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Research topic ideas for large time scale lake macrophyte data

Limnology Botany Ecology Environment

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#1 JF Murphy

JF Murphy


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Posted 20 September 2016 - 07:32 AM

Hi all, Ill try to keep this brief.


Basically I have access to huge data set of mapped plant communities on a large southern European lake (some of which I mapped personally). There are 4 data sets on the same area at different times, the 60s, 70s, 90s and from this year. This lake has also encountered some great trophic changes over this time period.


Can anyone suggest/discuss some masters thesis ideas for this huge and interesting data set. Help at my own university has been utterly non existent with no one being willing or experienced enough in the study area to help.   


So again, I'm trying to develop a feasible research question, looking forward to your feedback!



#2 bob1


    Thelymitra pulchella

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 09:01 PM

Without knowing more details of the exact data collected it is hard to say what could be investigated. I'm sure you already have a handle on plotting water temp/atmospheric temp vs plant types or abundances. You could also look at how the impact of oxygen/CO2 content on plant type, plant dimensions (e.g. stem diameter, leaf area). You could make estimates of carbon storage over time, growth rates etc.

#3 JF Murphy

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Posted 21 September 2016 - 09:31 AM

Hi thanks for your reply. Yes I should be more specific. The data set in question contains distribution of different plant species, their abundance at each sample point (in accordance with the Melzer index), water depth and % vegetation coverage. As I've said, there are 4 data sets for the whole lake, over a huge time scale. The interesting thing about the lake in question (which is naturally Oligotrophic) is that it was heavily eutrophic in the 60's and 70's. However, efforts since the 80's have cleaned it significantly, bringing back euthropic conditions on many parts of the lake. 


So we have a very interesting species shift along this trophic gradient. I was thinking that one research question would be to ask, despite the nutrient levels in the lake being constant for 35 years now, are the plant communities still shifting to more characteristically oligotrophic compositions? 


But alas I think this is too general/obvious a research question.


Any thoughts? 

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Limnology, Botany, Ecology, Environment

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