MSc Thesis Topic: Plant/Soil interactions

Plant/Soil Interaction with Jacobaea Vulgaris in the field

Picture: Tess van de Voorde
Picture: Tess van de Voorde

Over time, the abundance of Jacobaea vulgaris increases rapidly, after which it declines again. What is determining the decline in abundance of this plant?The main question is how this plant influences the soil AND how the soil influences J. vulgaris’ performance? Also neighboring plants can influence the J. vulgaris, what is their influence in the field?To get a better idea of the interactions that occur, greenhouse- and field experiments will be conducted.

Some examples:

  • Is the seed availability limiting J. vulgaris abundance? We can test this by sowing J. vulgaris seeds in experimental plots in the field or in a mesocosm experiment in the greenhouse.
  • What is the effect of the soil microbial community, e.g. fungi, mycorrhizal fungi, bacteria or nematodes, on the growth and performance of J. vulgaris?  

Period:

The field season is from April till September. Greenhouse experiment can be conducted year-round. Minimal duration: 3 months. Suitable for thesis and internship. _____________________________________________________________________________________________

Plant/soil-interactions with Common Ragwort during secondary succession

Picture: Tess van de Voorde
Picture: Tess van de Voorde

Within this study we will focus on how different plant species influence each other indirectly by changes in the soil. We will study this by studying the plant species present around Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris, Jakobskruiskruid) and how these species change Ragwort performance. Besides neighboring plant species, also insects present on Ragwort can affect the plants growth. Therefore, we are planning to start a field observation study in which we will map all plant species present around ragwort and the insect interacting with the plant.

Are you interested in doing field work and you have experience with plant and/ or insect species survey, you can email or call for more information.

Period:

The field season is from April till September, within this period we will go to the fields for some weeks. Minimal duration: 3 months.