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Population Ecologist Dies

Ilkka Hanski of the University of Helsinki has passed away at age 63.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst was managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Ilkka HanskiWIKIMEDIA, TEEMU RAJALAIlkka Hanski, known to some as the father of metapopulation theory, died last week (May 10) after battling a long illness, according to a press release from the University of Helsinki, where he led the Metapopulation Research Centre. He was 63.

Hanski studied a variety of areas relating to biodiversity, including the potential importance of being exposed to diverse microbes to improve immunity and reduce allergies and other inflammatory diseases.

A member of the U.K.’s Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences, Hanski received the 2011 Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for excellence in research fields outside the scope of the Nobel Prize, as well as the International Balzan Prize, the Latsis Prize for biodiversity research, and several Finnish awards for his research and efforts in science education and popularizing his field. This February, he was granted the Frontiers of Knowledge Award in ecology and conservation biology.

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