Mastergrad ved Institutt for biologi ved NTNU. Oversikt over tilbud av masteroppgaver

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1 Mastergrad ved Institutt for biologi ved NTNU Oversikt over tilbud av masteroppgaver HØSTEN

2 Du som leser dette heftet går antakelig og vurderer om du skal skrive en masteroppgave ved Institutt for biologi? Du klarer kanskje ikke å bestemme deg for hvilket forskningsfelt du skal velge? Mulighetene er mange, og du er sikkert opptatt av å gjøre de riktige valgene. Vi har laget denne oversikten slik at du lettere skal kunne finne fram i det mangfold av forskningsfelt som finnes innen biologi ved NTNU. Du blir kanskje overveldet av mulighetene? La ikke det stoppe deg fra å studere biologi! Du tenker vel på framtidige jobbmuligheter når du skal velge studieretning? Eller, skal du heller velge ut fra egeninteresse? Det er ikke lett å gi gode råd i en slik sak, selv for veiledere som har hatt titalls av masterstudenter. I en periode er det lett å få jobb innen et fagområde, noen år seinere har dette endret seg. Hva som vil skje de neste årene er vanskelig å spå om, og kanskje vet dere det like godt som oss veiledere. Forskningsdelen av en master er krevende, og du skal fordype deg i et ganske snevert forskningsfelt i flere semestre. Det er derfor ikke tvil om at du vil få best utbytte av en oppgave, og antakelig vil gjøre den beste innsatsen dersom du arbeider med en problemstilling som virkelig opptar deg. Våre råd er derfor at du primært velger en oppgave der du kan arbeide med et område du er interessert i. Mye av arbeidet vil da gå mye lettere! Det blir morsomt, inspirerende og gøy, og ingenting er mer attraktivt i arbeidslivet enn personer som trives og har det morsomt med sitt eget fag. Bruk derfor litt tid på å finne oppgaven din og snakk gjerne med flere veiledere. Oppsøk oss på kontorene, gjerne flere ganger. Har du egne ønsker og ideer, så er det et flott utgangspunkt, og vær ikke redd for å diskutere disse med potensielle veiledere. Studiet er en forberedelse til arbeidslivet, og det vi tror er det viktigste i dette studiet, er at du gjennom å fordype deg i en oppgave, lærer deg forskningsmetoder, kritisk tenking, besluttsomhet og ikke minst kreativitet i forhold til hvordan du skal arbeide praktisk og hvordan du skal uttrykke deg. En ferdig masteroppgave er som et stykke unikt kunstverk: formet og omstrukturert utallige ganger gjennom hardt arbeid og selvkritisk vurdering over lang tid. Alle veilederne som presenterer oppgaver her, vil gjøre sitt beste for at du skal lære både kunnskap og nyttige ferdigheter innen faget biologi. Det er derfor vi er her! Lykke til med studiet! Innholdsfortegnelse grovsorterer oppgaver, men husk at oppgaver under OCEAN også kan velges av Økologi eller Celle og molekylærbiologi som eksempel, og noen under økologioppgaver kan også være fysiologi. 2

3 Innhold MLREAL, MSOCEAN Taskforce salmon lice spread and infection mechanisms of sea lice in sea based aquaculture and wild populations... 6 Salmon louse behaviour... 7 Ocean acidification, carbon capture and organic matter... 8 GoJelly: How do biotic and abiotic conditions trigger jellyfish bloom formation in the Trondheimsfjord... 9 Feeding preferences of first-feeding fish larvae under future ocean conditions How does global warming affect the seasonal match/mismatch between phytoplankton and microzooplankton blooms? Biologisk mangfold, bunndyr i marine miljø MLREAL, MSENVITOX, PHYSIOLOGY Induction of genotoxic endpoints and biotransformation enzymes in liver cells (cell line) exposed to defined mixtures of chemical compounds DNA-repair in Arctic charr, Salvelinus alpinus, from Bjørnøya Effects of mine tailing components on the marine copepod Calanus finmarchicus Impacts of mine tailing exposure on early life stages of cod Levels of essential elements, including lead, in relation to internal gun-shot loads in migrating pink-footed geese (kortnebbgås) Effects of organohalogenated pollutants on thyroid hormone levels and function in Glaucous gulls (polarmåke) Is environmental pollution accelerating the decline of long-distance migratory shorebirds? Life cycle assessment of mercury toxicity with water fleas Life cycle assessment of microplastics toxicity with water fleas Leaching of obesogens from plastic materials Evaluation of endocrine disrupting chemicals in (plastic) food contact materials using in vitro bioassays MLREAL, ECOLOGY, BEHAVIOUR, EVOLUTION AND BIODIVERSITY, BIODIVERSITY AND SYSTEMATICS MSNARM Social networks in house sparrows: are they surrounded by friends, family or just someone useful? Personality and plasticity in zebrafish: do differences in life history select for individual differences in behaviour? Thermal biology in zebrafish individual thermal dispositions Optimisation of seasonal physiology to day length and temperature: are northerners more light sensitive than southerners? The effects of microbiota on fitness variation within and among Daphnia genotypes

4 Temporal variation in zooplankton community size-structure Growth and sexual maturation in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) Hvorfor er Norge et hot-spot for biodiversitet hos torvmoser? Spres torvmose ved hjelp av elg? Adaptation to climate change in a red listed species Global analysis of functional diversity of a devastating plant pathogen Phylogenomics of rapid diversification in the Darwin s finches of the plant world Reindeer genomics from ancient DNA Phylogenomics and taxonomy of the ragweeds (genus Ambrosia) Metabarcoding of ancient peat bog materials from Central Norway for palaeo-ecological reconstruction Taksonomi og systematikk på moser Levermoser med disjunkt utbredelse, hvilken rolle spiller historie, klima og spredning?.. 40 Genetic diversity in closely related non-biting midges Arctic aster (Eurybia sibirica): conservation genetics and phylogeography Blue anemone (Hepatica nobilis) from where did you come? Metabarcoding the cryptic diversity of lichens and lichenicolous fungi in Norwegian rainforests Developing and testing new approaches to DNA barcoding lichenicolous fungi in Norway Marine worms (Annelida) diversity in the Norwegian Sea Polychaetes in Norwegian ports: uncovering diversity in coastal anthropogenic environments and assessing cryptogenic and non-indigenous species Could functional plant traits be used to examine how bryophytes respond to changes in grazing and climate in alpine environments? Biologisk mangfold, forvaltning og påvirkninger i ferskvannsmiljøer The impact of ungulate herbivory and climate on shrub and treeline advance and forest succession Projects in biogeography and ecoinformatics Sjøørretens marine vandringer, habitatbruk og interaksjoner med akvakultur Ecological effects of moose browsing on boreal forests Effects of red deer browsing on biodiversity, ecosystem functions and services in forest ecosystems Sustaining biodiversity and ecosystem services in urban grasslands Selection, genetic architecture, and evolution of metabolic rate and body size in a common garden experiment Experimental manipulation of sex-ratio: effects on effective population size Spatio-temporal dynamics of genes for ecologically important traits in house sparrows Inbreeding and inbreeding depression in house sparrows

5 Genetic and epigenetic factors contributing to parasite resistance in the house sparrow Why does bill morphology affect fitness in house sparrows? Causes and consequences of multiple paternity in house sparrows Heritability and fitness effects of egg colour in house sparrows Population genetics of water voles Dispersal in a metapopulation of water voles Landscape genomics and conservation of the arctic foxes living in a fragmented population under increasing competition pressure from red foxes The influence of parental feeding rates on chick growth and reproductive success, in house sparrows, and the relationship with insect abundance in the habitat (chick prey) The effect of Coccidae (parasite) on fitness in house sparrows Ecology and management of willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) Genetic mating system in the willow ptarmigan MLREAL, CELL AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, BIOTECHNOLOGY Implementation of Boolean models for cell perturbation analysis and drug development. 71 Cell-to-cell communication in plants: Functional analysis of PIPL

6 (max 20 words): Preliminary title: oppgaven (max 300 words): Yngvar Olsen, Kjell Inge Reitan, Rolf Erik Olsen, Per Winge, Atle Bones Maria Guttu, Lone S. Jevne, Ane V. Nytrø, Stine Østerhus, Prashanna Guragain, Anna S. Båtnes Taskforce salmon lice spread and infection mechanisms of sea lice in sea based aquaculture and wild populations Taskforce salmon lice is a R&D project organised as a PhD program at NTNU. The overall objective of the program is to establish fundamental knowledge on how sea lice infest farmed salmon and the mechanisms of how the parasites spread within and between farmed and wild populations of salmonids. The general research strategy is to establish knowledge based on ecological, metabolic and molecular/genetic methods to characterise interactions between parasite and host (sea lice and salmonids). The program is organised in three areas: Internal infection of sea lice within and between salmon farms Interactions between farmed and wild salmonids Infestation mechanisms and genetic tracing Within Taskforce salmon lice there will be a range of master projects available. The projects will be developed as a cooperation between student and supervisors. MSBIO, MSOCEAN, 6

7 (max 20 words): Preliminary title: oppgaven (max 300 words): Rolf Erik Olsen Ane Vigdisdatter Nytrø Salmon louse behaviour Salmon lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis infestation is a big problem in salmon aquaculture. Very little is known about the infestation potential of large stages of sea lice. Observed behaviour in salmon farms is poorly covered in research. In this master thesis, the behaviour of salmon lice will be investigated in the laboratory. The results will have impact for the salmon aquaculture. Relevant issues for lab experiments: Can lice change hosts and re-adhere? Swimming behaviour: Can large sea lice swim (and how far)? Experiments with adult and pre-adult lice with and without host present. Can larger stages of lice be attracted (and trapped) by light? Effects of artificial light on adult and pre-adult stages of sea lice. Predator avoidance in salmon lice: escaping cleaner fish. How does lice behaviour change in the presence of a predator (lumpfish or wrasse)? The master project will be part of Taskforce salmon lice, which is a big project at NTNU in cooperation with salmon producers in Mid Norway. MSOCEAN 7

8 Yngvar Olsen Murat van Ardelan Ocean acidification, carbon capture and organic matter The atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing constantly with anthropogenic use of fossil fuels and in accordance to which the global temperature is increasing too. Many parts around the world already is experiencing summer temperatures over 50 C. The rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide is affecting our oceans too. With IPCC projections for 2100, ph of oceans will drop to about 7.6. The significance of organic matter (particulate and dissolved) in capturing atmospheric carbon by photosynthesis of phytoplankton and exporting it to deep ocean is well known. However we know very little about the processes and the final fate of the same. In this project, what we focus on is to study fate of organic matter from different sources along with different ph conditions and how stable it is in terms of microbial degradation. This is because microbial degradation of dissolved organic matter can quickly release back carbon dioxide into the air. This project will also give you hands on experience in state of art analytical techniques. For details: MSc. Ocean Resources 8

9 Nicole Aberle-Malzahn, Sanna Majaneva, Katharina Bading GoJelly: How do biotic and abiotic conditions trigger jellyfish bloom formation in the Trondheimsfjord Do you want to: - Conduct field work (nets, trawls, ROVs) on jellyfish - Learn mophological and molecular species identification - Conduct laboratory experiments - Work in a large-scale EU Horizon 2020 project? Background: While overfishing, warmer seas and pollution may wipe out ocean predators, they are allowing jellyfish to thrive and intensive jellyfish blooms to occur. However, ecological drivers that control bloom formation, duration and intensity are still far from being understood. Aim: Reveal ecological drivers as well as biotic and abiotic trigger mechanisms that cause jellyfish bloom formation Contact: Nicole Aberle-Malzahn Sanna Majaneva Ocean Resources, MLREAL 9

