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Browsing by master's degree program "Kasvitieteen maisteriohjelma"

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  • Liu, Zhenzhen (2022)
    Woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) is a perennial herb in the Rosaceae family with dimorphic leaves, summer and winter leaves, adapted to seasonal climate. Woodland strawberry produces a new set of leaves in spring that are photosynthetically active throughout the summer season (summer leaves), and the leaves senescence in autumn when they are replaced by a new set of leaves (winter leaves). The winter leaves retain photosynthetic capacity under the snow cover throughout the winter season, which prolong the photosynthetic period of the species. With the world-wide climate warming, the thickness of winter snow is decreasing, which can affect overwintering and spring phenology of plants. This thesis focuses on springtime ecophysiology and phenology of the senescing winter leaves and the formation of new summer leaves of woodland strawberry genotypes of different European origin. The 15 different genotypes of woodland strawberry are from Iceland, Italy and Norway, and they originate from different environments that are geographically separated from each other, so the populations are genetically distinct. In this study, these genotypes were kept at two different overwintering sites, coastal site at the Åland islands with mild temperatures, and continental site in Lammi with a persistent snow cover. According to the results all 15 genotypes showed earlier development of the summer leaves and earlier senescence of winter leaves in the group with Åland as overwintering site than in the group with Lammi. Another important finding is that the first summer leaves produced in spring begun to senesce shortly after they are fully developed and were replaced by later formed summer leaves. Specifically, the dates of summer leaf formation, flowering and stolon production were advanced, and the dates of winter leaf senescence were also advanced. The value of different leaf types to chlorophyll fluorescence was also lower at the Åland site. Therefore, it can be concluded that overwintering conditions have an effect on the subsequent phenological development in spring. In the context of global climate change, the spring development of woodland strawberry will be earlier, and the senescence of winter leaves will also be earlier.
  • Zhou, Quan (2020)
    Leaf senescence is a developmental and physiological phase in plants to end leaf development. Environment factors such as drought stress, extreme temperature, and pathogen threat and internal factors including age and reactive oxygen species induce leaf senescence. Some phytohormones such as jasmonic acid and salicylic acid play a key function in cell death in plants. WRKY transcription factors is known as one of the largest transcription factor family in plants which regulates a variety of plants processes. WRKY75 which belong to WRKY transcription factors has shown multiple functions in plant development like regulation of Pi starvation responses and root development and flowering. In my thesis, I focused on the role of WRKY75 in senescence and stress responses. WRKY75 was identified as a positive regulator of cell death in Arabidopsis. WRKY75 can promote salicylic acid biosynthesis by promote transcript levels of SID2 and also cause hydrogen peroxide accumulation by suppressing the transcription of CAT2. Hydrogen peroxide and salicylic acid can promote WRKY75 transcription at the same time. To evaluate the function of WRKY75 transcription factor in SA signalling and cell death, three lesion mimic mutants acd5, cat2, dnd1 and their corresponding wrky75 double mutant were used. Interestingly, no different phenotypes were found between acd5, cat2, dnd1 and their corresponding wrky75 double mutants in cell death and hydrogen peroxide accumulation detection in Arabidopsis leaves. Meanwhile, marker genes transcription levels were not different in both short day and long day growth condition. However, different phenotypes were observed in botrytis infection. Based on these results, we formed a hypothesis that gene redundancy could influence genetic characterization of WRKY75. To overcome this problem, SRDX-WRKY75 chimeric repressor transgenic lines were generated. The SRDX domain act as a dominant negative regulator to suppress WRKY75 target genes. In future research, these new lines can be used to test transcript levels for putative WRKY75 target genes.
