Chloroplasts on the move: linking chloroplast movements to photosynthesis

Donyou use sunscreen in summer to prevent sunburn? Unfortunately, plants can’t do the same so they must use other strategies to prevent damage from excess light. Did you know that the chloroplasts in plant leaves can move away from the light? Chloroplasts are in constant motion throughout the day depending on the light intensity and spectrum. What we don’t know yet is how important this mechanism is for plants in greenhouses and vertical farms. Since the transmittance of the leaf changes depending on the position of the chloroplasts, we can track chloroplast movements with simple sensors that measure light transmittance. By simultaneously measuring chlorophyll fluorescence we can also quantify the impact on photosynthesis. If you have an interest in how plants cope with light stress and want to work with sensors to quantify physiological processes then this project might be for you. This MSc project can be adapted to suit your interests, whether you want to dive into physiological processes or focus more on the technical side of things. 

Used skills

  • Develop your research question within the overarchin project
  • Measurements of photosynthesis rates and efficiency
  • Data analysis and interpretation (Excel, Python or R)
  • Building/testing sensors and programming (optional)
  • Plant phenotyping
  • Chlorophyll fluorescence

Interested in doing a BSc or MSc thesis at HPP? Please contact the HPP student coordinator Katharina Hanika.