I work in two related projects that concern red wood ants (the Formica rufa group) and forestry, together with Emma Holmström.
One project deals with the survival of red wood ants after clearcutting. We investigate whether the survival of the ant colonies is improved when retention trees are concentrated to the vicinity of the ant mound.
In the second project, we look at samples of wood ants gathered by the Swedish National Forest Inventories in 2021 and 2022, and I do species determination for these samples. We will compare how different environmental factors correlate with the occurrence of red wood ants, ant if there are species specific factors.
Red wood ants are characteristic species in the Swedish coniferous forests, and their mounds are also home to many other types of arthropods. Wood ants also serve as an important food source for woodpeckers, and help with spreding some plant seeds. They can therefore be said to be keystone species. Despite this, we currently know relatively little about the their population status and trends, and about which measures are effective to protect them.
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.