  • Amin, Al (2021)
    Wood development is a significant process with both financial as well as natural perspectives. Trees and wood are of highly significance in Finland where a huge part of the gross national income devises from the forestry area. Ecologically and commercially the Norway spruce (Picea abies) is one of the most common tree species in Europe. It covers about 30% of Finland's forest area. Norway spruce is frequently used in research to study many phenomena related specifically to the wood formation and lignification. The principal objective of my thesis work was to reveal an unknown step in the lignification process in developing xylem of Norway spruce, i.e. the initiation site(s) for lignification. To achieve this goal, the aim was to investigate the chemical identity of possible lignification initiation sites in the middle lamellae and cell corners of developing Norway spruce xylem, and to answer the question where in the cell wall soluble monolignols first emerge and lead to the start of lignin formation (polymerization). I was approaching this goal with immunolabeling technique for confocal microscopy and Raman spectroscopy to unravel this initiation site of lignification by using specific monoclonal antibodies for cell wall compounds and comparing the results with the initial lignin deposition sites. To detect the location/distribution of some important polysaccharides and lignin substructure for lignification initiation, monoclonal antibodies i.e. LM10, LM11, LM15, LM24 and antibody Dibenzodioxocin or DBD were applied for confocal microscopy and some monolignol specific spectra were applied for Raman microscopy. The xylan was detected by LM10 in secondary cell wall abundantly and few are in primary cell wall of Norway spruce. The LM11 against arabinoxylan was determined more in primary cell walls but less in secondary cell wall. The location of xyloglucan was identified in the middle lamellae, primary and secondary cell wall of Norway spruce by LM15. The LM24 against glycosylated xyloglucan was found in secondary cell walls, abundantly in cell corners but few in primary cell wall. The primary antibody Dibenzodioxocin or DBD for the lignin substructure revealed that these were present in the mature cells of secondary cell walls (S2 and S3 layers). The lignin substructures DBD were not found in youngest cells where secondary cell walls are absent. The developing xylem of Norway spruce was subjected Raman microscopy and which revealed the locations of cinnamyl alcohol, coniferyl alcohol and coniferyl aldehyde. The cinnamyl alcohol was abundantly found at cell corner and middle lamellae in most developing part of xylem. The coniferyl alcohol was determined only in developing xylem cell corners. The coniferyl aldehyde was observed at cell corners, middle lamella and primary cell walls of developing xylem. The coniferyl aldehyde was located more in mature cells than younger cells. So, the Confocal and Raman microscopy images revealed the possible bindings of monolignols to polysaccharide in young cell corners, cell wall layers and middle lamellae.
  • Levo, Martti (2023)
    Climate change is applying pressures to plant populations, which must adapt or move to retain fitness. A changing climate highlights the need for us to understand the potential that species possess to evolve in addition to any plastic responses. Approaches that allow the study of contemporary evolution, such as resurrection studies, have the capacity to provide insights into the responses of populations to these changes. In this resurrection experiment, seeds from seven populations of Hypericum perforatum collected from the UK and France, and their historic counterparts, were grown and subjected to four temperature treatments. Three traits were measured and compared between historic and contemporary populations: date of flowering, average seed weight and flower abundance. I found that temperature influenced date of flowering and flower abundance, leading to an overall earlier flowering time and an overall decrease in flower abundance with increase in temperature. The only significant difference between historic and contemporary populations was found in flower abundance - where, whilst flower abundance declined with increasing temperature, contemporary populations produced proportionally more flowers than historic populations per degree of temperature increase. These results suggest that plasticity allows this species to adjust its flowering phenology to retain fitness in warmer conditions but that evolution during the past decades may have selected for a decreased flower abundance at higher temperatures. These findings contribute to our overall understanding of how species have and will react under climate change, as we try to disentangle the roles that plasticity and evolution play in enabling populations to retain fitness under changing conditions.
  • Peltola, Aino (2021)
