Suggestions for student projects – University of Copenhagen

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Suggestions for Master thesis projects 

Project suggestions for student and postgraduate research

Chlorophyll in bark

When light penetrates tree bark, chlorophyll-containing cells carry out photosynthesis, by re-assimilating respiratory CO2. Bark photosynthesis is thought not only to serve local carbohydrate production but also to ameliorate the low oxygen and high CO2 levels that develop in compact plant tissues.

It is not know, how trees differ with respect to amount and importance of this assimilation, the barks differring greatly in structure from top to tree base as well as among tree species. In this project it is suggested to analyse for chlorophyll contents and chlorophyll composition in fresh barks and measure light penetrability in exsiced bark. The project will be part of a larger research activitiy where bark of Danish trees is analysed in respect to a range of physicial properties, functions and epiphyte biodiversity.

Contact: Hanne Nina Rasmussen

Biological effects of aquaeous extracts from barks
Rain water washes down along tree branches and trunks (stemflow), and in the process extracts ions and several organic compounds. The aim of this project is to find out, whether aquaeous extracts affect the growth of lichens; i.e., whether bark chemistry is responsible for differences among Danish tree species in epiphytic lichen biodiversity.

The study will use pure cultures of the lichen fungi, and exploit sterile cultivation on extract amended agar as a model for quantifying mycelial growth. The project will be part of a larger research activitiy where bark of Danish trees is analysed in respect to a range of physicial properties, functions and epiphyte biodiversity.

Contact: Hanne Nina Rasmussen   

Biomass investment in standing bark in Danish trees
Bark is a largely overlooked byproduct of wood production and has received little interest from research. The investment made by the tree into its bark (as reflected in bark biomass) is rarely considered, and its impact on overall wood productively is largely unknown. Different strategies appear to be employed by temperate tree species in respect to amount and anatomy of bark, suggesting different functioning in the living tree.

The aim of this project is to calculate and model the standing mass and volume of bark from tree base to stem top, absolute and in relation to wood, based on existing data sets from Common Garden Experiments. The expected results will show differences relating to species, growing site and tree growth rate. 

Contact: Thomas Nord-Larsen