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Dr. J.K. (Jonna) Kulmuni

Assistant Professor, Evolutionary Ecology in Rapidly Changing Environments
Faculty of Science
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Visiting address
  • Science Park 904
Postal address
  • Postbus 94240
    1090 GE Amsterdam
  • Research Profile

    In broad terms I am interested how different evolutionary processes shape genes and genomes, generate diversity and lead to adaptation and speciation. Projects in my group aim at understanding the process of speciation through space and time, how hybrid genomes evolve and are shaped by natural selection and how selection acts on natural populations. My main study system is the mound building Formica wood ants, which have recently diverged and still hybridize extensively.

    You can find more information about my research here:

    I am also involved in ESEB funded Special Topic Network “Integration of speciation research” (IOS) and arrange range of activities from online international seminars to workshops.

  • Publications

    Satokangas I, Nouhaud P, Seifert B, Punttila P, Schultz R, Jones MM, Sirén J, Helanterä H, Kulmuni J. Extensive hybridisation between multiple differently adapted species may aid persistence in a changing climate. bioRxiv

    Rönkä KH, Eroukhmanoff H, Kulmuni J, Nouhaud P, Thorogood R. Beyond genes-for-behaviour: the potential for genomics to resolve questions in avian brood parasitism. EcoEvoRxiv doi:

    Thorogood R, Mustonen V, Aleixo A, Aphalo P, Asiegbu F, Cabeza M, Cairns J, Candolin U, Cardoso P, Eronen J,  Hällfors M, Hovatta I, Juslen A, Kovalchuk A, Kulmuni J, Kuula L, Mäkipää R, Ovaskainen O, Pesonen A, Primmer C, Saatamoinen M, Schulman A, Schulman L, Strona G, Vanhatalo J. Understanding and Applying Biological Resilience, from Genes to Ecosystems. Submitted. EcoEvoRxiv doi:

    22. Kulmuni J*, Wiley B*, Otto S. On the fast track: hybrids can adapt more rapidly than parental populations in a changing environment. Manuscript accepted to Evolution Letters Special Issue on Climate Change. *equal contributions

    21. Nouhaud P, Martin SH, Portinha B, Sousa VC, Kulmuni J. Rapid and predictable genome evolution across three hybrid ant populations. Accepted to PLOS Biology.

    20. Konu M, Kulmuni J, Viljakainen L. (2022) Genetic modification of the ant Lasius niger using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. Insect Molecular Biology. 1-15. doi:

    19. Pamilo P, Kulmuni J. (2022) Genetic identification of Formica rufa group species and their putative hybrids in northern Europe. Myrmecological News. 32: 93-102. doi: 10.25849/myrmecol.news_032:093.

    18. Portinha B, Avril A, Bernasconi C, Helanterä H, Monaghan J, Seifert B, Sousa V*, Kulmuni J*, Nouhaud P*. (2022) Whole-genome analysis of multiple wood ant population pairs supports similar speciation histories, but different degrees of gene flow, across their European range. Molecular Ecology (12):3416-3431. doi: 10.1111/mec.16481. *equal contribution

    17. Nouhaud P, Beresford J, Kulmuni J. (2022) Assembly of a hybrid Formica aquilonia x Formica polyctena ant genome from a haploid male. Journal of Heredity. esac019.

    16. Martin-Roy R*, Nygård E*, Nouhaud P, Kulmuni J. (2021) Differences in thermal tolerance between parental species could fuel thermal adaptation in hybrid wood ants. Manuscript accepted to the American Naturalist. *equal contribution. See press release in finnish.

    15. Kulmuni J, Nouhaud P, Pluckrose L, Satokangas I, Dhaygude K, Butlin RK (2020). Instability of natural selection at candidate barrier loci underlying speciation in wood ants. Molecular Ecology. 29 (20), 3988-3999.

    14. Satokangas I, Martin S, Helanterä H, Saramäki J, Kulmuni J. (2020) Multi-locus interactions and the build-up of reproductive isolation. Review article accepted for a Special Issue in Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society B. Find the author accepted manuscript here: Satokangas_etal_aam_0520b_final.

    13. Kulmuni J, Butlin R.K, Lucek K, Savolainen V, Westram AM. (2020) Towards completion of speciation: the evolution of reproductive isolation beyond the first barriers. Introductory article article accepted for a Special Issue in Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society B. B 375 (1806), 20190528. Find the accepted version here.

    12. Nouhaud P, Blanckaert A, Bank C, Kulmuni J. (2020) Understanding admixture: haplodiploidy to the rescue. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. DOI:

    11. Dhaygude K, Johansson H, Kulmuni J, Sundström L. (2019) Genome organization and molecular characterization of the three Formica exsecta viruses- FeV1, FeV2 and FeV4. PeerJ 6:e6216

    10. Ghenu A, Blanckaert A, Butlin R, Kulmuni J, Bank C. (2018) Conflict between heterozygote advantage and hybrid incompatibility in haplodiploids (and sex chromosomes). Invited contribution to Special Issue “The role of sex chromosomes in speciation” in Molecular Ecology. 27:3935-3949.

    9. Beresford J, Elias M, Pluckrose L, Sundström L, Butlin R, Pamilo P, Kulmuni J. (2017) Widespread hybridization within mound-building wood ants in Southern Finland results in cytonuclear mismatches and potential for sex-specific hybrid breakdown. Molecular Ecology. 15:4013-4026.

    8. Kulmuni J, Westram A. (2017) Intrinsic incompatibilities evolving as a by-product of divergent ecological selection: Considering them in empirical studies on divergence with gene flow. Molecular Ecology. 12:3093-3103.

    7. Helanterä H, Kulmuni J & Pamilo P. (2016) Sex allocation conflict between queens and workers in Formica pratensis wood ants predicts seasonal sex ratio variation. Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/evo.13018.

    6. Kulmuni J & Pamilo, P. (2014) Introgression in hybrid ants is favored in females but selected against in males. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1323045111.

    5. Morandin C, Havukainen H, Kulmuni J, Dhaygude K, Trontti K & Helanterä H. (2014) Not only for egg yolk – functional and evolutionary insights from expression, selection and structural analyses of Formica ant vitellogenins. Mol Biol Evol. 2014 Aug;31(8):2181-93.

    4. Kulmuni J & Havukainen H. (2013) Insights into the Evolution of the CSP Gene Family through the Integration of Evolutionary Analysis and Comparative Protein Modeling. PLoS ONE. 8(5):e63688.

    3. Kulmuni J, Wurm Y & Pamilo P. (2013) Comparative genomics of chemosensory protein genes reveals rapid evolution and positive selection in ant-specific duplicates. Heredity. 110(6):538-47.

    2. Kulmuni J, Seifert B & Pamilo, P. (2010) Segregation distortion causes large-scale differences between male and female genomes in hybrid ants. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 107(16): 7371-7376.

    1. Seifert, B Kulmuni J & Pamilo, P. (2010) Independent hybrid populations of Formica polyctena X rufa wood ants (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) abound under conditions of forest fragmentation. Evol Ecol. 24(5):1219-1237.

  • Ancillary activities
    • University of Helsinki
      Research work 10% contract
      Univ. Amsterdam 90% contract