10 Nicole Aberle-Malzahn, Sanna Majaneva, Katharina Bading Feeding preferences of first-feeding fish larvae under future ocean conditions What do first-feeding fish larvae prefer to feed on and how does it influence their fitness? Does global warming induce possible mismatch scenarios between first-feeding fish larvae and their prey? Testing different microzooplankton groups + temperature Experimental approaches using indoor and outdoor experimental facilities at Trondheim Biological Station (TBS) and SeaLab Contact: Nicole Aberle-Malzahn Katharina Bading Ocean Resources, MLREAL 10

11 Nicole Aberle-Malzahn, Sanna Majaneva, Katharina Bading How does global warming affect the seasonal match/mismatch between phytoplankton and microzooplankton blooms? How does global warming affect the seasonal match between phytoplankton and microzooplankton blooms? Which microzooplankton groups become dominant under different temperature scenarios? Growth, grazing, and reproduction experiments with single and multiple species treatments using temperaturegradient table Simulation of different global warming scenarios Contact: Nicole Aberle-Malzahn Sanna Majaneva Ocean Resources, MLREAL 11

12 Torkild Bakken, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet Biologisk mangfold, bunndyr i marine miljø Hvilken kunnskap trenger samfunnet og miljøforvaltningen for en bærekraftig forvaltning? Hvordan påvirkes naturmiljøet av naturgitte og menneskelig påvirkning? Ulike typer oppgaver som vil gi kompetanse og erfaring relevant for jobb i forvaltning, forskning og industri. Miljøovervåking kompetanse på ulike organismegrupper er i ferd med å bli borte. Vi trenger folk som er dyktige til å identifisere grupper av marine bunndyr. Samt sette dette i system med taksonomi og biogeografi. Hvilke arter har vi og hvor lever de, og hvorfor gjør de det? Teknologisk overvåking miljøovervåking er ressurskrevende, kan kartlegging og overvåking automatiseres? Problemstillingen er aktuell på både grunt og dypt vann med bruk av ulike autonome og fjernstyrte roboter. Hva kan vi bidra med for miljøet i fremtiden med muliggjørende teknologier? Fra ålegress til mineralutvinning i dyphavet, hvilke muligheter har vi for å studere biologisk mangfold Samarbeid med AUR-lab. Tareskogen. Biodiversitet i tareskogen, en viktig naturtype som er et svært artsrikt miljø. Tareskogen som naturtype er utsatt for påvirkning fra mange hold, hvordan påvirkes det biologiske mangfoldet? Forvaltes tareskogen på en fornuftig måte? MSc in Ocean Resources (MSOCEAN), marinbiologi, naturressursforvaltning 12

13 Åse Krøkje Induction of genotoxic endpoints and biotransformation enzymes in liver cells (cell line) exposed to defined mixtures of chemical compounds. Cells from rat or fish liver (cell line) will be exposed for mixtures of pollutants, in environmentally relevant concentrations, in vitro. Compounds in mixtures will often interact, and result in a higher (synergistic) or a lower (antagonistic) effect compared with that of a single-component exposure. To improve hazard identification and environmental risk evaluation, it is important to study how pollutants behave in mixtures. The aim of these projects is to develop and test out methods to evaluate complex mixtures with regard to interaction effects, which can occur between single compounds in a mixture. Pollutants, which occur in the terrestrial or aquatic environment, will be used in environmentally relevant concentrations. A statistical method for experimental design will be used to achieve a cost- and time effective performance of mixture studies, most probably factorial design. Eventual interactions will be studied by use of genotoxic endpoints (f ex DNA-adducts, DNA-strand breaks, micronucleus or chromosomal aberrations) or induction of biotransformation enzymes (CYP1A1 and conjugation enzymes). Multivariate regression models, such as projection to latent structures (PLS), can be used to evaluate possible interactions in mixtures. 1-2 master projects Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 13

14 Åse Krøkje DNA-repair in Arctic charr, Salvelinus alpinus, from Bjørnøya Despite major production and emissions far from Arctic regions, long-range atmospheric transport, and to a lesser extent transport via ocean currents and biota, causes certain persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to manifest themselves in Arctic wildlife and ecosystems. Most POPs are lipophilic and are thus biomagnified in the food chain the top predators amassing the highest concentrations of contaminants. They exhibit levels that are high enough to cause effect. Bjørnøya (Norwegian Arctic) is a well-known "hot spot area" for contaminant accumulation, and the fate and presence of POPs on the island have been under several multidisciplinary studies. These studies have shown that there are very high levels of POPs in sediment and biota from Ellasjøen, a lake at the southern part of the island. The pollutants have amassed in the lake largely due to guano deposition from seabirds which reside on and nearby the lake. Being the northernmost freshwater fish and a salmonid, the Arctic charr is an oily fish with generally high lipid contents which fluctuates seasonally. The Ellasjøen population is stationary (landlocked) while the Laksvatn population is highly anadromous, but they both contain two sympatric morphs: small dwarves and larger cannibalistic individuals, of which the latter contains the highest contaminant load. In a research project, "Is the cocktail effect of environmental contaminants a threat for Arctic fish populations?", led by Akvaplan-niva, fish from the two lakes was collected during the summer/autumn Analysis of DNA double-strand breaks, chemical analysis as well as other analysis have been performed on the material, and the results have shown significant differences between the fish from the two lakes. To further illuminate the genetic response to POPs, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qpcr) will possibly be used to investigate the expression of certain genes associated with DNA repair. Other cellular endpoints will also be examined in the charr from the two lakes. ENVITOX, Cell and Molecular Biology 14

15 Tomasz Ciesielski, Erik Muller Bjørn Munro Jenssen, Julia Farkas (SINTEF Ocean) Effects of mine tailing components on the marine copepod Calanus finmarchicus The increasing demand for mineral resources is driving expanding mining activities worldwide. Mining generates extensive quantities of waste, so called tailings that need to be disposed. In some countries, including Norway, tailings are disposed into the sea. During such marine tailing disposal, large quantities of fine inorganic particles, associated metals and chemical additives are released into the marine environment. This can potentially cause negative effects on marine organisms. While exposure to tailings, especially to inorganic particles, does not necessarily cause acute toxicity, it can potentially cause reduced food intake and impaired physiological functioning in planktonic filter feeders such as the copepod Calanus finmarchicus. This can lead to reduced growth and development. In this thesis impacts of mine tailings and mine tailing components on key Northern Atlantic zooplankton species C. finmarchicus will be investigated. Relationships between exposure and effects on a physiological level including development, growth, respiration and buoyancy will be studied. This project offers the opportunity to include mathematical approaches for a student wanting to learn how to analyze toxicity data with mathematical models, such as DEBtox ( Environmental toxicology/marine biology (Ocean Resources) /physiology/ecology? 15

16 Tomasz Ciesielski, Erik Muller Bjørn Munro Jenssen, Julia Farkas (SINTEF Ocean) Impacts of mine tailing exposure on early life stages of cod The rising demand for resources leads to increasing mining activities worldwide. However, mining generates extensive quantities of waste, so called tailings that need to be disposed. In Norway and some other countries, mine tailings are disposed directly into the sea. In such marine tailing disposal sites, large quantities of fine inorganic particles, associated metals and chemical additives used in mineral production processes are released directly into the marine environment. This can have negative effects on marine organisms inhabiting disposal areas. Exposure to tailings, especially to inorganic particles, does not necessarily cause acute toxicity, but can impact physiological functions causing reduced growth and development. This has severe consequences especially for early life stages of animals such as fish eggs and larvae. In this thesis the impacts of mine tailings and mine tailing components will be studied using cod (Gadus morhua) eggs and larvae. Relationships between exposure to tailings and effects on a physiological level including development, growth, respiration and buoyancy will be studied. This project offers the opportunity to include mathematical approaches for a student wanting to learn how to analyze toxicity data with mathematical models, such as DEBtox ( Environmental toxicology/marine biology (Ocean Resources) /physiology/ecology? 16

17 Bjørn Munro Jenssen /Tomasz Ciesielski Christian Sonne, Aarhus Universitet, anmark Levels of essential elements, including lead, in relation to internal gun-shot loads in migrating pink-footed geese (kortnebbgås) Analyses of elements in plasma samples. Relate element concentrations, with particlar focus on lead (Pb) to age and sex, and internal numbers of lead-shots detected by X-ray in pinkfooted geese migrating from Europe to Svalbard. Also, relate exposure to toxic elements to different wintering areas and assess concentrations relative to threshold levels for toxic effects. Possibilities of including biochemical variables and participating in field work. One-two students working on different topics. Miljøtoksikologi, physiology 17

18 Bjørn Munro Jenssen/Åse-Karen Mortensen/Tomasz Ciesielski Effects of organohalogenated pollutants on thyroid hormone levels and function in Glaucous gulls (polarmåke) The project is linked to a project financed by the Research Council of Norway. Analyses of chemicals and/or thyroid hormone related responses in Glaucous gulls from Svalbard. Laboratory analyses of chemicals, physiological, cellular and molecular responses. Some field work in Svalbard may be possible. Ideally two students should work together on two different issues. Start autumn Miljøtoksikologi/fysiologi 18

19 Assoc. Prof. Veerle Jaspers (IBI) Dr. Tomasz Ciesielski (IBI) Assoc. Prof. Alexandros Asimakopoulos (IKJ) Prof. Trond Peder Flaten (IKJ) Is environmental pollution accelerating the decline of longdistance migratory shorebirds? As part of an international research collaboration, we aim to unravel the role of environmental pollution in the decline of longdistance migratory shorebirds along the East Asian flyway. This will be addressed by investigating the potential consequence of ongoing environmental pollution with for example persistent organic pollutants (POPs), perfluorinated chemicals (PFASs) and metals/elements on the immune function, migratory behaviour and survival of long distance migratory shorebirds. There is already an extensive repository of >200 geolocator tracks and > 3500 blood and swab samples available collected from three key species of migratory shorebirds from Australia and Asia. In addition, the student can take part in the collection of additional samples. Specific questions that can be addressed: 1) How do pollutant levels affect the survival of migratory shorebirds? 2) Are there geographical hot-spots along the East Asian coast that result in high levels of pollutants in migratory birds and how do these alter migratory performance? 3) How do pollutant levels in individual birds change at different points of their migration and over a lifetime? 4) How do pollutant levels alter the diversity and prevalence of viruses, bacteria or fungi present in migratory birds at both the population and individual level? 5) How do pollutant levels alter influenza virus infection? Several students can work on different aspects of this project. Co-supervisors depending on the topic and the pollutants. More info: the-decline-of-curlew-sandpipers-in-the-east-asian-australasian- Flyway-and-the-path-to-recovery? ENVITOX, Fysiology, Ecology, Molecular Biology 19

20 Erik Muller Sigurd Einum (Professor) Veerle Jaspers (Associate Professor) Life cycle assessment of mercury toxicity with water fleas This project aims at assessing the impact of ionic mercury on survival and bioenergetics (feeding, respiration, growth and reproduction) in Daphnia magna over multiple generations. Experiments will be conducted at different food levels, as the nutritional status of the animals is expected to affect the severity of the toxic response. This project will combine lab work and modelling approaches and would be ideal for a student who wants to learn how to analyze toxicity data with mathematical models, such as DEBtox ( The student will collect her/his own data with extended/ modified routine toxicity essays. ENVITOX, Ecology, Physiology 20

