laine, A.-L. 2015. The effectiveness and costs of pathogen resistance strategies in a perennial plant. Journal of Ecology, 103:303-315. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12373

Penczykowski, R., Walker, E., Soubeyrand, S. & Laine, A.-L. 2015. Linking winter conditions to large-scale disease dynamics in a wild plant-pathogen metapopulation. New Phytologist, 205:1142-1152. DOI: 10.1111/nph.1314


Tollenaere, C., Pernechele, B., Mäkinen, H., Parratt, S., Nemeth, M., Kovacs, G., Levente, K. Tack, A. & Laine, A.-L. 2014. A hyperparasite affects the population dynamics of a wild plant pathogen. Molecular Ecology, 23: 5877-5878. DOI: 10.1111/mec.12908

Jousimo, J, Tack, AJM, Ovaskainen, O., Mononen, T., Susi, H., Tollenaere, C. & Laine, A.-L. 2014. Ecological and evolutionary effects of fragmentation on infectious disease dynamics. Science, 344: 1289-1293. DOI: 10.1126/science.1253621

Laine, A.-L., Burdon et al.  2014. Host ecotype generates evolutionary and epidemiological divergence across a pathogen metapopulation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 281: 20140522. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0522

Soubeyrand, S. Tollenaere, C., Haon-Lasportes, E. & Laine, A.-L. 2014. Regression-based ranking of pathogen strains with respect to their contribution to natural epidemics. PLoS ONE 9(1): e86591. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086591

Tack, A. J. M. & Laine, A.-L. 2014. Ecological and evolutionary implications of spatial heterogeneity during the off-season for a wild plant pathogen. New Phytologist 202: 297-308. DOI: 10.1111/nph.12646

Tack, A. J. M., Horns, F. & Laine, A.-L. 2014. The impact of spatial scale and habitat configuration on patterns of trait variation and local adaptation in a wild plant parasite. Evolution, 68:176-189. DOI: 10.1111/evo.12239

Tack, A. J. M. & Laine, A.-L. 2014 Spatial eco-evolutionary feedback in wild plant-pathogen interactions. European Journal of Plant Pathology, 138: 667-677. DOI: 10.1007/s10658-013-0353-x


Susi, H. & Laine, A.-L. 2013. Pathogen life-history correlations change in allopatry. Evolution 67: 3362-3370. DOI: 10.1111/evo.12182

Laine, A.-L. & Barrès, B. 2013. Epidemiological and evolutionary consequences of virulence costs. Plant Pathology 62: S96-105. DOI: 10.1111/ppa.12129

Tack, A. J. M., Hakala, J., Petäjä, T., Kulmala, M. & Laine, A.-L. 2013. Genotype and spatial structure shape pathogen dispersal and disease dynamics at small spatial scales. Ecology 95:703-714. DOI: 10.1890/13-0518.1

Harrison, E. Laine, A.-L., Hietala, M. & Brockhurst, M. 2013. Rapidly fluctuating environments constrain co-evolutionary arms races by impeding selective sweeps. Proceeding of the Royal Society B, 280: 20130937. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.0937

Tollenaere, C. & Laine, A.-L. 2013 Investigating the production of sexual resting structures in a plant pathogen reveals unexpected self-fertility and genotype-by-environment effects. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 26: 1716-1726. DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12169


Tollenaere, C. Susi, H., Nokso-Koivisto, J., Koskinen, P. Tack, A. J. M., Auvinen, P. Paulin, L., Frilander, M. J., Lehtonen, R. & Laine, A.-L. 2012. SNP Design from 454 Sequencing of Podosphaera plantaginis Transcriptome Reveals a Genetically Diverse Pathogen Metapopulation with High Levels of Mixed-Genotype Infection. PLoS ONE 7: e52492. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052492

Tack, A., Thrall, P. H. Barrett, L. G., Burdon, J. J. & Laine, A.-L. 2012. Variation in infectivity and aggressiveness in space and time in wild host-pathogen systems- causes and consequences. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 25:1918-1936. DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2012.02588.x

Nemri, A., Barrett, L. G., Laine, A.-L., Burdon, J. J., & Thrall, P. H. 2012. Population Processes at Multiple Spatial Scales Maintain Diversity and Adaptation in the Linum marginale Melampsora lini Association. PLoS ONE 7: e41366. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041366

Thrall, P. H., Laine, A.-L., Ravensdale, M. Nemri, A. Dodds, P. N. & Burdon, J. J. 2012. Rapid genetic change underpins antagonistic coevolution in a natural host-pathogen metapopulation. Ecology Letters, 15: 425-35. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01749.x


Laine, A.-L. 2011. Context dependent effects of induced resistance in mediating subsequent infections in a plant-pathogen interaction. Evolutionary Applications, 4: 696–707. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-4571.2011.00194.x

Laine, A.-L., Burdon, J. J., Dodds, P. N. & Thrall, P. H. 2011. Spatial variation in disease resistance: from molecules to metapopulations. Journal of Ecology, 99: 96-112. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2010.01738.x

Antonovics, J. Thrall, P.H., Burdon, J. J. & Laine, A.-L. 2011. Partial resistance in the Linum-Melampsora host-pathogen system: does partial resistance make the Red Queen run slower? Evolution, 65: 512-522. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01146.x

