MSc Thesis Topic: Plant/soil interaction with Jacobaea vulgaris in the field

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?

close-up of rosette (left)  and flowering Jacobaea vulgaris/Picture: Martijn Bezemer
close-up of rosette (left) and flowering Jacobaea vulgaris/Picture: Martijn Bezemer

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?

Duration:

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