Project properties

Title The distribution of genetic diversity of main tree species over Europe
Group Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group
Project type thesis
Credits 18-39
Supervisor(s) FEM group: Koen Kramer, Frits Mohren
Other organisation: prof. Dr. Kärkkäinen Katri (Luke); Dr. Vakkari Pekka (Luke) <>
Examiner(s) Prof. Dr. Ir. G.M.J. (Frits)
Contact info
Begin date 2018/01/01
End date
Description Genetic diversity (GD) is the base of adaptation to environmental changes such as climate change. To use and conserve GD, Gene Conservation Units (GCUs) are installed throughout Europe (see:; The question is if these GCUs are installed at locations where GD is highest or that important hotspots of GD are missed.

The research questions of this project are:
• what is the current distribution of GD of main European tree species (beech, oak, Norway spruce, Scots pine)?
• Do the CGUs represent the distribution of GD?
• Where best to place GCUs?
• Are there gaps in our knowledge in the distribution of GD?
• What are the best DNA sources (nuclear, chloroplasts, mitochondria) and genetic markers to characterize GD for an efficient measuring and monitoring?

A large database with information on GD is available on hundreds of sites throughout Europe, including environmental data for these sites which needs to be analyzed to answer these questions.

BSC/MSC Thesis or internship
Best period: any moment
Combination: -
Co-operation: project can be done in a group of 2-3 students
Type of work: emphasis on literature study and statistical analyses.

This research is part of the FORGER project (‘Towards the Sustainable Management of Forest Genetic Resources in Europe’:

Biodiversity and functional diversity / Sustainable forest management/ Europe/ Temperate zone/
Used skills Sound background in multivariate statistical analyses, interest and to learn and apply advanced machine-learning techniques.

Basic skills in open-source scripting languages such as R or Python (preferred).
Requirements FEM-30306 Forest Ecology and Forest Management; REG-31806 Ecological Methods I;
Standard for BSc: minimal 120 credits