We enjoy doing research, we are willing to explore new ideas, and we are open-minded. If you joing our group we will support you, and your work. We especially welcome students who are eager to discover and learn new things. Do not be shy, if you have some ideas of what subject you would like for your research or literature review just come to talk with us about your thesis (BSc, MSc, PhD) plans. We are willing to receive students for “placements” and practices in our group. For international mobility there is some funding available through CIMO.
Joining the group
If you are a student looking for a M.Sc. thesis project, or you want to start your doctoral studies in a subject fitting with our group’s broad area of interest you are very welcome to come to discuss the possibilities. BSc students are also welcome to discuss as it is good to start early looking at the literature and getting familiar with the subject of a possible M.Sc. thesis. This can be done as the BSc “thesis” or as seminar assignement. It is also possible to do a small research project for the BSc thesis.
We do not have funding for new doctoral student’s salaries at the moment, but there are possibilities for applying for money. Contact us in good time because getting money may take some time.
Subjects for M.Sc. theses
MSc thesis projects available
Many different MSc projects would fit well within SenPEP’s current research program and have funding for the experimental expenses. Of course, the details will depend on the students’ interests and ideas. In addition other subjects are possible (see below).
We do not have funding for paying a salary, but we have funding for the experimental expenses, and depending on how well the thesis subject coincides with the research for which we have been awarded grants, paying a stipend to M.Sc. students could be possible. Specially if started in late 2014 or 2015, it would also be possible to apply for a grant from private foundations.
Subject for which we are seeking an M.Sc. student
Some other possible ideas for discussion
- Analysis of climatological data for Finland, to assess whether ultraviolet-B irradiance could provide plants with a “warning” of impending drought events. The background for this study is that in many studies with plants it has been observed that exposure of plants to UV-B radiation enhances tolerance to drought events. Good statistical background is required. Software to be used is R, but previous experience with R is not a requirement. Time of the year and daily working hours are flexible, even distance work is possible once methods have been learnt.
- Acclimation to growing conditions of the stomatal responses to light. Stomata control the gas-exchange between leaves and the atmosphere. Among many other things they respond to light, and they have separate responses to blue and red light. Green light inhibits the response to blue light. The relative responsiveness to light of different colours adjust according to growing conditions in a few days time. Environmental factors which could be studied: ultraviolet radiation, irradiance of photosynthetically active radiation, drought, etc. We are working with Arabidopsis, broadleaf tree seedlings, and some vegetables and ornamentals. Depending on the species, experiments are possible at different times of the year.
- Protection of leaf mesophyll from ultraviolet radiation by the epidermis of leaves. We have an instrument for measuring this parameter in-vivo in the UV-A. We are looking at the dynamics of protection in plants growing under different light spectra (“colour”) either from filtered sunlight, or from different types of LED lamps. Also a survey of natural vegetation from different habitats could be done. Depending on the species, experiments are possible at different times of the year.
- Effects of green light on plants. The effects of green light are subtle, and have been only occasionally studied, but seem to be important under some conditions. For example green light induces stomatal closure, and may inhibit growth. In some cases the involvement of cryptochromes has been demonstrated. Depending on the species, experiments are possible at different times of the year.
- Communication between plants. Plants produce light signals (by absorption and/or reflection of incident light), chemical signals (diverse volatiles released to the air, and roots exudates like hormones, proteins and allelochemicals released to the soil) and even “possibly” electrical and sound signals, as proposed in some recent but rather controversial papers in very high impact journals. This a very broad subject, with many possibilities. Depending on the species, experiments are possible at different times of the year.
- Intelligence and behaviour of plants. Some of the above responses could be analysed in terms of decision making by plants and its role in adaptation and acclimation. Not withstanding the controversies surrounding the use of the term “intelligent” for plants, the analysis of plants’ responses within the framework of looking at environmental events as challenges to the organism and the plastic and acclimation responses as a “problem solving” task can yield new understanding. Timing is flexible.
Or propose your own subject
The closer the subject of your thesis is to the research plans of the grants that we have been awarded, the more money support we can give to your research. However, if you have your own interests, please contact us anyway, as it is allways possible to apply for money. There are also subjects that are very interesting even though they are cheap to do, as the expensive equipment is already available.