Rasmus Erlandsson

Rasmus Erlandsson


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Works at Department of Zoology
Telephone 08-16 40 52
Visiting address Svante Arrheniusväg 18 B
Room E 449
Postal address Zoologiska institutionen: Ekologi 106 91 Stockholm


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2019. Rasmus Erlandsson (et al.). Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

    Studies of ecological processes should focus on a relevant spatial scale, as crude spatial resolution will fail to detect small scale variation which is of potentially critical importance. Remote sensing methods based on multispectral satellite images are used to assess primary productivity and aerial photos to map vegetation structure. Both methods are based on the principle that photosynthetically active vegetation has a characteristic spectral signature. Yet they are applied differently due to technical differences. Satellite images are suitable for calculations of vegetation indices, for example Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Colour infrared aerial photography was developed for visual interpretation and never regarded for calculation of indices since the spectrum recorded and post processing differ from satellite images. With digital cameras and improved techniques for generating colour infrared orthophotos, the implications of these differences are uncertain and should be explored. We tested if plant productivity can be assessed using colour infrared aerial orthophotos (0.5 m resolution) by applying the standard NDVI equation. With 112 vegetation samples as ground truth, we evaluated an index that we denote rel‐NDVIortho in two areas of the Fennoscandian mountain tundra. We compared the results with conventional SPOT5 satellite‐based NDVI (10 m resolution). rel‐NDVIortho was related to plant productivity (Northern area: P = <0.001, R2 = 0.73; Southern area: P = <0.001, R2 = 0.39), performed similar to SPOT5 satellite NDVI (Northern area: P = <0.001, R2 = 0.76; Southern area: P = <0.001, R2 = 0.40) and the two methods were highly correlated (cor = 0.95 and cor = 0.84). Despite different plant composition, the results were consistent between areas. Our results suggest that vegetation indices based on colour infrared aerial orthophotos can be a valuable tool in the remote sensing toolbox, offering a high‐spatial resolution proxy for plant productivity with less signal degradation due to atmospheric interference and clouds, compared to satellite images. Further research should aim to investigate if the method is applicable to other ecosystems.

  • 2018. Malin Hasselgren (et al.). Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences 285 (1875)

    Isolation of small populations can reduce fitness through inbreeding depression and impede population growth. Outcrossing with only a few unrelated individuals can increase demographic and genetic viability substantially, but few studies have documented such genetic rescue in natural mammal populations. We investigate the effects of immigration in a subpopulation of the endangered Scandinavian arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), founded by six individuals and isolated for 9 years at an extremely small population size. Based on a long-term pedigree (105 litters, 543 individuals) combined with individual fitness traits, we found evidence for genetic rescue. Natural immigration and gene flow of three outbred males in 2010 resulted in a reduction in population average inbreeding coefficient (f), from 0.14 to 0.08 within 5 years. Genetic rescue was further supported by 1.9 times higher juvenile survival and 1.3 times higher breeding success in immigrant first-generation offspring compared with inbred offspring. Five years after immigration, the population had more than doubled in size and allelic richness increased by 41%. This is one of few studies that has documented genetic rescue in a natural mammal population suffering from inbreeding depression and contributes to a growing body of data demonstrating the vital connection between genetics and individual fitness.

  • 2017. Dominique Berteaux (et al.). Polar Research 36 (suppl. 1)

    The biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council has developed pan-Arctic biodiversity monitoring plans to improve our ability to detect, understand and report on long-term change in Arctic biodiversity. The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) was identified as a target of future monitoring because of its circumpolar distribution, ecological importance and reliance on Arctic ecosystems. We provide the first exhaustive survey of contemporary Arctic fox monitoring programmes, describing 34 projects located in eight countries. Monitored populations covered equally the four climate zones of the species’ distribution, and there were large differences between populations in long-term trends, multi-annual fluctuations, diet composition, degree of competition with red fox and human interferences. Den density, number of active dens, number of breeding dens and litter size were assessed in almost all populations, while projects varied greatly with respect to monitoring of other variables indicative of population status, ecosystem state or ecosystem function. We review the benefits, opportunities and challenges to increased integration of monitoring projects. We argue that better harmonizing protocols of data collection and data management would allow new questions to be addressed while adding tremendous value to individual projects. However, despite many opportunities, challenges remain. We offer six recommendations that represent decisive progress toward a better integration of Arctic fox monitoring projects. Further, our work serves as a template that can be used to integrate monitoring efforts of other species, thereby providing a key step for future assessments of global biodiversity.

  • 2017. Rasmus Erlandsson (et al.). Canadian Journal of Zoology 95, 239-246

    Reproductive experience affects juvenile survival in a wide range of species with possible links to differences in foraging capacity and predation. Using supplementary feeding, we aimed to limit direct effect of prey abundance to investigate indirect effects of small-rodent availability and maternal experience on juvenile summer survival rates in an endangered population of arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus (L., 1758)). We used data spanning 7 years, included a complete small-rodent cycle, comprising 49 litters and 394 cubs. The effect of small-rodent abundance on juvenile survival depended on maternal breeding experience. Cubs born by first-time-breeding females had lower survival rate when small-rodent abundance was low compared with juveniles born to experienced mothers who remained unaffected. It was unlikely due to starvation, as physical condition was unrelated to survival. Instead, we favour the explanation that intraguild predation was an important cause of mortality. There was a negative relationship between survival and amount of time cubs were left unattended, suggesting that parental behaviour affected predation. We propose that a prey switch related to small-rodent abundance caused fluctuations in intraguild predation pressure and that inexperienced females were less able to cope with predation when small rodents were scarce.

  • 2018. Maryline Le Vaillant (et al.). Polar Biology 41 (7), 1391-1403

    Competition between individuals of the same or different species affects spatial distribution of organisms at any given time. Consequently, a species geographical distribution is related to population dynamics through density-dependent processes. Small Arctic rodents are important prey species in many Arctic ecosystems. They commonly show large cyclic fluctuations in abundance offering a potential to investigate how landscape characteristics relates to density-dependent habitat selection. Based on long-term summer trapping data of the Norwegian lemming (Lemmus lemmus) in the Scandinavian Mountain tundra, we applied species distribution modeling to test if the effect of environmental variables on lemming distribution changed in relation to the lemming cycle. Lemmings were less habitat specific during the peak phase, as their distribution was only related to primary productivity. During the increase phase, however, lemming distribution was, in addition, associated with landscape characteristics such as hilly terrain and slopes that are less likely to get flooded. Lemming habitat use varied during the cycle, suggesting density-dependent changes in habitat selection that could be explained by intraspecific competition. We believe that the distribution patterns observed during the increase phase show a stronger ecological signal for habitat preference and that the less specific habitat use during the peak phase is a result of lemmings grazing themselves out of the best habitat as the population grows. Future research on lemming winter distribution would make it possible to investigate the year around strategies of habitat selection in lemmings and a better understanding of a fundamental actor in many Arctic ecosystems.

Show all publications by Rasmus Erlandsson at Stockholm University

Last updated: February 25, 2019

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