21 Erik Muller Sigurd Einum (Professor) Martin Wagner (Associate Professor) Life cycle assessment of microplastics toxicity with water fleas This project aims at assessing the impact of microplastics, specifically plastic fibers generated by washing synthetic clothing, on survival and bioenergetics (feeding, respiration, growth and reproduction) in Daphnia magna over multiple generations. Experiments will be conducted at several food levels, as the nutritional status of the animals is likely to affect the severity of the response of daphnids to microplastics exposure. This project would be ideal for a student who wants to learn how to analyze toxicity data with mathematical models, such as DEBtox ( The student will collect her/his own data with extended/modified routine toxicity essays. - Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry - Biotechnology - Biology - Physiology 21

22 Martin Wagner Erik Muller (Associate Professor) Johannes Völker (Post Doc) Leaching of obesogens from plastic materials This project aims at assessing whether chemicals leaching from plastic materials (food contact materials, toys) induce obesity at a molecular level. We will use a whole toxicity approach to analyze plastics extracts in vitro. The bioassays will cover the transactivation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, key players in the energy homeostasis. Further, we will investigate how plastic-associated chemicals affect the differentiation of human adipocytes. Molecular responses will be linked to energetically relevant response variables, such as lipid accumulation, cell size and proliferation, within a Adverse Outcome Pathway framework. This project would be ideal for a student with an interest in quantitative Adverse Outcome Pathway analyses. The work involves in vitro experimentation and mathematical modeling. - Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry - Biotechnology - Biology 22

23 Martin Wagner Johannes Völker Evaluation of endocrine disrupting chemicals in (plastic) food contact materials using in vitro bioassays There is increasing evidence that exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) negatively affects human health especially during development such as female and male reproduction or neurodevelopment, as well as contributes to the emergence and spread of certain diseases (e.g., obesity, diabetes, hormone-sensitive cancers). Food packaging can lead to contamination of food with EDCs due to migration processes and is therefore widely discussed as a potential source for human exposure. Within this master project, we would like to investigate the migration of EDCs into food from widely used household food containers consisting of different materials (plastic, BPA-free plastic, glass) and other food contact materials (cling film, paper, cardboard) under different conditions of storage or treatment (e.g., temporary freeze or heating up in a microwave). In order to test the migration of EDCs, we will use methods in accordance with European Union regulations. Instead of analyzing the concentrations of a few known EDCs by chemical analysis (e.g., phthalates or bisphenols), we will apply a bioassay-based approach by using in vitro test systems covering (ant-)agonistic activity at several human hormone receptors as primary targets of EDCs (e.g., ER, AR, GR, RXR, PPAR, PPAR ). For the implementation of this project, we are seeking highly motivated master students with strong analytical skills, who preferably has previously worked with cell cultures. - Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry - Biotechnology - Biology 23

24 Jonathan Wright Henrik Jensen, Thor Harald Ringsby & Yimen Araya-Ajoy Social networks in house sparrows: are they surrounded by friends, family or just someone useful? The house sparrow (Passer domesticus) is an excellent model species for studying evolutionary and demographic processes, such as gene flow, reproductive fitness and dispersal. However, many of these important fitness effects must be mediated via social behaviours and the social structure of flocks. For example, density dependence is driven by competition, which can only occur through individual social interactions in contests over food and/or nest sites. More interestingly, there are mutual benefits in being together in a flock, due to cooperative anti-predator and social foraging behaviours. Therefore, the choice of which individuals to associate more closely with in flocks, and which ones to avoid, should be critical in terms of fitness. It might be best to cooperate and to reciprocally enhance the fitness of friends and especially relatives (i.e. kin selection), but when competing or exploiting (e.g. scrounging food) it might better to associate with unrelated but useful individuals. This work will be part of an extensive study of house sparrows inhabiting farms on 14 islands on Helgeland by members of the Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), involving over 20 years of field observations and genotyping. It will involve field work observing and recording flocks, as well as using the long-term data set to produce data on social associations (from observations and capture data) and pair-wise genetic relatedness (from SNP genotyping data). These data will be used to produce social network diagrams and statistics on the associations of different individuals and flocks, which will then be compared with survival and reproductive estimates of fitness. This project would suit students with interests in the evolution of animal behaviour and social strategies. It also has wider links to population ecology and genetics, and important applications in conservation biology, such as in the population management of rare or invasive species. Biologi; Økologi; Økologi, etologi og evolusjonsbiologi; og Natural Resource Management 24

25 (max 20 ord): oppgaven (max 300 ord): Suitable for (main profiles): Jonathan Wright Fredrik Jutfelt & Mette Finnøen Personality and plasticity in zebrafish: do differences in life history select for individual differences in behaviour? The evolution of consistent individual differences in behaviour (i.e. personality) may be explained if bold individuals benefit more from greater risk-taking than shy individuals, for example when exploring new habitats or food sources under threat of predation. It also seems likely that shy individuals spend more time assessing their environment, and are therefore more plastic in their behaviours. All of this fits nicely into recent extensions of r- versus K-selection theory suggesting that life histories evolve along a pace-of-life (POL) continuum from fast (high reproduction, high mortality) to slow (conservatively flexible and long-lived). This project will use captive aquarium populations of zebrafish (Danio rerio) in Trondheim that have been selected for higher or lower thermal tolerances. We will explore whether individual differences in personality and plasticity are linked to temperature-related POL differences in life history. A series of individual behavioural assays will be carried out at different water temperatures using zebrafish from different selected-lines populations. Individuals tolerant to higher temperatures should have higher metabolic rates and thus be more active, as well as possibly bolder in the face of predation, more aggressive and show high reproductive rates. However, shy individuals selected for low thermal tolerance might be expected to be more plastic and more sensitive to water temperature changes in their levels of each behaviour. This project has wider applications for global warming effects and the ability of fish to evolve solutions or show sufficient plasticity. It also explored some basic patterns in the evolution of physiology and behaviour, including the success of lineages in adapting to captive environments in aquaculture. Biologi; Økologi; Økologi, etologi og evolusjonsbiologi; Natural Resource Management; Marinbiologi; og Marine Coastal Development 25

26 Preliminary title: Fredrik Jutfelt, Associate professor Rachael Morgan, PhD student Mette Finnøen, PhD student Thermal biology in zebrafish individual thermal dispositions As climate change is making aquatic habitats warmer, fish can respond by migration, acclimatization or adaptation, but most often combinations of these strategies. This project will focus on individual variation in thermal performance, the idea that some individuals in a population have higher fitness than others at higher temperatures. This concept can be thought of as different individuals having differing thermal dispositions. The main questions that will be addressed are: Are different measures of thermal tolerance, performance and personality correlated? Are individuals in a population distributed along a warm performer cold performer axis? Is thermal behavioural preference linked to thermal physiology? Are there sex-specific differences in thermal tolerance, performance and behaviour? Could we predict which individuals are most likely to succeed in a warmer climate? Are these individual differences in thermal performance heritable, and may form the basis for evolution of more thermally tolerant populations? To answer these questions, the students will use various physiological and behavioural measurements on zebrafish. The techniques will likely include in-vivo animal experiments, thermal exposures, growth rate and metabolic rate measurements, automated behavioural analysis and more. The experiments will be performed at NTNU gløshaugen. Please contact Fredrik Jutfelt, Rachael Morgan or Mette Finnøen for more information. Biology, with focus on physiology or behaviour. One to two students. 26

27 Arbeidstittel på oppgaven (max 20 word): oppgaven (max 300 word): Short description of the Postdoc Tim Burton, CBD, IBI Prof. Sigurd Einum, CBD, IBI Optimisation of seasonal physiology to day length and temperature: are northerners more light sensitive than southerners? Being in the right physiological or developmental state at the right time is essential to optimise fitness in seasonal environments. Day length provides a highly reliable cue that animals can use to prepare for seasonal change because at a given spot on Earth, day length remains the same today as it was 100,000 years ago. Indeed, a wide variety organisms use day length to optimise physiological and developmental change. Seasonal variation in day length increases with latitude: the equator gets 12 hours of light per day all year long. North or south of the equator, variation in day length becomes progressively more extreme, increasing from 0 h at the equator to 24 h in the summer at latitudes greater than 67. However, for individuals to ensure they are in the right state at the right time, it would seem likely that they use day length in combination with other environmental cues, e.g. temperature. Using the broadly distributed, large zooplankton species, Daphnia magna, the current project will investigate how individuals from populations that vary dramatically in their day length variation or seasonality (highly seasonal: Væroy, northern Norway, less-seasonal: Barcelona, southern Spain), integrate information from day length and temperature to optimise their thermal physiology, measured as the short-term ability to maintain basic bodily function under high temperature (or upper thermal tolerance, hereafter UTT). UTT in Daphnia, like many other ectotherms, shows great plasticity in response to temperature: when reared in warm conditions, populations from warmer, lowlatitude (i.e. less seasonal) areas have greater ability to upregulate UTT than populations from cooler, high latitude (i.e. more seasonal) areas. Furthermore, several studies on ectotherms show that longer day lengths can increase UTT, presumably because they indicate that warmer temperatures are to be expected, and recent molecular evidence suggests Daphnia populations are locally adapted in how they perceive day length. In the current project, plasticity in UTT will be linked to both temperature and day length in order to investigate how organisms from vastly different seasonal environments optimise their physiological state. Oppgaven passer for Suitable formain profiles: MSBIO, MLREAL 27

28 Kontaktinformasjon / epost Contact information / Webside / webpage: Biveileder/-e: Co-supervisor/-s: / Preliminary title: Sigurd Einum (IBI) Phone: / Olav Vadstein (IBT) / Ingrid Bakke (IBT) The effects of microbiota on fitness variation within and among Daphnia genotypes Background and Objectives: For many organisms it has been shown that the microbiota contributes to the health and disease of the host. In cultures of many animals, both invertebrates and vertebrates, considerable culture-to-culture variation has been observed in the performance/fitness of the organism. It has been suggested that parts of this variation can be caused by differences in the microbiota of the culture. Variation among replicate cultures containing the same genotype of the cultured species can be caused by founding effects and drift, and is therefore of a random type. In contrast, systematic variation among cultures containing different genotypes that have been previously exposed to a common environment would suggest that different genotypes impose different selective pressures on the microbiota community. In the case where different genotypes have different fitness, the question is to what extent these differences are explained by their associated microbiota? In our Daphnia lab we are currently running population dynamics experiments where we observe considerable random variation in population growth and carrying capacity among replicates within clones, as well as systematic variation among clones. The role of microbiota in this variation remains unknown, but the biology of Daphnia makes it an attractable model system to study such effects. The goal of this project is to: 1. Test for differences in the microbiota in water and associated with animals between and within (among replicates) clones of Daphnia. 2. Test if it is possible to reduce culture-to-culture and temporal variation in fitness of Daphnia by experimental manipulation of microbiota of the culture within clones (i.e. reduce random source of variation) 3. Test if variation in fitness among clones can be partly caused by their associated microbiota. Experimental methods: Experiments will be conducted at Dept. Biology and molecular work Dept. Biotechnology. The student will run parallel replicates of two genetically unique clones of Daphnia with verified differences in fitness and estimate population growth rate and carrying capacity of each replicate. The study will test 1) for systematic differences in microbiota composition between the two clones, 2) whether across-culture (within clone) transfer of microbiota reduces random culture-to-culture variation in fitness. If microbiota composition differs between the two clones, containers containing individual Daphnia juveniles of the two clones will be inoculated with microbiota from cultures of the two clones in a 2x2 fashion, and juvenile growth, age at reproduction and offspring production will be recorded to test how microbiota composition contributes to differences in these life history traits among clones. Methods include cultivation studies and characterization of the microbial community based PCR-based amplification of the 16S-rRNA gene. Passer for (angi studieretning/hovedprofil/-er): MSOCEAN, MSBIO, MSBIOTECH, MLREAL Suitable for main profiles: 28