North, A., Pennanen, J., Ovaskainen, O., & Laine, A.-L. 2011. Local adaptation in a changing world: the roles of gene flow, mutation, and sexual reproduction. Evolution, 65: 79-89. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01107.x

Thrall, P. H., Laine, A.-L.,Broadhurst, L. M.,  Bagnall, D. J., Brockwell, J. 2011 .Symbiotic Effectiveness of Rhizobial Mutualists Varies in Interactions with Native Australian Legume Genera. PLoS ONE 6: e23545. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023545


Thompson, J. N., Laine, A.-L., & Thompson, J. F. 2010. Retention of mutualism in a geographically diverging interaction. Ecology Letters, 13:1368-1377. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2010.01529.x


Georgescu, V., Kretzschemmar, A., Soubeyrand, S. & Laine, A.-L. 2009. Exploring spatial and multitype assemblages of species abundances. Biometrical Journal, 51: 979-995. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2010.01529.x

Laine, A.-L. 2009. Role of coevolution in generating biological diversity – spatially divergent selection trajectories. Journal of Experimental Botany 60: 2957-2970. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erp168

Soubeyrand, S., Laine, A.-L., Hanski, I. & Penttinen, A. 2009. Spatio-temporal structure of host-pathogen interactions in a metapopulation. American Naturalist, 174:308-320. DOI: 10.1086/603624


Laine, A.-L. 2008 Temperature-mediated patterns of local adaptation in a natural plant-pathogen metapopulation. Ecology Letters 11:327-337. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2007.01146.x

Van Nouhuys, S. & Laine, A.-L. 2008 Population dynamics and sex ratio of a parasitoid altered by fungal infected diet of host butterfly. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 275: 787-795. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2007.1588

Laine, A.-L. & Tellier, A. 2008. Heterogeneous selection promotes polymorphism maintenance in host-parasite interactions. Oikos 117:1281-1288. DOI: 10.1111/j.0030-1299.2008.16563.x


Laine, A.-L. 2007. Pathogen fitness components and genotypes differ in their sensitivity to nutrient and temperature variation in a wild plant-pathogen association. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20: 2371-2378. DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2007.01406.x

Roslin, T. Laine, A.-L. & Gripenberg, S. 2007. Spatial population structure in an obligate plant pathogen colonizing oak (Quercus robur). Functional Ecology 21:1168-1177. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2007.01315.x

Laine, A.-L. 2007. Detecting local adaptation in a natural plant-pathogen metapopulation – a laboratory vs. field transplant approach. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20: 1665-1673. DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2007.01359.x


Laine, A.-L. 2006. Evolution of host resistance: looking for coevolutionary hotspots at small spatial scales. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 273:267-273. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2005.3303

Ovaskainen, O. & Laine, A.-L. 2006. Inferring evolutionary signals from ecological data in a plant-pathogen metapopulation. Ecology 87: 880-891. DOI: 10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87[880:IESFED]2.0.CO;2

Laine, A.-L. & Hanski, I. 2006. Large-scale spatial dynamics of specialist plant pathogen. Journal of Ecology. 92: 990-1000. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2005.01075.x


Laine, A.-L. 2005. Spatial scale of local adaptation in a plant-pathogen metapopulation. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 18:930-938. DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2005.00933.x


Laine, A.-L. 2004. Resistance variation within and among host populations in a plant-pathogen metapopulation – implications for regional pathogen dynamics. Journal of Ecology 92: 990-1000. DOI: 10.1111/j.0022-0477.2004.00925.x

Laine, A.-L. 2004. A powdery mildew infection on a shared host plant affects the dynamics of the Glanville fritillary butterfly populations. Oikos 107: 329-337. DOI: 10.1111/j.0030-1299.2004.12990.x

Rautiainen, P., Laine, A.-L., Aspi, J., Aikio, S., Siira, J. & Hyvärinen, M. 2004. Seashore disturbance and management of the clonal Arctophila fulva: Modelling patch dynamics. Applied Vegetation Science 7:221-228. DOI: 10.1111/j.1654-109X.2004.tb00613.x


Laine, A.-L. 2003. First report of Phomopsis subordinaria in a natural population of Plantago lanceolata L. in Southwest Finland. Plant Pathology 52: 422. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-3059.2003.00844.x


Laine, A.-L. 2013. Metapopulation Ecology and Mutualisms. In Mutualism. Ed. Bronstein, J. L. Oxford University Press. In press.

Kasanen, R. Wilson, P. & Laine, A.-L. 2013. Epidemiologia. Kirjassa: Sienten biologia Eds. S. Timonen & J. Valkonen. Gaudeamus. In Press.

Laine, A.-L. 2013. Evoluution suunta pirstoutuvissa elinympäristöissä. In Sata Tieteen Saavutusta. Eds. P. Havaste, T. Markkanen, & A. Tiitta. Heureka. In Press.

Rautiainen, P. & Laine, A.-L. 2005. Pohjansorsimon populaatiodynamiikka Liminganlahdella. In Suomen maatalousympäristön monimuotoisuus (eds M. K. J. Tiainen, I. Laurila & T. Toivonen). Edita, Helsinki.

Our work is funded by