Project properties

Title Understanding environmental effects on delta
13C and growth of tropical trees
Group Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group
Project type thesis
Credits 30-39
Supervisor(s) Dr. Pieter A. Zuidema

Examiner(s) Prof. Dr. F. Bongers
Contact info
Begin date 2018/03/01
End date
Description Stable isotopes are variations of the same element in the number of neutrons in the core. They are chemically the same but differ in mass and therefore some biological processes discriminate against one of them. Carbon isotopes in plant materials (delta13C) are a widely used tool to asses plant responses to environmental conditions. A large body of literature exists on the effects of various conditions (e.g. light, water and nutrients) on delta13C, however most studies have been done on few individuals, few samples and on temperate species.
We have a large collection of wood samples of around 1500 tropical trees from Thailand, Cameroon and Bolivia. Of each trees we also have data on growth rates, tree age, light availability, liana infestation, elevation, distance to creeks/rivers and crown size and shape.
We would like to investigate the following main questions: what are the main factors affecting growth and delta13C in these trees. Are there differences in these factors between species? Are there differences in these factors between the three sites?
We challenge the student to publish his/her findings from this very potential and interesting dataset.

[Climate change effects][Ecophysiology][Tree ring analyses and wood anatomy][Tropical][Aisa][Africa][America's]
Used skills Extracting wood samples for tree disks and cores, laboratory work including cellulose extraction and sample preparation for mass spectrometer analyses. Data analyses and scientific writing. Unfortunately, there will be no fieldwork in the tropics
Requirements FEM-30306 Forest Ecology and Forest Management; REG-31806 Ecological Methods I