29 Preliminary title: Prof. Sigurd Einum, CBD, IBI Ass. Prof. Anders G. Finstad, CBD, VM Temporal variation in zooplankton community size-structure Freshwater communities are to an increasing degree impacted by a multitude of human activities, including land use, climate change, exploitation, hydropower development, pollution and inadvertent introduction of invasive species. In worst case scenarios this may influence biodiversity through local extinctions, but even less dramatic effects may strongly influence the ecological functions of different trophic levels through effects on the mean and variance of functional traits. Such changes in functional trait distributions can come about through changes in species composition, phenotypic plasticity, evolutionary changes, and demographic change (age-structure). The zooplankton community represent the main constituent of primary consumers in pelagic ecosystems. Thus, these provide a crucial function both as grazers on primary producers (phytoplankton) and bacteria, and as food for secondary consumers (planktivorous fish and invertebrates). Understanding the responses of this trophic level to different types of environmental change (be it natural or antropogenic) is therefore crucial for management of freshwater ecosystems, both in terms of sustaining fisheries and maintaining high water quality. One of the main traits influencing the ecological function of zooplankton is their body size, since this greatly influences a range of physiological traits such as feeding, metabolism, and reproductive rates. The current project aims to study temporal changes in the zooplankton community of a set of Norwegian lakes in response to environmental drivers. The method consists of collecting and analysing sediment core samples. Sediment core samples from lakes represent an unique source of data, enabling quantification of historical changes in relative abundance, species compositions and size distributions of zooplankton communities. This is possible because parts of the carapace (exoskeleton) of zooplankton (particularly cladocera) are well preserved, and these can be extracted from different strata in the sediments and used for species identification and size measurements. By using dating techniques, different strata in sediment cores can be aged, and hence patterns in zooplankton communities over time can be reconstructed. Observed variation through space and time will be linked to environmental drivers. Particular focus will be on the effects of the fish fauna, which varies both spatially (among lakes) and temporally (due to human assisted introductions), pollution and human land use. MSBIO, MLREAL 29

30 Professor Ole Kristian Berg Professor Sigurd Einum Growth and sexual maturation in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) We have at least two different masterprojects we would like to launch based on 1. Age determination and growth analyses of Atlantic salmon 2. Comparison of age/size of maturity among different strains of Atlantic salmon in Norway Both projects are based basic ecological theory on growth and sexual maturation and the interaction between growth and age in the developmental processes in fish in general. Potential masterstudents are asked to take contact: - Realfagbygget EU

31 Hans K. Stenøien (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Kristian Hassel (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Hvorfor er Norge et hot-spot for biodiversitet hos torvmoser? Moser utgjør den nest største gruppen av planter etter karplanter, og utgjør en vesentlig del av biodiversiteten i nordlige og alpine områder. Vi tilbyr flere masteroppgaver rettet mot å forstå evolusjonære årsaker som ligger til grunn for biologisk diversitet innen moser generelt. Vi er spesielt interesserte i å forstå evolusjon hos torvmoser (Sphagnum); den planteslekten i verden som er av størst betydning for globalt klima. Rundt en tredjedel av verdens terrestriske karbon er bundet i torvmose-vev, og økosystemer som torvmoser inngår i lagrer store mengder klimagasser. Vi er interesserte i å forstå artsdannelse hos moser, samt å forstå historiske prosesser som kan forklare dagens utbredelse. Eksempler på spørsmål vi er interesserte i inkluderer: har moser overlevd siste istid i vår del av verden, hvilke genetiske og miljømessige faktorer kan forklare den enorme morfologiske variasjonen (bl.a. fargevariasjonen) hos torvmoser og hva har dette å si for artsdannelse, evnen som moser har for å overleve ekstreme klimaendringer, samt evolusjonshastighet hos moser versus karplanter. Masteroppgaver vil som oftest inkludere feltarbeid i ulike deler av verden, samt bruk av ulike molekylære markører. Master students in biosystematics at NTNU may take high-quality master courses at other Nordic universities through the so-called NABiS network ( (Foto: Kjell I. Flatberg) Biodiversity and Systematics/ Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics 31

32 Hans K. Stenøien (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Kristian Hassel (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Spres torvmose ved hjelp av elg? Det er for tiden stort fokus på myr og viktigheten av torv i forhold til global oppvarming. I dette ønsker vi å forstå den svært høye biologiske diversiteten av torvmoser som vi har i vår del av verden. Vi vet at disse plantene er i stand til å spre seg over store avstander: vi finner lite genetisk variasjon mellom bestander i Norge og Newfoundland, eller Kina og Alaska. Dette skyldes at mikroskopiske sporer regelmessig og i store antall spres over hele verden. Vi puster inn torvmosesporer. Stor spredningsevne ser vi også lokalt: bestander i ulike deler av Norge, eller ulike deler av Trøndelag, kan være genetisk veldig like, noe som skyldes at migrasjon regelmessig forekommer mellom lokale bestander. Noen arter, som trøndertorvmosen, er imidlertid ikke observert med sporehus en eneste gang. Likevel finner vi indikasjoner på til dels massiv spredning mellom lokale bestander. Hvordan kan dette forklares? Hvordan sprer torvmosen seg hvis den ikke sprer seg via sporer? Vår teori er at det er elgen som står for mye av spredningen av torvmoser på lokalt plan (f.eks. mellom ulike deler av Trøndelag). For å undersøke dette nærmere vil vi sette i gang et prosjekt der vi ved hjelp av en elgfot som vi tråkker rundt i myra med, måler hvor mye torvmose som spres på denne måten. (YouTube: Biodiversity and Systematics/ Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics 32

33 : Hans K. Stenøien (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Kristine Bakke Westergaard, NINA Adaptation to climate change in a red listed species Habitat destruction and climate change are causing loss of biodiversity, and a main challenge in conservation biology is to understand processes shaping species distributions, genetic diversity and population connectivity. In this project, we are using state-of-the-art methods to study how the genome of a plant species is varying throughout its distribution range, and we are especially focusing on genetic diversity related to habitat adaptation. Our study species, the sedge Carex scirpoidea, is widely distributed in North America and Greenland, but only found in three populations on our side of the Atlantic Ocean, in Norway (Nordland County). In North America, this sedge is mainly growing in tufts in various habitats like peatlands, beaches and on the tundra, while in Norway it is mainly growing in mats in nutrient-rich mountain vegetation influenced by seeping water. This makes the Norwegian populations particularly vulnerable to climate change affecting this habitat, which is why Carex scirpoidea is currently listed on the Norwegian Red List of threatened species. In this masters project the student will perform cultivation experiments to test how various genetic factors affect plant fitness in various habitats. Our results will contribute to the understanding of species potential for adaptation following climate change, and to enable more empirically based and sustainable conservation strategies for rare and threatened species. Carex scirpoidea (grønlandsstarr) in Greenland. Oppgaven passer for: Biodiversity and Systematics/ Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics 33

34 Main supervisor Co supervisor Preliminary title Short description of the project Suitable for Assoc. Prof. Michael Martin, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet Prof. Jean Ristaino, North Carolina State University, USA Global analysis of functional diversity of a devastating plant pathogen Phytophthora infestans is a fungus-like organism that causes late blight disease of potatoes and which, upon introduction to Europe in the 1840s, caused the Irish potato famine. Its ability to overcome the defenses of its potato host via rapid genome evolution makes P. infestans a persistent threat to global potato crops. Currently this threat can be definitely controlled only through repeated applications of fungicides. The interested student can design a master project consisting of one or more of these elements: (1) Perform genomic sequencing of a global sampling of P. infestans diversity using newly collected isolates from Central and South America, as well as historical herbarium collections of potato hosts infected by this pathogen. (2) Use bioinformatic tools will to assess the diversity of genes related to host infection in this diverse collection of P. infestans isolates. (3) Assess functional (protein-coding sequence) diversity of virulence genes in order to characterize future threats to global potato production. (4) Examine global genetic structure in order to reconstruct pathways of migration introduction, especially in the context of the Irish potato famine, as well as the evolutionary history of the pathogen on different New World hosts. Biodiversity and Systematics/ Ecology Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics 34

35 Main supervisor Preliminary title (max 20 words) Short description of the project (max 300 words) Suitable for Assoc. Prof. Michael Martin, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet Prof. Tom Gilbert, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet Phylogenomics of rapid diversification in the Darwin s finches of the plant world The Galápagos archipelago is a hotspot of biodiversity and an invaluable microcosm for studying the processes of evolution. The islands are home to the endemic plant genus Scalesia, whose remarkable connection to Asteraceae (the daisy/sunflower family) was first recorded by Charles Darwin. All are descendants of a daisy-like ancestor from the west coast of South America that arrived to the newly forming volcanic islands less than 4 million years ago. Then occurred a rapid radiation into 17 species with herbaceous qualities and astounding morphological diversity that ranges from woody rainforest canopy species to small shrubs that grow directly from bare lava rock. Known as the botanical equivalent of Darwin s finches, the plants are famously specialized even amongst the organic riches of the Galápagos, and many of these threatened species are important members of the islands endemic vegetation. But as their a rapid radiation left these species highly invariant at nuclear genetic markers, biogeographic relationships with the genus are still completely unknown. The interested student can design a master project consisting of one or more of these elements: (1) Apply next-generation sequencing to a unique botanical collection consisting of both living and pressed herbarium specimens, to investigate the biogeography of these charming plants during millions of years of adaptive radiation and dispersal amongst newly forming volcanic islands. (2) Use bioinformatic tools to reconstruct the evolutionary history of these plants, with a goal to fully resolve the phylogeny of the genus. (3) Investigate the pace and architecture of Scalesia genome evolution, the gene families that characterize this genus, and the evolutionary processes that generated Scalesia s morphological diversity. Biodiversity and Systematics/ Ecology Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics 35

36 Main supervisor Preliminary title (max 20 words) Short description of the project (max 300 words) Suitable for Assoc. Prof. Michael Martin, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet Dr. Jørgen Rosvold, Stavanger Museum Reindeer genomics from ancient DNA The origin of the domestic reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) is controversial and still unsettled. Past studies of genetic diversity in Europe and Asia indicate there may have been up to three major domestication events in the history of reindeer husbandry. The genetic signature of this history may also be obscured by interbreeding of domestic and wild reindeer. Using ancient specimens to provide temporal data could avoid the confounding effects of introgression from wild reindeer and may help to elucidate the history of domestic reindeer The interested student can design a master project consisting of one or more of these elements: (1) Extract ancient DNA from well-preserved ancient European reindeer bones and apply next-generation sequencing technologies. (2) Use de novo assembly tools to generate whole mitochondrial genome sequences. (3) Perform phylogenomic and population analyses in order to reconstruct the history of migration and domestication in European reindeer. Biodiversity and Systematics/ Ecology Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics 36

