Project properties

Title Climate � vegetation � permafrost interactions in Arctic tundra
Group Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation Group
Project type thesis
Credits 24-39
Supervisor(s) Monique Heijmans and others, depending on topic
Examiner(s) Dr. Ir. Monique Heijmans and Dr. Juul Limpens or Dr. Elmar Veenendaal
Contact info Monique.Heijmans@wur.nl, 0317-484167, www.wur.nl/en/Persons/dr.ir.-MMPD-Monique-Heijmans.htm
Begin date 2017/11/01
End date 2020/12/31
Description Shrub expansion is widely observed in the Arctic and is related to climate warming. We found that low shrubs, e.g. Betula nana, are important for protecting the underlying frozen ground (permafrost) against thawing. Thus, shrub expansion might compensate for the thawing due to warming. However, at our field site in Siberian tundra we observe local drowning of Betula nana due to small-scale permafrost collapse, beside local shrub dominance. Questions we have include: how can Betula become so dominant? Does this dominance contribute to its collapse? What is the role of mosses, which can also be dominant but are understudied.
Thesis topics could include greenhouse experiments, data analysis, field studies, or ecosystem modelling. Possibilities depend on availability of plant material, season, or planned field campaigns. The topic will be tailored towards your needs and interests. Collaborations with other groups are often possible.
Used skills Experimental design, data analysis, SPSS, ecosystem modelling (R.), literature review, depending on topic.
Requirements Depends on topic