MSc Thesis Topic: Exotic plant impact on belowground microorganisms and nutrient cycling

Climate change might make that exotic plants expand their ranges from warmer regions towards the poles. These plants can become abundant or even invasive in their new range. Exotic plants from other continents can also spread into new ranges via accidental introductions.

We study if these plants can become more abundant via influencing nutrient cycling for nutrient acquisition. If you would like to do an internship within this subject different topics are possible.

Invasive plants along the river Waal/Picture: Tim Engelkes
Invasive plants along the river Waal/Picture: Tim Engelkes

Examples of possible topics:

  • Exotic plants and impact on nutrient cycling in soil. What is the impact of exotic plants on microbes involved in nutrient cycling in soil?
  • Climate change and plant responses in the Netherlands. What is the response of different plants to climate change stresses?
  • Exotic plants grown in competition with other plants. How do exotic plants influence nutrient cycling when grown in competition with other plants?
  • Influence of insect herbivory on belowground microbes. What is the best method to study insect impact on belowground microbes?


Depending on the topic chosen greenhouse, laboratory and/ or field experiments are possible. The projects are suitable for a research project, master thesis or internship.


The duration of the projects is 4 months, but preferably longer