University of Helsinki Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Faculty of Science
Faculty of Social Sciences


Bob O'Hara

Academy Research Fellow
Biometry and Biomathematics

Contact info

Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics
P.O. Box 68
FIN-00014, University of Helsinki, Finland

Phone: +358 9 191 51479
Fax: +358 9 191 51400
Visiting address: (Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2b), top floor, room A409


I am forever unclear about whether I am a biologist or a statistician (I think it depends on who I'm talking to). Most of my work is at the interface of the two. Fortunately for me, I am presently employed by the Academy of Finland as a research fellow, which means that I can avoid doing too much teaching.

As well as my normal research, I also run the OpenBUGS web pages, and am a founder of the Journal of Negative Results - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

I also hang around and blog at Nature Network.

Research interests

I spend most of my time working on ecology and evolutionary biology, mainly statistical analyses. My areas of interest include:

  • Community ecology
  • Evolutionary and quantitative genetics
  • Population ecology
  • Risk assessments for genetically modified organisms (part of the ARGUE project)
More details are given here.


Thanks to my present position, I do not have to do any teaching. This does not totally stop me from inflicting my typos and poor sense of humour on students, and there are details of previous courses I have taught are here. I taught these courses last summer:

Recent Publications

For a full list of publications, click here, or try the spiffy ResearcherID link:

  • Kuparinen, A., Schurr, F., Tackenberg, O., O'Hara R.B., 2007. Air-mediated pollen flow from genetically modified to conventional crops -risk assessment with a mechanistic model. Ecological Applications 17: 431-440.

  • Leinonen, T., O'Hara, R.B., Cano, J.M., Merilä, J., 2008. Comparative studies of quantitative trait and neutral marker divergence: A meta-analysis. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21: 1-17. Link

  • Mutshinda, C.M., O'Hara, R.B. and Woiwod, I.P. 2008. Species abundance dynamics under neutral assumptions: a Bayesian approach to the controversy. \Functional Ecology 22: 340-347. Link

  • Mutshinda, C.M., O'Hara, R.B. and Woiwod, I.P. What drives community dynamics? Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, in press. Link

  • O'Hara, R.B., 2005. Comparing the effects of genetic drift and fluctuating selection on genotype frequency changes in the scarlet tiger moth. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, 272: 211-217.

  • O'Hara R.B. 2009. Selective harvesting with equations: comment on "Should hunting mortality mimic the patterns of natural mortality?". Biology Letters. 5: 211-212. Link.

  • Snäll, T., O'Hara, R.B., Ray, C., Collinge, S.K., 2008. Climate-driven spatial dynamics of plague among prairie dog colonies. American Naturalist 171: 238-248. Link