Københavns Universitet

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Botany and molecular plant monitoring in Thy National Park at Københavns Universitet

Thy is the first national park in Denmark and is covered almost entirely by dune and dune heath landscapes. The dune heath of Thy is internationally recognized as a rare and threatened nature type of worldwide importance. The National Park needs regular monitoring and especially the plant cover, as a constant succession is part of a dune heath landscape. This calls for dedicated botanists or a well-functioning molecular identification procedure. For the latter to be of the same precision as a professional nature manager you need complete DNA barcodes for all species in National Park Thy and you need a database that is programmed to handle DNA barcodes with precision. The barcode of plants in National Park Thy is an ongoing larger project and is a pilot study to test precision and challenges of molecular plant monitoring. We offer various parts of this project as research work towards a master thesis. Focus can be on one or more of the following aspects. 1) Work with difficult to identify plants, such as grasses and sedges, and contribute to finalizing DNA barcodes for all plants in National Park Thy. 2) Work with test and development of databases and understand how the database in itself can facilitate precision in plant determination. 3) Test the precision of molecular- versus morphological plant determination and explore the possibilities and challenges of both. 4) Make molecular plant monitoring tests e.g., in collaboration with Thisted Kommune and National Park Thy.

If you are looking for an MSc project in biology, biotechnology, agriculture or similar and if you wish to work within the areas of botany, bioinformatics, and molecular biology I invite you to join my research in National Park Thy on molecular plant identification and monitoring. Projects may be designed to fit your specific interests and skills. Please contact associate professor Conny Bruun Asmussen Lange for more information.

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