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Robert Spitzer

Robert Spitzer


My main research interest is trophic ecology. Unraveling the complex relationships between organisms and food sources is not only fascinating in itself, but also helps in addressing some important questions surrounding the conservation and management of animal populations. The quantity and quality of available food resources, for example, directly affects the condition, survival and fitness of individuals, while the search for food explains a lot about how animals move throughout the landscape and which habitats they choose. 

In my current project ‘Macronutrient Balancing in Northern Cervids’, I investigate patterns and drivers of macronutrient balancing in wild ungulates (moose, roe deer, red deer, and fallow deer) across different seasons and sites in Sweden, using the Geometric Framework of Nutrition. 

I am also a member of the Molecular Ecology Group and generally very enthusiastic about the research possibilities offered through powerful molecular techniques such as DNA metabarcoding or SNP genotyping.

Whenever I am not in Sweden studying ungulates, I am most likely to be found in Guyana, South America, working on sun conures, an endangered species of parakeet that lives in the transition zone between savannas and rain forests.


Postdoc, Project 'Macronutrient Balancing in Northern Cervids'

2020 PhD, Biology, SLU, Umeå

2015 MSc, Management of Fish and Wildlife Populations, SLU, Umeå

2005 MSc, Forestry Sciences, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany



  • Sandra Pettersson, MSc, 2021
  • Aurelien Henet, Research Intern, 2020
  • Leonardo Capoani, MSc, 2019
  • Cajsa Söder, BSc, 2018
  • Sabine Pfeffer, MSc, 2016

Selected publications

  • Fohringer, C., Dudka, I., Spitzer, R., Stenbacka, F., Rzhepishevska, O., Cromsigt, J., Gröbner, G., Ericsson, G., Singh, N. (2021) Integrating omics to characterize eco-physiological adaptations: How moose diet and metabolism differ across biogeographic zones. Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1002/ece3.7265
  • Spitzer, R., Coissac, E., Felton, A., Fohringer, C., Landman, M., Singh, N.J., Taberlet, P., Widemo, F., Cromsigt, J.P.G.M (2021) Small shrubs with large importance? Smaller deer may increase the moose-forestry conflict through feeding competition over Vaccinium shrubs in the field layer. Forest Ecology and Management 480.doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2020.118768
  • Churski, M., Spitzer, R., Coissac, E., Taberlet, P., Lescinskaite, J., van Ginkel, H.A.L., Kuijper, D.P.J., Cromsigt, J.P.G.M. (2020) How do forest management and wolf space-use affect diet composition of the wolf’s main prey, the red deer versus a non-prey species, the European bison? Forest Ecology and Management 479. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2020.118620
  • Spitzer, R., Felton, A., Landman, M., Singh, N.J., Widemo, F. and Cromsigt, J.P.G.M. (2020), Fifty years of European ungulate dietary studies: a synthesis. Oikos. doi:10.1111/oik.07435
  • Spitzer, R., Norman, A.J., Königsson, H., Schiffthaler, B., Spong, G. (2020) De novo discovery of SNPs for genotyping endangered sun parakeets (Aratinga solstitialis) in Guyana. Conservation Genetics Resources. doi:10.1007/s12686-020-01151-x
  • Spitzer, R., Churski, M., Felton, A., Heurich, M., Kuijper, D.P.J., Landman, M., Rodriguez, E., Singh, N.J., Taberlet, P., van Beeck Calkoen, S.T.S., Widemo, F., Cromsigt, J.P.G.M. (2019) Doubting dung: eDNA reveals high rates of misidentification in diverse European ungulate communities. European Journal of Wildlife Research 65: 28. doi:10.1007/s10344-019-1264-8
  • Pfeffer, S.E., Spitzer, R., Allen, A.M., Hofmeester, T.R., Ericsson, G., Widemo, F., Singh, N.J. and Cromsigt, J.P. (2018), Pictures or pellets? Comparing camera trapping and dung counts as methods for estimating population densities of ungulates. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, 4: 173-183. doi:10.1002/rse2.67 
  • Spitzer, R., Norman, A.J., Schneider, M. and Spong, G. (2016), Estimating population size using single‐nucleotide polymorphism‐based pedigree data. Ecology and Evolution, 6: 3174-3184. doi:10.1002/ece3.2076