You can design your own project based on your interests or we can discuss the topic together. The topic needs to somehow link to the larger research project in which we measure the exchanges of CO2 and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at ecosystem scale. The gas flux measurements are coupled to remote sensing of the vegetation phenology using spectral censors and surface temperatures using thermal imaging. In addition we can conduct measurements on leaves, branches, stems and the forest floor. The projects fit best to the MSc level, but in some cases also a BSc project could be an option. Contact us to discuss possibilities.
Description of the larger research project:
Plants defend themselves against insect herbivory by releasing climate-relevant VOCs to the atmosphere. Herbivore damage alters VOC emission blends and increases the emission rates from the affected ecosystem to the atmosphere. The total effect of herbivory on VOC fluxes is likely to be considerable, at least periodically, but still this is not accounted for in the current models. The aim of this project is to assess effects of insect herbivory on VOC emissions in the rapidly warming high latitude regions, where herbivory pressure is increasing with climate change. We will quantify ecosystem-scale VOC emissions of a Subarctic mountain birch forest during several growing seasons, while monitoring insect herbivory intensity and the environmental conditions. We will also use modeling approaches to assess the importance of herbivory for regional VOC emissions as well as their impacts on atmospheric chemistry under different climate scenarios. This will improve our understanding of the plant-stress-related climate feedbacks.