37 Main supervisor Preliminary title (max 20 words) Short description of the project (max 300 words) Suitable for Assoc. Prof. Michael Martin, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet Assoc. Prof. Gerhard Karrer, University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Austria Phylogenomics and taxonomy of the ragweeds (genus Ambrosia) The ragweeds (Asteraceae, genus Ambrosia) are a group of about 40 species of plants adapted to wind-pollination and largely native to North America. The center of diversity of this genus appears to be in the Sonoran Desert region of North America, although some species are widespread throughout North America, and others occur mostly in South America. Some species are desert plants, and many are also weedy pioneers. The most successful and widespread Ambrosia weed is the globally distributed invasive species Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed), which belongs to a highly specialized complex whose members range across North America. The evolutionary relationships between ragweed species are confused, especially in collections from the Caribbean, S. America, Europe, and West Africa. The interested student can design a master project using low-depth genomic sequencing and de novo assembly tools to generate a whole chloroplast genome sequence for each member of the genus Ambrosia. Phylogenomic analyses will be conducted at chloroplast and high-copy nuclear genomic regions in an attempt to resolve the evolutionary relationships in this taxonomically difficult genus. Special focus may be given to to A. maritima, which has a curious distribution in southern Europe, Israel, and possibly Africa, and may be the only ragweed species naturalized in the Old World, and may have been introduced to Israel by human activity in ancient times. Biodiversity and Systematics/ Ecology Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics 37

38 Main supervisor Kristian Hassel (NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Preliminary title (max 20 words) Short description of the project (max 300 words) Suitable for Hans K. Stenøien (NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Michael D. Martin (NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Metabarcoding of ancient peat bog materials from Central Norway for palaeo-ecological reconstruction Norway s ecological communities have shifted considerably since the retreat of the ice sheets after the Last Glacial Maximum. In this project, the student will use 14 C-dated peat cores to assess community structure changes through time in Sphagnum dominated ecosystem. The peat cores will be taken from Føggelmyra and Høstadmyra in Central Norway, both of which are localities of considerable conservation and restoration relevance that are expected to yield ages of years. Environmental DNA extraction, and barcoding will be performed on samples representing different time periods on the two localities. Ecosystem dynamics and species composition changes will be investigated. Biodiversity and Systematics/ Ecology Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics 38

39 Kristian Hassel (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Hans K. Stenøien (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Taksonomi og systematikk på moser Slektskapsforhold innen moser og spesielt levermoser er fremdeles dårlig utforsket, spesielt på artsnivået. Det er flere interessante mosegrupper og problemstillinger å ta tak i, artsavgrensning, slektskapsforhold, evolusjon av karakterer etc. Molekylære og morfologiske metoder. Noe feltarbeid må påregnes. Ved NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet har vi store mosesamlinger og et godt miljø innen biosystematikk. Masterstudenter i biosystematikk ved NTNU har mulighet til å ta kurs av høy faglig kvalitet ved andre nordiske universiteter gjennom NABiS-nettverket ( Biodiversity and Systematics/ Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics 39

40 Arbeidstittel på oppgaven (max 20 word): oppgaven (max 300 word): Short description of the Kristian Hassel (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Hans K. Stenøien (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Levermoser med disjunkt utbredelse, hvilken rolle spiller historie, klima og spredning? Hvorfor vokser det moser på Vestlandet som ellers i verden kun er kjent fra de Britiske øyer, vestkysten av Nord-Amerika og østlige Himalaya? Hvilke prosesser skaper slike disjunkte utbredelser? Er det resultat av en tidligere vid utbredelse som har gått sterkt tilbake, eller er det klimaforhold og spredning som er de viktigste faktorene for å forklare utbredelsen til disse artene. Ved hjelp av molekylære metoder kan disse metodene studeres. Noe feltarbeid må påregnes. Masterstudenter i biosystematikk ved NTNU har mulighet til å ta kurs av høy faglig kvalitet ved andre nordiske universiteter gjennom NABiSnettverket ( Oppgaven passer for (angi Suitable for (main profiles): Biodiversity and Systematics/ Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics 40

41 Torbjørn Ekrem (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, Vitenskapsmuseet) Elisabeth Stur (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, Vitenskapsmuseet) Genetisk diversitet hos nærstående fjærmyggarter Genetic diversity in closely related non-biting midges Fjærmygg (tovingefamilien Chironomidae) er en av de mest artsrike insektfamiliene vi har, og mange av artene kan være svært vanskelige å skille fra hverandre. Av den grunn har identifisering med DNA sekvenser (såkalt DNA barcoding) vist seg å være svært nyttig for artsbestemmelse av fjærmygg. Nyere forskningsresultater har antydet at fjærmyggarter ikke nødvendigvis har samme avgrensning morfologisk som det de har genetisk, og det er mulig at flere kryptiske arter skjuler seg i det vi i dag anser for å være en og samme art. Denne oppgaven kan tilpasses flere artsgrupper hos fjærmygg som alle har vid utbredelse på nordlig halvkule. Nøyaktig hvilke arter som inkluderes kan justeres etter ønske om feltarbeid eller spesifikke problemstillinger. Hovedmål med oppgaven vil være å undersøke om ulike populasjoner av utvalgte fjærmyggarter kan skilles genetisk og morfologisk, og om de bør regnes som egne (nye) arter. For å kunne nå målet med oppgaven vil det være ønskelig med noe feltarbeid i Norge og eventuelt andre nordiske land. Praktisk opplæring i feltmetodikk, sortering, preparering og identifisering av alle livsstadier av fjærmygg vil bli gitt. Oppgaven omfatter relativt mye laboratoriearbeid der studenten vil jobbe med ulike molekylærbiologiske metoder som pcr-amplifisering av gensegmenter og sekvensering, og bruke avansert digital mikroskopi for morfologiske analyser. Anvendbare molekylære og morfologiske karakterer vil bli videre brukt i ulike typer biogeografiske analyser. Studenten vil bli tilknyttet Systematikk og evolusjonsgruppa ved Vitenskapsmuseets Institutt for naturhistorie Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics 41

42 s Førsteamanuensis Mika Bendiksby Systematikk & Evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet Førstelektor Vibekke Vange Preliminary title: PhD kandidat Malene Østreng Nygård (Begge: Systematikk & Evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Sibirstjerne (Eurybia sibirica): bevaringsgenetikk og fylogeografi Arctic aster (Eurybia sibirica): conservation genetics and phylogeography Sibirstjerne (Eurybia sibirica) er listet som kritisk truet i Norsk rødliste for arter Arten er avhengig av kontinuerlig skjøtsel for å overleve i Norge. Den har i dag kun én forekomst i Norge, mens den er relativt vanlig i Nord-Russland og nordvestre Nord- Amerika. For å vite hvordan vi best skal bevare naturmangfoldet, trenger vi kunnskap både om sibirstjernes historie og dagens tilstand. I denne masteroppgaven ønsker vi å finne ut om den eneste norske gjenværende populasjonen av sibirstjerne er genetisk forskjellig fra populasjoner utenfor Norge. Vi ønsker også å finne ut om dagens norske populasjon er mindre genetisk variabel enn norske populasjoner for omkring 100 år siden; altså om redusert bestand har ført til genetisk utarming. Metoder som vil benyttes i denne oppgaven: Prøvetaking fra herbariemateriale og fersk-innsamlet materiale. Molekylære undersøkelser av gammelt (herbariemateriale, +/- 100 år) og nytt materiale, som involverer DNA isolering, biblioteks-preparering for Restriction site associated DNA markers (RADseq), databehandling og ulike populasjonsgenetiske og fylogeografiske analyser. Biodiversitet, evolusjon og økologi Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology 42

43 s Førsteamanuensis Mika Bendiksby (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Preliminary title: PhD kandidat Malene Østreng Nygård (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Blåveisen (Hepatica nobilis) hvor kom du fra? Blue anemone (Hepatica nobilis) from where did you come? Vårsymbolet vårt, blåveisen, er en kalk-elskende art med to hovednedslagsfelt i Norge, sørøstlandet og Midt-Norge. Flere andre lavlands arter av karplanter viser det samme bimodale utbredelses mønsteret. Hva skyldes dette? En hypotese er at de to tyngdepunktene skyldes ulike innvandringsveier til Norge, en fra øst og en fra sør. En alternativ hypotese er at det har oppstått en barriere som har delt opp en tidligere stor og sammenhengende blåveis populasjon (vikarians). Et kompliserende element er at blåveis også har blitt dyrket i hager og kan ha forvillet seg ut i norsk natur. Hvilke populasjoner har et slikt opphav? I denne masteroppgaven kan du finne svar! Du vil ta DNA prøver fra blåveis populasjoner du selv har samlet på feltarbeid og du vil ta prøver fra herbariemateriale. Du vil bruke moderne metoder for å produsere DNA sekvens data som du analyserer vha populasjons-genetiske og fylogeografiske analyse verktøy. I tillegg predikerer du artens utbredelse basert på observasjoner og utbredelses modellering verktøy. Vi søker en kandidat med følgende bakgrunn/interesser: biodiversitets-bevaring, biosystematikk, botanikk, fylogeografi, molekylære analyser, bioinformatikk. Biodiversitet, evolusjon og økologi Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology 43

44 Mika Bendiksby (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Preliminary title: Andreas Frisch (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Metabarcoding the cryptic diversity of lichens and lichenicolous fungi in Norwegian rainforests The rainforests along the Norwegian west-coast are internationally recognized hot-spots for biodiversity and are red-listed habitats in Norway. Lichens and the fungi growing on them (i.e., lichenicolous fungi) are domineering elements of the epiphyte communities of these forests but their diversity is poorly known. Species of these groups are difficult to identify, even for specialists. Standardized metabarcoding would make them accessible for a wider group of researchers and biodiversity monitors. You will be the first to apply metabarcoding for mapping the diversity of lichens and lichenicolous fungi. The main objectives are (1) to estimate the proportion of cryptic genetic diversity, and (2) to evaluate the efficiency of metabarcoding compared to traditional biodiversity mapping techniques. You will learn: - traditional biodiversity mapping - identification of lichens and lichenicolous fungi - DNA-barcoding - DNA-metabarcoding We are seeking a student with a background/interest in lichenology, biodiversity conservation, DNA-based methods and/or bioinformatics Biodiversity and Systematics/ Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics 44

45 Mika Bendiksby (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Preliminary title: Andreas Frisch (Systematikk & evolusjonsgruppa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet) Developing and testing new approaches to DNA barcoding lichenicolous fungi in Norway Lichenicolous fungi are biologically diverse organisms that grow as parasites, comensals or parasymbionts on lichens. Their systematics and distribution in Norway is currently poorly known. Molecular systematic research in this interesting group of organisms is challenged by (1) their small size and (2) admixture with the lichen host. You will develop and test new molecular techniques for obtaining DNA data from lichenicolous fungi using advanced tools, including high-throughput sequencing. The main objectives are to: (1) obtain DNA sequence data from lichenicolous fungi, (2) develop a standard, best practice procedure for doing so, and (3) establish a DNA barcode library for lichenicolous fungi. You will learn: - how to recognize and identify lichenicolous fungi (preliminary) using a hand-lens in the field and by microscopy in the lab - traditional and advanced techniques for DNA data production, from DNA isolation to DNA sequencing We are seeking a student with a background/interest in method development, molecular lab work, DNA-based methods, lichenology, biodiversity, biosystematics and/or bioinformatics. Biodiversity and Systematics/ Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics 45

