Curious, handy arctic fox researcher
Rasmus Erlandsson’s interest in arctic foxes started back in 2008 when he saw a message on a notice board at Stockholm University where he was studying. Volunteers were needed – field workers – for the summer’s inventory work of arctic foxes. That was seven years ago and now he has just completed his first year as a doctoral student at the Department of Zoology. Rasmus has the job of researching the arctic fox’s ecology together with a group who run the Swedish Arctic Fox Project, and he is responsible for organising the fieldwork for the project.
Rasmus’ research involves investigating how arctic foxes are affected by their surrounding landscape. Among other things, he looks closely at how the animals they prey on, predators, and competitors – such as the red fox – depend on vegetation and the area in which they live. In order to conduct this kind of research, Rasmus finds himself in the mountains a lot, but he is also working with a method that will allow him to easily use aerial pictures to analyse the landscape and its characteristics. Ultimately, the Department of Zoology hopes that aerial pictures will provide their research with an effective tool for analysing the arctic fox’s close environment.
Aerial pictures allow the work to be carried out much faster than it can be done on foot and larger areas can be covered than what is presently possible. Rasmus, however, has nothing against trekking far and wide in the mountains. He is constantly longing to get back up there, even if the Stockholm archipelago is also a favourite place.
Rasmus likes being outdoors in general and is also a practical sort of guy. Even if fieldwork with arctic foxes mostly involves smaller things – feeding stations, cages and outdoor equipment – it is good to be handy and practical when you are out in the field and have to solve all kinds of problems on your own.
Since 2013, Fjällräven has been financing Rasmus’ doctoral position at the Department of Zoology at Stockholm University, as part of long-term support plan for the Swedish Arctic Fox Project.