Biological Evolution and the Diversification of Languages

Jenni Santaharju (née Leppänen)

Jenni Leppänen

Doctor of Philosophy (Biological and Environmental Sciences), University of Helsinki, Phylogeography and population genetics of social parasitism in Myrmica ants

Major interests

  • Applying methods used in evolutionary biology to linguistics
  • Phylogeography of languages, language change in time and place
  • Factors promoting divergence of linguistic lineages
  • The origin of Uralic languages and Finnish dialects

List of publications


  • Lehikoinen, A., Fraixedas, S., Burgas, D., Eriksson, H., Henttonen, H., Laakkonen, H., Lehikoinen, P., Lehtomäki, J., Leppänen, J., Mäkeläinen, S., Niemimaa, J., Pihlajaniemi, M., Santaharju. J. & Välimäki, K. The impact of weather and the phase of the rodent cycle on breeding populations of waterbirds in Finnish Lapland. Ornis Fennica 93: 31-46.
  • Leppänen, J., Seppä, P., Vepsäläinen, K., & Savolainen, R. 2016: Mating isolation between the ant Myrmica rubra and its microgynous social parasite. Insectes Sociaux (63), 79-86.
  • Leppänen, J., Seppä, P., Vepsäläinen, K., & Savolainen, R. 2015; Genetic divergence between the sympatric queen morphs of the ant Myrmica rubra. Molecular Ecology 24 (10): 2463-2476.
  • Leppänen, J., Vepsäläinen, K., Anthoni, H. & Savolainen, R. 2013: Comparative phylogeography of the ants Myrmica ruginodis and Myrmica rubra. Journal of Biogeography,40 (3):479-491.
  • Leppänen, J., Vepsäläinen, K. & Savolainen, R. 2011: Phylogeography of the ant Myrmica rubra and its inquiline social parasite. Ecology and Evolution 1: 46-62.

Pending manuscripts

  • Leppänen, J., Seppä, P., Honkola, T., Seppä, P., Syrjänen, K. & Vesakoski, O. Manuscript: Population genetic methodology reveals historical linguistic contacts in Finland.

Contact Information

Email: jenni.leppanen(at)

Helsingin yliopisto     Tampereen yliopisto     Turun yliopisto     Kotimaisten kielten keskus