46 Torkild Bakken, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet Maria Capa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet University of the Balearic Islands, Spain Marine worms (Annelida) diversity in the Norwegian Sea Biodiversity is essential to the health of our planet's ecosystems. However, accurate taxonomic information does not currently exist for the vast majority of life on Earth, especially those species inhabiting in the marine realm. Knowledge of the community composition, abundance and distribution of species is fundamental to biodiversity conservation efforts, management and policymaking, and is of crucial importance in a changing world affected by climate change, habitat loss and invasive species. We are seeking for enthusiastic, hardworking master students willing to learn the taxonomic skills and analytical methods to undertake contemporary biodiversity studies, from and evolutionary perspective, dealing with one of the most abundant and diverse groups of organisms inhabiting the seafloor, the polychaetes. The details of each individual project can be designed depending on preferences. Examples: a) Species delimitation of a particular species complex; b) Revision of a polychaete family/genus in Norway; c) Faunistic study of a scarcely known region/habitat, d) Temporal succession or colonisation in a given environment. Students will acquire: - Collecting and curatorial management skills - Classical taxonomic training (including morphological studies, use of Scanning Electron Microscope, photography, taxonomic databases, etc) - Traveling, to promote exposure with experts in the field - Training in molecular taxonomic techniques and analyses (i.e DNA barcoding and DNA taxonomy) - Phylogenetic analyses and others. Systematics and evolution, Ocean Resources.. 46

47 Torkild Bakken, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet Maria Capa, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet University of the Balearic Islands, Spain Polychaetes in Norwegian ports: uncovering diversity in coastal anthropogenic environments and assessing cryptogenic and non-indigenous species Norway is the 7 th country in the world when it comes to coastline length, with 25,148 km excluding the Islands. Although the conservation status of Norwegian marine ecosystems is relatively good, the coastal zone is inadequate monitored, and its biological diversity is threatened by a multitude of external pressures. In this project, funded by the Norwegian Taxonomy Initiative (Artsdatabanken ), we aim to assess the polychaete species diversity (one of the most abundant and diverse groups of benthic invertebrates, considered as surrogates of benthic communities and indicators of environmental disturbance) in several port environments, map their occurrence along the Norwegian coastline, build DNA barcode library including all morphospecies, uncover potential hidden diversity, and assess unintentionally translocated or non-indigenous species. Students interested in this topics, could choose among a group of polychaetes or specific questions to develop for their Master project. Students will acquire: - Collecting and curatorial management skills - Classical taxonomic training (including morphological studies, use of Scanning Electron Microscope, photography, taxonomic databases, etc) - Traveling, to promote collecting experience and exposure with experts in the field - Training in molecular taxonomic techniques and analyses (i.e DNA barcoding and DNA taxonomy) - Phylogenetic analyses and others. Systematics and evolution, Ocean Resources. 47

48 Gunnar Austrheim Kristian Hassel, James Speed Could functional plant traits be used to examine how bryophytes respond to changes in grazing and climate in alpine environments? Bryophytes are an important plant group with long-term dominance in alpine habitats. The alpine environment is however severe, and drivers such as grazing and climate may restrict variation in bryophyte life history. This project will focus on how bryophytes are affected by key drivers in alpine ecosystem such as grazing and climate. The student will use a functional traits approach to examine whether of bryophytes responses to the environment are dependent on traits such as growth form, longevity, sexuality etc. The student will use a long-term dataset on the bryophytes sampled from an experimental design with different grazing regimes in an alpine environment over 15 years (Hol, Southern Norway). Some field-work on bryophytes in alpine areas are needed, and the project will be an excellent introduction to bryophyte diversity and functional ecology in a changing alpine environment. The project on bryophytes will be linked to other studies on alpine ecosystems through the project; MANaging ECOsystem services in low alpine cultural landscapes through livestock grazing (MANECO) Natural Resources management, Ecology 48

49 Anders G. Finstad, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet (kontaktperson) Jan Grimsrud Davidsen, Karstein Hårsaker, m.fl. Biologisk mangfold, forvaltning og påvirkninger i ferskvannsmiljøer Hvilken kunnskap trenger miljøforvaltningen for en bærekraftig vannmiljøforvaltning? Hvordan påvirkes naturmiljøet av naturgitte og menneskelig påvirkning? Vi tilbyr ulike typer oppgaver som vil gi kompetanse og erfaring relevant for jobb i forvaltning, forskning, industri og undervisning. Fokus kan være både anvendt og grunnleggende forsking, formidling og forvaltning. Avhengig av oppgavefokus vil vi legge vekt på et veilederteam som reflekterer kompetanse innen både grunnforskning, anvendt økologi, formidling og forvaltning. Bruk av museale langtidsserier i kombinasjon med egen datainnsamling og lokale forvaltningsdata er aktuelle tilnærmingsmåter. Eksempler på tema: 1) Drikkevannskvalitet, trofiske interaksjoner og biologisk mangfold. Hvordan påvirker artssammensetning og introduksjon av fremmede arter struktur og funksjon i økosystemer og gjennom det essensielle økosystemtjenester, som for eksempel drikkevannskvalitet. 2) Biologisk mangfold og interaksjon mellom klimaendringer og fremmede arter. Hvordan påvirker klimaendringer effekten av fremmede arter på biologiske samfunn. Bruk av museale langtidstidsserier i kombinasjon med egen feltinnsamling. 3) Forvaltning og formidling av vannmiljøkunnskap. Hvordan forvalte / formidle kunnskap om vannmiljø og interaksjoner med naturlige og menneskeskapte påvirkningsfaktorer. Ta gjerne kontakt for en nærmere prat om akkurat dine muligheter. Masterprogram Biologi: studieretning Økologi Masterprogram Naturressursforvaltning: studieretning biologi Lektorutdanning i realfag (LUR) 49

50 James Speed Katariina Vuorinen The impact of ungulate herbivory and climate on shrub and treeline advance and forest succession Aim: This project will address one of today s key environmental questions: How do climate and herbivory interact to determine ecosystem change? Background: The advance of trees and shrubs into tundra ecosystems is one of today s major ecological changes. The annual ring record in woody plants provides a window to the past, allowing us to infer previous environmental conditions. Using the annual ring record in trees and shrubs we can disentangle the impacts of climate and ungulate herbivores on the establishment and growth of trees and shrubs. Depending on the student s interest, this project can focus on forest ecosystems or alpine ecosystems Alpine tundra ecosystems: How does herbivory buffer the impact of climatic warming on treeline and shrub advance into tundra? Ungulates: sheep, reindeer, Plants: mountain birch, dwarf shrubs, tall shrubs. Forest ecosystems: How do large ungulates interact with climate and forest management to determine successional processes? Ungulates: moose, red deer, Plants: trees, dwarf shrubs. There are existing herbivore experiments that can be used in the boreal forests and mountains of Norway. Alternatively, the project can focus on regions with different historical densities of herbivores. Methods: The student will travel to the field sites to sample trees and shrubs, then prepare stem discs to measure ring widths using video-microscopy. Statistical modelling will be used to partition variance in tree/shrub growth and establishment between climate and herbivory. Training will be provided. The student will have the opportunity to interact with an international group of researchers as part of a new project at NTNU University Museum. Further reading: Speed et al Browsing interacts with climate to determine tree-ring increment. Functional Ecology. 25, Myers-Smith et al Climate sensitivity of shrub growth across the tundra biome. Nature Climate Change 5: Contact: James Speed Biology, Ecology, Natural Resource Management 50

51 James D. M. Speed TBA Projects in biogeography and ecoinformatics Do you like ecology, maps and data? Biogeography and ecoinformatics may be just the project for you! Today there is a huge amount of data available to answer questions related to species distributions and diversity. We can ask what drives patterns in biogeography. We can map the distribution of individual species, patterns in species richness, or even map functional traits at large spatial scales. Projects can be moulded to the interests of the student: there are many possibilities with different taxa and regions (local, regional or global scales). Potential topics include: Species distribution modelling Diversity mapping Functional trait biogeography Linking herbivore and plant distributions Projects can be designed for standard (60 credit) theses or 30 credit theses (e.g. for LUR students). The student will have the opportunity to learn many new skills, including data handling and analyses, spatial data processing (GIS) and expand their knowledge of biogeography and biodiversity data. Training and support will be provided. Figure 1 Example species distribution model for Primula scandinavica in Norway Further reading: Araújo MB & Luoto M Glob. Ecol. Biogeogr. 16: Speed & Austrheim 2017 Biol Cons 205: Contact Biology, Natural Resource Management LUR (Biology) 51

52 (max 20 ord): oppgaven (max 300 ord): Jan Grimsrud Davidsen; Avhenger av type masteroppgave Sjøørretens marine vandringer, habitatbruk og interaksjoner med akvakultur. Sjøørret er en anadrom form av ørret (Salmo trutta) som gyter i ferskvann og vandrer mellom ferskvann og sjøvann for å oppnå de beste leveforholdene. Generelt har vi lite kjennskap til sjøørretens habitatbruk i havet og dens vandringer mellom sjø og ferskvann. NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet gjennomfører flere ulike forskningsprosjekter på marine vandringer og habitatbruk til sjøørret. Undersøkelsene foregår typisk i fjordsystemer og gjennomføres ved hjelp av elektronisk sporing av individuelt merket sjøørret (akustisk telemetri). Ved å følge enkeltfisk i inntil 2 år kan vi beskrive hvor sjøørreten oppholder seg, miljøet som påvirker den og hvordan dette varierer mellom de ulike årstidene. Videre kan vi studere hvordan ulikt omgivelsesmiljø påvirker sjøørretens atferd og vi får data på overlevelse og dødelighet i sjøen. Som en viktig del av våre prosjekter kartlegger vi mulige interaksjoner mellom vill sjøørret og oppdrettsfisk i fjordsystemene. En masteroppgave innen et av disse prosjektene vil bidra med ny og unik viten om sjøørretens liv under den marine næringsvandringen. Slik kunnskap er sterkt etterspurt og vil bidra til å utpeke de største trusselfarene som sjøørreten står overfor og dermed muliggjøre en mer effektiv forvaltningsstrategi. Innenfor prosjektene er det ulike muligheter for å skreddersy en masteroppgave. Interesserte studenter oppfordres derfor til å ta kontakt for en nærmere prat. Prosjektene skjer i samarbeid andre universiteter i Canada, Danmark og Norge Samt med Norsk Institutt for naturforskning (NINA). Det er dermed gode muligheter for å bygge nettverk under arbeidet med oppgaven For mer info se: Masterprogram Biologi: studieretning Økologi Masterprogram Ocean Resources: studieretning Marinbiologi Masterprogram Naturressursforvaltning: studieretning biologi 52

53 oppgaven (max 300 word): Gunnar Austrheim NTNU, James Speed NTNU, Erling Johan Solberg NINA, Anders Kolstad NTNU Ecological effects of moose browsing on boreal forests Aim: To determine ecological effects of moose browsing in boreal forests. The student will sample data from the experimental design during the summer. She/he will work within a multidisciplinary group including plant and animal ecologists, and ecosystem ecologists. The Master will be based on the project Towards sustainable management of moose, red deer and their food resources established by funding from the Norwegian Research Council. The project could focus on different aspects of moose forest ecosystem interactions such as nutrient dynamics/ecosystem productivity, plant quality (nutrients, secondary compounds), plant biodiversity, ecosystem services and/or more management related issues. Methods: The data are collected from permanent vegetation plots every 2nd year: 300 plots in Trøndelag (start 2008), 320 plots in Telemark (start 2009), 320 plots in Akershus (start 2010). Experimental design: The permanent plots are placed in 16 experimental sites within each area. Each site consists of an exclosure (20x20 m) and a browsed control in recent clear-cuts. Sites are placed within pine or spruce forests with moose density varying between sites. James D. M. Speed, Gunnar Austrheim; Alison J Hester; Erling J Solberg; Jean-Pierre Tremblay Regionalscale alteration of clear-cut forest regeneration caused by moose browsing. Forest Ecology and Management 289: Kolstad, A., Austrheim, G., Solberg, E., Venete, A. M. A., Woodin, S., & Speed, J. (2017). Cervid Exclusion Alters Boreal Forest Properties with Little Cascading Impacts on Soils. Ecosystems. DOI: /s Contact: Gunnar Austrheim James Speed Check our website: Natural Resources Management, Ecology 53

