The Master by Research Programme in Biology targets students who are highly motivated to develop skills and knowledge for a future career in academic research or in industrial or public R&D.
The programme is project dominated and, as a student, you will from day one start up an individual project that after two years will lead up to your Master thesis. You will be a member of the research group in biology and carry out research together with other Master- and PhD-students. Only a few students will be admitted and on an individual level. If you have shown excellent results in your Bachelor studies and are self-motivated to further specialize in your field academically, you are the one we are looking for.
Research group – Forest Biodiversity
Forestry has during the past 150 years dramatically changed the structure and functioning of European boreal forests. Particularly, during the last 50 – 60 years, industrial forestry has fragmented the remaining natural forests and today only a few percent of the Swedish forest landscape, outside the mountain region, remains with high natural values. This has had negative consequences for forest biodiversity and particularly the loss of dead wood, deciduous trees and old trees, threatens the survival for many of the one thousand red-listed forest species.
Our research aims to increase the knowledge on the factors shaping boreal forest biodiversity and provide support for efficient nature conservation. We particularly focus on the role of small protected areas and restoration fires as tools to maintain fragmented populations of wood dependent species. We also study the dynamics of natural forests – from the long term changes at stand and landscape scale to the decay rates of dead trees.
Forest biodiversity is to a large extent linked to the trees as being the dominant organism in the ecosystem. The birth, growth, and death of trees create the habitats that most forest organisms relate to. To understand the natural forest dynamics is thus to understand the evolutionary context to which forest species have adapted. A thorough understanding of forest dynamics will also help in developing forest management guidelines trying to mimic the natural conditions and hence mediate some of the negative effects of forestry on biodiversity.
Wood fungi ecology
A particular group of species declining due to the loss of natural forest characteristics are the wood fungi. Within this group a large fraction are considered as threatened or declining. A better understanding of their ecology, including habitat demands, dispersal ability and responses to climate change is a prerequisite for their protection. They are also important components in the forest ecosystem as they perform the important ecosystem function of decomposition.
Little is known about the genetics in wood fungi. With improved tools on DNA-level a rapid development of basic knowledge including genetic structure of populations, gene flow, and genetic variation within and between populations is going on. Also the revolution in genomics provides tools to find adaptive genes in different environments and to compare genomes both within species and between species. In a multidisciplinary context the tools used in population genetics contribute with knowledge necessary to understand wood fungi in fragmented forests.