Project properties

Title Stem cell development compared across species: from cambium to xylem and phloem cells
Group Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group
Project type thesis
Credits 30-39
Supervisor(s) FEM group: Frank Sterck, Ute Sass-Klaassen
Other organisation: Professor Fritz Schweingruber, Roman Zweifel (WSL, Switzerland)
Examiner(s) Prof. dr. G.M.J. Mohren
Contact info frank.sterck@wur.nl
Begin date 2017/11/15
End date
Description Xylem and phloem cell development in plant stems has been described in qualitative sense, but comparative and quantitative analyses that are required for understanding differences in stem development and functioning across plant species are lacking. This is particularly true for development of xylem and phloem cell lengths in relation to cambial cell lengths. These length are key traits driving the conductivity in both xylem and phloem, but largely unknown. In this MSc thesis, you will analyze the lengths of cambium, xylem and phloem cells across a broad range of species, and you will be able to show how cell length development differs across species, or species groups. This study is now possible because a large amount of longitudinal cross-sections have been made accessible by Professor Fritz Schweingruber, one of the founders of plant anatomical work. You will spend several months at WSL, Z�rich, in Switzerland to analyses the samples under supervision of Professor Schweingruber and Roman Zweifel, and also your Wageningen supervisor (Frank Sterck) will probably visit you there.

Best period: starting late 2017 or early 2018
Combination: could be combined with internship, but not ideal.
Co-operation: one or two students.
Type of work: laboratory work is the basis, but you will also carry out statistical analysis.

Ecophysiology / Tree ring analyses and wood anatomy / Biodiversity and functional diversity/ temperate/Europe
Used skills Most importantly, the students needs to be motivated for laboratory work, since many images of plant stem will be analyzed. Preferable, the student is challenged by this very innovative top, and ambitious for developing an broad comparative analysis of high quality
Requirements Recommended but not required: FEM-30306 Forest Ecology and Forest Management; REG-31806 Ecological Methods