54 (max 20 ord): oppgaven (max 300 ord): Gunnar Austrheim NTNU, James Speed NTNU, Erling Johan Solberg NINA, Erling Meisingset NIBIO Effects of red deer browsing on biodiversity, ecosystem functions and services in forest ecosystems Aim: To determine effects of red deer browsing on coastal forest ecosystems. The student will sample data from the experimental design during the summer. She/he will work within a multidisciplinary group including plant and animal and plant ecologists, and ecosystem ecologists. The Master will be based on the project Towards sustainable management of moose, red deer and their food resources established by funding from the Norwegian Research Council. The project could focus on different aspects of red deer forest ecosystem interactions such as nutrient dynamics/ecosystem productivity, plant quality (nutrients, secondary compounds), carbon dynamic, plant biodiversity, ecosystem services and/or more management related issues. Methods: The data are from permanent vegetation plots analysed every 2nd year: 200 plots in Tingvoll (start 2008) and Gloppen (start 2006). Experimental design: The permanent plots are randomly placed inside 10 experimental sites within each area. Each site consists of an exclosure (20*20 m) and a browsed control. Study sites are located in mixed pine and deciduous forests, with red deer density varying between sites. Speed, J.D.M., Meisingset, E., Austrheim, G., Hester, A.J.,Mysterud, A, Tremblay J.-P. & Solberg, E.J. (2013). Low intensities of red deer browsing constrain rowan growth in mature boreal forests of western Norway. Ecoscience 20: Contact: Gunnar Austrheim James Speed Check our website: Natural Resources Management, Ecology 54

55 (max 20 word): oppgaven (max 300 word): Foto: Dag-Inge Øien Gunnar Austrheim Sustaining biodiversity and ecosystem services in urban grasslands Nature gives us basic ecosystem services and natural goods that are essential for quality of life and welfare. Urbanization and destruction of the natural and seminatural areas in urban and suburban areas is a daily challenge for policy makers. This project will assess vulnerable semi-natural grassland habitats in Trondheim to examine the environmental/ecological sustainability in Trondheim, and to come up with alternative suggestions for an increase in sustainability. Several questions are relevant: Which biodiversity and ecosystem services do grassland ecosystems provide? What are the status and trends in terms of biodiversity and ecosystem services? What are the key drivers of change? Which values are linked to ecosystem services? What can be done to restore natural qualities in the most vulnerable habitats? The project will take place in close cooperation with Trondheim municipality. The theme of the project is closely linked to the strategic research area NTNU Sustainability Contact: Gunnar Austrheim Natural Resources Management, Ecology 55

56 s: Preliminary title: Release of translocated house sparrows: Associate Professor Henrik Jensen, Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), Department of Biology (IBI) ( Associate Professor Thor Harald Ringsby, Associate Professor Arild Husby, Researcher Bernt Rønning, and/or PhD-student Sarah Lundregan Selection, genetic architecture, and evolution of metabolic rate and body size in a common garden experiment Metabolic rate and body size varies considerably between species, populations and between individuals within a population, and these characters are important for e.g. individual ability to cope with and survive under different climatic conditions. Despite this, we know little about the mechanisms involved, and the genetic basis for such variation. In 2012, we carried out a translocation experiment to examine how natural and sexual selection affect basal metabolic rate (BMR) and body size, and to identify genes underlying variation in these characters. Generating such knowledge is important because it will help us predict how populations and species can adapt to on-going and future changes in the environment, and because it will increase our general understanding of evolutionary processes in nature. Our study population is located on the island Lauvøya in Åfjord municipality. Early winter 2012, we put up nest boxes on the island, and all native house sparrows were removed. After this, we translocated house sparrows having either extremely small or extremely large phenotype values (with respect to BMR and body size) to the island. By doing such a common garden experiment we obtain data that can be used in two MSc-projects: 1) Selection and evolution of basal metabolic rate and body size. During the years since the start of the experiment, we have recorded the survival and reproduction of the translocated birds and their descendants. This allows us to study how survival and reproduction of males and females with different phenotypes differ under similar environmental conditions. The results will give a unique understanding of how natural selection affect metabolic rate and body size in natural populations. 2) The genetic basis for body size variation. Artificially constructing a population consisting of individuals with extreme phenotypes and their descendants, and genotyping these on genetic markers spread across the genome (we use our custom 200k SNP array) will give high power to map genes affecting these characters. MSc in Biology: Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics. MSc in Natural Resources Management: Biology. 56

57 s: Preliminary title: A color ringed male house sparrow in one of our study populations: Associate Professor Henrik Jensen, Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), Department of Biology (IBI) ( Professor Bernt-Erik Sæther, Associate Professor Thor Harald Ringsby, and/or postdoc Ane M. Myhre Experimental manipulation of sex-ratio: effects on effective population size Being able to predict and estimate the rate at which genetic diversity is lost due to inbreeding and genetic drift is crucial in evolutionary biology and population genetics, as well as for the management and conservation of threatened species. The parameter that determines this rate is the effective population size, Ne. A population with a low Ne is at higher risk of extinction compared to a population with a large Ne. Due to the many factors that affect natural populations, Ne of a population is usually smaller than the total population size. Despite its fundamental importance, there is however a still a large knowledge-gap as to how different processes affect Ne. A key parameter affecting Ne is population sex-ratio. If it deviates from 1:1, the less common sex will have higher mean reproductive success compared to the other sex. Consequently, the overall variance in reproductive success will increase, Ne will decrease, and the rate of genetic drift will increase. To quantify the effect of a skewed sex-ratio on Ne we experimentally manipulated the sexratio in eight house sparrow populations ranging in size from ca. 10 to 100 individuals. This was done during winter 2014 by randomly removing 50% of the males. Individual survival and reproductive success as well as sex-ratio before and after the experiment has been collected, along with blood samples for DNA. In total, we have such data from ca adult individuals (years ), which can be used in two MSc-projects: 1) Effects of experimental changes in sex-ratio on demographic variance and Ne. The goal will be to examine how the changes in sex-ratio affected the demographic variance in the populations, and in turn how this affected Ne. Estimates of demographic Ne after the experiment will be compared with already existing estimates for the 2-3 years prior to the experiment. 2) Genetic effects of experimental changes in sex-ratio. The goal will be to examine how the changes in sex-ratio affected levels of genetic variation within and between the populations, as well as estimates of genetic Ne within each of the populations. MSc in Biology: Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics. MSc in Natural Resources Management: Biology. 57

58 Some pictures from our beautiful study area: Associate Professor Henrik Jensen, Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), Department of Biology (IBI) ( Associate Professor Arild Husby, Associate Professor Thor Harald Ringsby, PhD-student Dilan Saatoglu, and/or PhD-student Sarah Lundregan Spatio-temporal dynamics of genes for ecologically important traits in house sparrows Knowing the genetic architecture of ecologically important traits is fundamental to our understanding of many ecological and evolutionary processes in natural populations. We can offer exciting MSc-projects which focus on identifying the genetic architecture of such traits, and the causes and consequences of the traits genetic architectures. The MSc-projects will use state-ofthe-art genomic and eco-evolutionary data from a unique longterm study of a house sparrow model system. Ecologically important traits are traits related to fitness (survival and reproduction) and they will therefore be important for both ecological and evolutionary dynamics in natural populations. Examples of such types of traits are morphological traits behavioural traits, physiological traits, parasite load, and lifehistory traits. A trait s genetic architecture consists of information on which genes affect the trait, locations of these genes in the genome, and how the genes affect the phenotype. Eco-evolutionary data have been collected on an individual based level from natural and experimental insular house sparrow populations in northern Norway since More than 29,000 individuals are included in our data base. The genomic data consists of a reference house sparrow genome, genotype data on 6500 SNPs for ca individuals, genotype data on 185,000 SNPs for ca individuals, and information on polymorphisms within ca. 140 candidate genes for various ecologically important traits. In the proposed MSc-projects the eco-evolutionary and genomic data will be used in statistical analyses to determine genetic architecture by mapping genes for various ecologically important traits using QTL-mapping (linkage mapping/gwas) and/or study effects of candidate genes directly. Further statistical analyses will then be carried out to examine causes and consequences for spatiotemporal eco-evolutionary dynamics in the model system. Students choosing one of these MSc-projects will have the opportunity to get experience from fieldwork, molecular genetic laboratory work and cutting edge statistical analyses of ecoevolutionary and genomic data. MSc in Biology: Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics. MSc in Natural Resources Management: Biology. 58

59 oppgaven (max 300 word): Associate Professor Henrik Jensen, Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), Department of Biology (IBI) ( Postdoc Alina Niskanen Inbreeding and inbreeding depression in house sparrows Inbreeding is breeding between close relatives and it often has negative effects in normally outbreeding species. Yet, the genetic mechanisms underlying decreased individual fitness (called inbreeding depression) are not well known. Inbreeding increases homozygosity, but it is unclear whether inbreeding depression is mainly caused by small genome-wide effects or single genes with large effects. Stressful environment further reduces the fitness of inbred individuals and, due to climate change, extreme phenomena are getting more common. Still, the interaction between environment and inbreeding has rarely been studied in wild populations. We can offer MSc-projects that will focus on one of these topics: I) Correlation between the parent and offspring inbreeding coefficient. How the correlation varies between populations of differing sizes and dispersal rates. II) Inbreeding avoidance by mate-choice. III) Investigating the genome-wide architecture of inbreeding depression, identifying specific loci important for inbreeding depression, and identifying the functional genetic variation within these loci. IV) Examining the interaction between environmental conditions and inbreeding depression. Sparrow pedigree for Aldra - the most inbred study population. To achieve these goals, the projects will use state-of-the-art genomic tools, long-term individual-based data on fitness and environmental records from a unique study system of pedigreed wild house sparrow (Passer domesticus) populations. Data on approximately 4,000 adult house sparrows and their offspring from 11 Norwegian experimental and non-experimental island populations will be used. The birds have been genotyped for 183,000 genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms. Students choosing one of these MSc-projects will have the opportunity to get experience from fieldwork, molecular genetic laboratory work and cutting edge statistical analyses of ecoevolutionary and genomic data. MSc in Biology: Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics. MSc in Natural Resources Management: Biology. 59

