Finse Alpine Research Center (map)
P.O. Box 53
A wide range of Master's projects can be undertaken at the center. Candidates will work in a multidisciplinary environment and may benefit from collaboration with other workers at the field station. A list of specific projects is provided below. You are also welcome to suggest your own projects, and projects may be initiated in collaboration with workers at the field station and other supervisors. If you have suggestions for projects, or if you are a supervisor wanting to announce your projects on this page, please contact the center director.
Rates of growth and development in ectotherms depend largely on ambient temperature. Some species of ground beetles are known to become smaller at the adult stage and reproduce earlier in the season at higher altitudes. This is interpreted as a response to lower temperature and shorter growth season. Other life-history traits such as fecundity, egg size and age of maturation may also change over such climate gradients. However, little is known about the effects of change in length of the snow-free season compared to changes in summer temperature. To disentangle the effects of season length and temperature on key life-history traits in selected species of ground beetles, we will sample beetles along both altitude gradients (changing temperature) and east-west gradients (changing season length due to more winter precipitation, and thus later snow melt-off, at western sites).
Mycorrhiza – the mutual beneficial co-existence between fungi and plant at the root level – is crucial for the composition and function of terrestrial plant ecosystems. Mycorrhizal fungi release, absorb and transfer nutrients, minerals and water from the external environment into the plants and receive in turn photosynthases. Bistorta vivipara is a perennial plant common in arctic and alpine habitats. It reproduces both asexually with so-called bulbils (yngleknopper) as well as sexually. Due to its small and condensed root system the entire root system of B. vivipara and the associated fungal root symbionts can be analyzed simultaneously. Therefore, we consider B. vivipara as a highly suitable model plant for studies in mycorrhizal ecology. To analyze and target the diversity, composition and distribution of fungal symbionts, cloning and DNA sequencing (both traditional Sanger and 454 pyrosequencing) will be performed and followed up by bioinformatics analyses of the sequence data. The fungal communities associated with B. vivipara will be investigated along various ecological gradients and we also plan more experimental studies.
In this project the student will look at patch occupancy rates, habitat choice, species co-occurrence and spatial dynamics of lemmings and other small rodents throughout the summer season (June through September). Patch occupancy may be detected by track tunnels, signs of grazing, fecal pellets, visual observations, detection by the help of a dog and/or live-trapping. The student will learn state-of-the art statistical methods for estimating true occupancy rates in the face of imperfect detection probabilities, and will have the opportunity to attend an international course/workshop on the topic. The student will also have the opportunity to learn about and use geographical information systems (GIS).