Ester Rut Unnsteinsdóttir was born in Hafnarfjörður the year 1968. She graduated as a technical drawer in 1987 from the technical college in Reykjavík and worked at Gláma/Kím architects for a few years. After giving birth to her younger daughter she changed interests and began studying nature science. This was in 1996 and she received a B.Sc. degree in biology from the University of Iceland in 1999. Her final project concerned denning behavior of arctic foxes, based on her own observation on breeding foxes in the wild. During that study, she became fascinated by this little carnivore and how it has managed to cope with the hostile nature and deal with human activities.
Later on, Ester´s graduate project did, however, not include foxes, as her PhD project was on the population ecology of wood mice. Despite field work in the mouse study area close to Reykjavík, all summers, since 1998, were spent in her beloved Hornstrandir nature reserve, studying arctic foxes. Sometimes accompanied with her husband, other times in collaboration with both internal and external scientists. In June 2010 she and her colleagues established The Arctic Fox Centre, a nonprofit research and exhibition Centre, in the west fjords of Iceland. Ester was the center’s director from the beginning until September 2013 when she began to work as a mammal ecologist at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History. Ester is still involved as a board director of the Centre and her studies on the arctic foxes in Hornstrandir nature reserve are still amongst her main passions.