60 Egg from a lungworm parasite in the fecal sample from a house sparrow: Associate professor Henrik Jensen, Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), Department of Biology (IBI) ( PhD-stipendiat Sarah Lundregan, postdoc Alina Niskanen, Ass. Prof. Arild Husby, Ass. Prof. Thor Harald Ringsby, and/or Researcher Håkon Holand Genetic and epigenetic factors contributing to parasite resistance in the house sparrow Over the coming decades, parasite prevalence and virulence are expected to increase in response to climate change. This poses a particular problem in small or fragmented populations, as such populations are likely to be inbred and one consequence of inbreeding is reduced resistance to disease. This can have negative consequences for species distribution and abundance. By studying the environmental, genetic, and epigenetic factors contributing to parasite infection in wild populations we can gain insight into the mechanisms contributing to parasite infection in nature. This may allow us to predict how species will respond to changing parasite communities. We can offer exciting MSc projects focusing on the following topics: I) Studying the plasticity of parasite infection in our house sparrow metapopulation by examining the influence of environmental factors (e.g. population density, temperature, or location). II) Evaluating the impact of inbreeding on genetic diversity at immune defense genes and therefore on parasite resistance. III) Studying post-translational modifications in specific immune defence genes related to parasite infection, such as those coding for glycoproteins. State of the art genomics tools, alongside individual-based data on parasite infection and environmental records from our long-term study system on the house sparrow in Northern Norway, will be utilised in the above projects. Parasite data is available from 2007 for ca house sparrows. Pedigrees are available for all individuals and ca 1200 of these birds have been genotyped on our custom 200k SNP array. Work on sequencing the epigenome of 16 house sparrow individuals is currently in progress. In-house Sanger sequencing will be used to determine genetic diversity at key immune genes. Glycosylation of proteins may be studied using anti-glycan antibodies and Western blot. MSc in Biology, Molecular Biology, Ecology. MSc in Natural Resources Management 60

61 oppgaven (max 300 word): Capture by mist-netting, ringing, and measuring of house sparrows in our study area: Associate Professor Henrik Jensen, Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), Department of Biology (IBI) ( Associate Professor Thor Harald Ringsby, Professor Jonathan Wright, Researcher Bernt Rønning, and/or PhD-stipendiat Sarah Lundregan Why does bill morphology affect fitness in house sparrows? In our long-term study of house sparrows at the Helgeland coast in northern Norway, we have previously found that bill morphology (size and shape) affects survival and reproductive output in house sparrows. Furthermore, we have shown that bill size and shape are heritable traits and located some of the genes for these traits. What we still do not know however, is why exactly, that bill morphology affects fitness. The most likely reason is that bill morphology is related to ability to capture, hold, and process different types of food. We can offer two complementary MSc-projects where the goal is to use novel digital methods to examine the relationship between bill morphology and various fitness-related behaviors, with the goal to establish mechanistic links between bill morphology and fitness (survival and reproduction). First, a system with multiple digital cameras will be developed to take digital 3D photographs of house sparrows bills to use in landmark-based morphometrics analyses of individual bill size and shape. Second, RFID (radio-frequency identifier) tags molded into the house sparrows plastic leg rings will be used to record individual behaviors. Third, house sparrows with 3D pictures of their bills and RFID tags on their legs will be tracked under natural conditions in the wild to obtain correlational data between bill morphology and e.g. food preferences, and feeding frequencies (of self and nestlings) under variable environmental conditions. Finally, experiments will be carried out both in the wild and in large-scale aviaries in the field to test the correlational relationships observed under natural conditions. The studies will be done in island-populations of house sparrows at the beautiful Helgeland coast in northern Norway, and students choosing these MSc-projects will do a lot of cool fieldwork, as well as learn how to work with and analyse digitized data. MSc in Biology: Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics. MSc in Natural Resources Management: Biology. 61

62 Nestlings from a house sparrow brood: Associate Professor Henrik Jensen, Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), Department of Biology (IBI) ( Professor Jonathan Wright, Associate Professor Thor Harald Ringsby, and/or postdoc Alina Niskanen Causes and consequences of multiple paternity in house sparrows If the different offspring in a female s brood have more than one father, this an example of multiple paternity. There are various hypotheses for why a female should produce offspring with multiple males. For example, it may be a strategy to increase the genetic variation in her offspring, or it could be a consequence of discrepancy between which male she chooses/obtains as social male and the male she wants as a genetic father to (some of) her offspring. For males, multiple paternity is a way to increase reproductive output because it allows siring offspring in broods of different females. As such, it may both be a way to increase offspring production above the number in a male s own nest, and/or a strategy to sire offspring without spending energy on raising them. In any case, multiple paternity is likely to increase the opportunity for sexual selection in a population. Furthermore, because both female and male mating strategies are expected to depend on their relative costs and benefits, environmental factors such as food availability, weather conditions, breeding synchrony, sex-ratio, and population size and -density may affect how the frequency of multiple paternity varies within and between populations. We can offer a MSc-project that will focus on these questions using individual-based data on fitness and genetic variability, population-level data on e.g. breeding synchrony, sex-ratio and population size, and weather data from a unique long-term study of pedigreed wild house sparrow (Passer domesticus) populations on islands at the Helgeland coast in northern Norway. Students choosing this MSc-project will get experience from fieldwork, and statistical analyses of eco-evolutionary data. MSc in Biology: Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics. MSc in Natural Resources Management: Biology. 62

63 Small nestlings and an egg from a house sparrow nest: Associate Professor Henrik Jensen, Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), Department of Biology (IBI) ( Associate Professor Thor Harald Ringsby, and postdoc Thomas Kvalnes Heritability and fitness effects of egg colour in house sparrows Egg colour and egg colour pattern has been shown to affect fitness in a number of bird species. This may be because colour and pattern influence the level of camouflage against predation or because colour and pattern may affect the probability of egg parasitism, either intra-specificially (e.g. by cockoo) or intraspecificially («egg dumping»). The goal of the MSc-project is to estimate the heritability (additive genetic variance) of egg colour and egg pattern, as well as genetic correlations between these traits and other fitness-related traits in house sparrows. Such estimates are very rare because few data sets exist where such analyses are possible. The project will then examine the effect of egg colour and pattern on individual fitness (measured by survival and reproductive output). Data on egg colour and egg pattern has been collected in up to five insular house sparrow populations at Helgeland between 2003 and Digital photographs that can be used to determine egg colour and egg pattern have been taken of more than 400 clutches. Clutches were assigned to individual females by genetic parentage analyses. Large and genetically determined pedigrees (containing almost 10,000 individuals) will be used with the data on egg colour and pattern to estimate quantitative genetic parameters using animal models. Students choosing this MSc-project will have the opportunity to get experience from fieldwork, molecular genetic laboratory work, quantitative genetic analyses, and statistical analyses of ecoevolutionary data. MSc in Biology: Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics. MSc in Natural Resources Management: Biology. 63

64 Arbeidstittel på oppgaven (max 20 word): oppgaven (max 300 word): Associate Professor Henrik Jensen, Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), Department of Biology (IBI) ( Professor Bernt-Erik Sæther, Associate Professor Thor Harald Ringsby, Researcher Henrik Pärn, and PhD-student Sindre Sommerli Population genetics of water voles To understand populations ability to evolve in response to environmental change and persist in the face of habitat fragmentation and spatio-temporal fluctuations in demography due to e.g. anthropogenic effects, it is important to understand the causes and consequences of temporal changes in genetic variation within and between populations. In 2015 we started a large-scale field study on water voles (Arvicola amphibius) on islands at the coast of Helgeland. Our aim is that this will be a model system we can use to examine questions related to population dynamics and population genetics processes in such a fragmented system, which has large spatiotemporal fluctuations in population size. We can offer exciting MSc-projects with focus on important population genetics processes in water voles; how does population size and dispersal affect inbreeding, genetic drift, genetic bottlenecks, founder events, and genetic population structure? Methods for genotyping individual voles on 13 microsatellites are already established. In addition, we will in collaboration with a research group at the University of Aberdeen develop high-throughput genomic resources for water voles that we aim to use in the proposed MSc-projects. Students choosing these MSc-projects will gain skills in carrying out high-quality fieldwork on the beautiful Helgeland coast, experience with molecular genetic laboratory work, and good knowledge about statistical analyses of population genetic data. Oppgaven passer for (angi Suitable for (main profiles): MSc in Biology: Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics. MSc in Natural Resources Management: Biology. 64

65 Arbeidstittel på oppgaven (max 20 word): oppgaven (max 300 word): Professor Bernt-Erik Sæther, Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), Department of Biology (IBI) Associate Professor Thor Harald Ringsby, Associate Professor Henrik Jensen, Researcher Henrik Pärn, PhD-stipendiat Sindre L. Sommerli Dispersal in a metapopulation of water voles As landscapes grow more and more patchy due to human induced fragmentation, movement between subpopulations become increasingly important to keep partially isolated populations viable and maintaining genetic diversity in the population. Understanding the dynamics of movement within a metapopulations is therefore of great importance for the field of conservation biology, as well as population ecology. Dispersal is a complicated mechanism depending on multiple factors, such as environmental and individual condition, population densities, or in most cases a combination of multiple factors. In 2015 the CBD started a new project on the coast of northern Norway where we use the water vole (Arvicola amphibious) as a model species to study population dynamics in a fluctuating species in a highly fragmented landscape. This is a large scale capture-recapture study gathering demographic and genetic data on thirteen islands in an archipelago on the coast of Helgeland. The goal of the MSc-project is to map dispersal among islands in this study system, as well as determining local population densities on each island. This will be achieved by using Capture-Mark-Recapture techniques in a bayesian framework to evaluate how individuals move among islands. Students choosing this MSc-project will have an opportunity to get extensive experience with field work, and statistical analysis of ecological data. Oppgaven passer for (angi Suitable for (main profiles): MSc in Biology: Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics. MSc in Natural Resources Management: Biology. 65

66 Two ear-tagged arctic foxes in winter fur: Henrik Jensen, Associate Professor, Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics, Department of Biology ( Researchers Ingerid Hagen (NINA), Øystein Flagstad (NINA) and Nina E. Eide (NINA) Landscape genomics and conservation of the arctic foxes living in a fragmented population under increasing competition pressure from red foxes The critically endangered Arctic fox has failed to recover in Fennoscandia despite 80 years of protection. The main threats are 1) extremely small and fragmented population, 2) change in rodent cyclicity, and 3) increased competition from the red fox. Linked to ECOFUNC, a research project at NINA, we will explore several genetic issues related to interactions and dynamics between the two competing species; red fox an indicator of boreal invasion species and arctic fox an indicator of alpine species in retreat. Understanding patterns and processes of migration and gene flow (establishment and reproduction) requires detailed knowledge of how landscape characteristics structure populations. Using a landscape genomics approach, we aim to disentangle factors responsible for successful invasion of red fox into alpine habitats, and effects of fragmented landscapes on arctic fox migration, establishment and reproduction. Several questions and hypotheses will be tested: 1) When is migration promoted? 2) How does patch size and distance to the nearest fragment of suitable habitat affect migration rates? 3) Do population sizes in donor and recipient populations affect migration rates? 4) What is the importance of stepping stones of suitable habitat between core populations? 5) Are there geographic- and/or environment-related patterns in genetic variation across the genome which is likely to be adaptive? 6) Do migrants contribute with genetic variation evenly distributed across the genome, or only at particular (adaptive) genomic regions? 7) How has the release of foxes from the captive breeding program affected migration patterns and genetic structure across the fox genome? 8) How does the presence and density of competing species such as the red fox affect the gene flow to potential recipient populations? We can offer several MSc projects under this work package. Most samples are already collected, and ca. 960 Scandinavian Arctic foxes and red foxes have been genotyped on 700,000 SNPs. The students will have the possibility to participate in fieldwork, learn laboratory skills, and learn how to statistically analyse genomic data. MSc in Biology: Ecology, Behaviour, Evolution and Biosystematics. MSc in Natural Resources Management: Biology. 66

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