Patrik Karell



PhD, Senior researcher

Coastal Zone Research Team
Raseborgsvägen 9




Research interests

Evolution and maintenance of colour polymorphism in natural populations

Ecological immunology - interactions between host physiology and disease ecology

Predator - prey interactions

Life history evolution


I am an evolutionary ecologist with research interests ranging from ecological immunology to life history evolution, behavioural ecology and population dynamics. In my research I investigate ecological and evolutionary processes acting under environmental change in order to understand and predict the persistence of species. I use individual based long-term data and detailed experiments in specific model systems to get new insights in such processes. I believe high quality basic research built around a solid theoretical framework is the key to successful applications in nature conservation and natural resource management. I am also interested in more applied questions dealing with interactions between biodiversity, natural resource use and ecosystem services in forestry and agricultural landscapes.

I did my MSc and PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Helsinki. As a post doc I have worked in Lund University (Sweden) and Åbo Akademi University before my work as a senior researcher at Novia UAS.


Peer reviewed publications

Sæther, B-E., Grøtan, V., Engen, S., Coulson, T., Grant, P., Visser, M.E., Brommer, J.E., Grant, R., Gustafsson, L., Hatchwell, B.J., Jerstad, K., Karell, P., Pietiäinen, H., Roulin, A., Røstad, O.W., Weimerskirch, H. 2016. Demographic routes to variability and regulation in bird populations. — Nature Communications, 7: 12001 doi: 10.1038/ncomms12001

Koskenpato, K., Ahola, K., Karstinen, T. & Karell, P. 2016. Is the denser contour feather structure in pale grey than in pheomelanic brown tawny owls Strix aluco an adaptation to cold environments? — Journal of Avian Biology, 47: 1-6.

Öst, M., Ramula, S., Lindén, A., Karell, P. & Kilpi, M. 2016. Small-scale spatial and temporal variation in the demographic processes underlying he large-scale decline of eiders in the Baltic Sea. — Population Ecology, 58: 121–133.

Brommer, J.E., Karell, P., Aaltonen, E., Ahola, K. & Karstinen, T. 2015. Dissecting direct and indirect parental effects on reproduction in a wild bird of prey: Dad affects when but not how much. — Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 69: 293–302.

Brommer, J.E., Karell, P., Ahola, K. & Karstinen, T. 2014. Residual correlations, and not intrinsic properties of the individuals, determine a nest defense boldness syndrome in tawny owls. — Behavioral Ecology, 25: 802–812.

Karell, P., Brommer, J.E., Ahola, K. & Karstinen, T. 2013. Brown tawny owls moult more flight feathers than grey ones. — Journal of Avian Biology, 44: 235–244.

Pavon-Jordan, D., Karell, P., Ahola, K., Kolunen, H., Pietiäinen, H., Karstinen, T. & Brommer, J.E. 2013. Environmental correlates of annual survival differ between two ecologically similar and closely related owl species. — Ibis, 155: 823-834.

Ekroos, J., Öst, M., Karell, P., Jaatinen, K. & Kilpi, M. 2012. Philopatry predisposes to predation-induced ecological traps: habitat-dependent mortality of breeding eiders. — Oecologia, 170: 979–986

Karell, P., Ahola, K., Karstinen, T., Kolunen, H., Siitari, H. & Brommer, J.E. 2011. Blood parasites mediate morph-specific maintenance costs in a colour polymorphic wild bird. — Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 24: 1783-92.

Karell, P., Ahola, K., Karstinen, T., Valkama, J. & Brommer, J.E. 2011. Climate change drives microevolution in a wild bird. — Nature Communications, 2: 208 / ncomms1213.

Karell, P., Lehtosalo, N., Pietiäinen, H. & Brommer, J.E. 2010. Ural owl predation on field and bank voles by size, sex and reproductive state. — Annales Zoologici Fennici, 47: 90-98.

Kontiainen P., Pietiäinen, H., Karell, P., Pihlaja, T. & Brommer, J.E. 2010. Hatching asynchrony is an individual property of female Ural owls which improves nestling survival. — Behavioral Ecology, 21: 722-729.

Brommer, J.E., Pietiäinen, H., Ahola, K., Karell, P., Karstinen, T. & Kolunen, H. 2010. The return of the vole cycle in southern Finland refutes the generality of the loss of cycles through "climatic forcing". — Global Change Biology, 78: 577-586.

Karell, P., Ahola, K., Karstinen, T., Zolei, A. & Brommer, J.E. 2009. Population dynamics in a cyclic environment: Consequences of cyclic food abundance on tawny owl reproduction and survival. — Journal of Animal Ecology, 78: 150-162

Karell, P., Pietiäinen, H., Siitari, H., Pihlaja, T., Kontiainen, P. & Brommer, J.E. 2009. Parental allocation of additional food to own health and offspring growth in a variable environment. — Canadian Journal of Zoology 87: 8-19.

Kontiainen, P., Pietiäinen, H., Huttunen, K., Karell, P., Kolunen, H., Brommer, J.E. 2009. Aggressive Ural owl mothers recruit more offspring. — Behavioral Ecology, 20: 789-796.

Karell, P., Kontiainen, P., Pietiäinen, H., Siitari, H. & Brommer, J.E. 2008. Maternal effects on offspring Igs and eggsize in relation to natural and experimentally improved food conditions. — Functional Ecology 22: 682-690.

Kontiainen, P., Brommer, J. E., Karell, P. & Pietiäinen, H. 2008. Heritability, plasticity and canalization of Ural owl egg size in a cyclic environment. — Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21: 88-96.

Kekkonen, J., Kolunen, H., Pietiäinen, H., Karell, P. & Brommer, J. E. 2008. Tawny owl reproduction and offspring sex ratios under variable food conditions. — Journal of Ornithology 149: 59-66.

Karell, P., Pietiäinen, H., Siitari, H. & Brommer, J. E. 2007. A possible link between parasite defence and residual reproduction. — Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20: 2248-2252.

Brommer, J.E., Karell, P. & Pietiäinen, H. 2004. Supplementary fed Ural owls increase their reproductive output with a one year time lag. — Oecologia 139: 354-358.

Brommer, J. E., Karell, P., Pihlaja, T., Painter, J., Primmer, C. & Pietiäinen, H. 2003. Ural owl sex allocation and parental investment under poor food conditions. — Oecologia. 137: 140-147.