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Emil Andersson

I have recently started as a licentiate student at the Department of Southern Swedish Forest Science in Alnarp. I am researching how forest ants are affected by different forestry practices.

Research

My licentiate project consists of two studies related to ants, specifically the red wood ants (Formica rufa group), and Swedish forestry.

Red wood ants (RWA) are characteristic species in Swedish coniferous forests, and their mounds are also home to many other types of arthropods, while serving as an important food source for woodpeckers, among others. Therefore, they can be considered keystone species. Despite this, we currently know relatively little about the conditions and trends for the development of ant populations or the effectiveness of measures to conserve them.

In one project, I am identifying red wood ants collected during the national forest inventory (NFI) from 2021 to 2023. I will compare how various environmental factors recorded in the NFI correlate with the presence of RWA in general and whether there are differences between different species.

In the second project, I will examine the composition of ant fauna in newly established stands of fast-growing deciduous trees, with a particular focus on whether RWA colonize these stands.

In addition to the licentiate projects, I also have another project that deals with the survival of RWA after final felling. Here, I am investigating whether the survival of ant colonies improves if the remaining consideration trees are concentrated around the mound.

Background

I did my master's thesis on the communication and navigation skills of the red wood ant species Formica polyctena at the Center for Social Evolution at the University of Copenhagen.


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