    Kurtturuusu (Rosa rugosa) on haitallinen vieraslaji Suomessa. Se on levinnyt alkuperäisiltä esiintymisalueiltaan Koillis-Aasiasta Itämeren ja Pohjanmeren rannikolle sekä Pohjois-Amerikan koillisosiin. Se uhkaa luonnon monimuotoisuutta erityisesti merenrannoilla. Suomessa kaikki hiekkarantojen ja dyynien luontotyypit ovat uhanalaisia ja kurtturuusu vaikuttaa erityisesti niiden ekosysteemeihin muodostamalla suuria tiheitä kasvustoja. Kurtturuusukasvustossa muut lajit vähenevät. Vieraslajilain nojalla kurtturuusun kasvattaminen on kielletty, mutta kasvatuskielto astuu voimaan vasta siirtymäajan jälkeen 1.6.2022. Kurtturuusu on suosittu koristepensas. Siitä on myös jalostettu uusia lajikkeita. Niiden kasvatusta kielto ei koske, koska niiden lisääntymiskyvyn on ajateltu olevan heikko. Tutkimuksen tavoitteena oli selvittää kurtturuusun levinneisyyttä Espoon rannoilla sekä tutkia sen lisääntymiskykyä. Tutkimuksessa kartoitettiin Espoon merenrantoja järjestelmällisesti maastossa havainnoiden ja etsittiin niiltä kurtturuusua. Kasvustojen ominaisuuksia tutkittiin ja selvitettiin morfologisten tuntomerkkien avulla, ovatko ne kurtturuusun perusmuotoa vai jotakin jalostettua lajiketta. Kasvustoista valittiin osa tarkempaa siementutkimusta varten. Siementen elinkykyä tutkittiin tetrazoliumtestin avulla ja kelluntakykyä vesiastioissa. Siementutkimuksessa selvitettiin, eroaako kurtturuusun perusmuodon ja jalostettujen lajikkeiden siementuotto tai siementen elinkyky toisistaan ja kuinka hyvin pähkylät kelluvat. Tilastollisina menetelminä käytettiin varianssianalyysiä ja t-testiä. Kurtturuusua kasvoi Espoon rannoilla runsaasti monenlaisilla kasvupaikoilla sekä istutettuna että villiytyneenä. Mantereella sitä oli enemmän kuin saaristossa. Villiytyneenä tai mahdollisesti villiytyneenä kasvoi vain muutamia kasvustoja jalostettuja kurtturuusulajikkeita. Istutettuina niitä oli enemmän. Kurtturuusun siementuotto vaikuttaa olevan suurempi perusmuodolla kuin jalostetuilla lajikkeilla. Perusmuoto tuotti myös keskimäärin enemmän elinkykyisiä siemeniä. Hajonta molemmissa ryhmissä oli kuitenkin suurta. Osa jalostetuista lajikkeita tuotti melko runsaastikin elinkykyisiä siemeniä, toiset taas hyvin vähän. Kurtturuusun pähkylät kelluivat hyvin. Tulokset tukevat käsitystä siitä, että jalostetut kurtturuusulajikkeet eivät olisi yhtä haitallisia kuin perusmuoto. Sekä perusmuodon että jalostettujen lajikkeiden siementuoton ja elinkyvyn hajonta oli kuitenkin suurta. Eri lajikkeiden eroja olisikin tarpeen selvittää järjestelmällisesti. Kurtturuusulla on hyvät edellytykset levitä veden välityksellä uusille kasvupaikoille, koska se kasvaa rannoilla ja sen siementen kelluntakyky on hyvä. Kurtturuusun kartoitus Espoossa auttaa sen torjunnan suunnittelussa myös muissa kaupungeissa.
  • Vallinkivi, Linda (2022)
    Maisterintutkielman tarkoituksena oli selvittää, mitä talvivihreitä puutarhakasveja Suomessa kasvaa puutarhoissa, ovatko talvivihreät puutarhakasvit ihmisille tärkeitä ja minkälaisia talvivaurioita ihmiset ovat talvivihreillä kasveillaan havainneet. Ilmastonmuutos muuttaa talvet Suomessa vähälumisemmiksi ja pimeämmiksi, ja talvi voi siten tuntua harmaammalta. Talvivihreiden kasvien merkitys ihmisille voi korostua tulevaisuudessa, sillä talvivihreys lisää kasvin koristearvoa ja on erityisen tärkeää pimeänä ja harmaana talvikautena, kun muissa kasveissa ei ole lehtiä. Ilmastonmuutoksen myötä myös talvivihreillä kasveilla havaituissa talvivaurioissa voi tapahtua muutoksia. Tutkimuksen aineisto kerättiin internetissä olleella kyselytutkimuksella. Tietoa kyselystä jaettiin sosiaalisessa mediassa. Kysely kohdennettiin puutarhasta kiinnostuneille ihmisille, ja kysely oli avoinna vastauksille noin kolme viikkoa loka - marraskuussa 2021. Kyselyyn saatiin 154 vastausta eri puolilta Suomea. Vastaukset jaettiin puutarhakasvien kasvuvyöhykkeiden mukaan ja eri kasvuvyöhykkeiden tuloksia verrattiin keskenään. Kyselytutkimuksen tuloksista selvisi, että talvivihreät puutarhakasvit ovat ihmisille tärkeitä, ja erityisesti vähälumisilla alueilla talvivihreät kasvit koetaan todella tärkeiksi. Talvivihreiden kasvien lajimäärä oli tutkimuksessa kaikilla alueilla lähes sama, ja kaikilla alueilla ilmitalvehtijoiden lajimäärä oli suurin muihin kasvien elomuotoihin verrattuna. Tutkimuksen mukaan suosituimpia talvivihreitä puutarhakasveja ovat tuijat, alppiruusut ja maksaruohot. Kaikista talvivaurioista eniten on havaittu lehtien osittaista ruskettumista ja lumen painon aiheuttamia vaurioita. Eniten talvivaurioita on havaittu juuri tuijilla ja alppiruusuilla, joten havaittujen vaurioiden suuri määrä voi liittyä lajien yleisyyteen. Tutkimuksen mukaan kuitenkaan lumen määrä ei vaikuttanut talvivihreillä kasveilla havaittujen talvivaurioiden määrään.
  • Tirkkonen, Paulina (2022)
    Gravity has a modifying effect on plant architecture. The phytohormone auxin is known to transmit the signal of gravity perception from gravity-sensing cells to responsive tissues and cause an asymmetric growth response in the receiving organs. Intercellular auxin flux is mediated by many different transporter proteins, of which PIN-FORMED 3 (PIN3) is known to function as an auxin efflux carrier in gravitropic responses. The expression of PIN3 is known to locate in one cell layer of the shoot endodermis in herbaceous plant species and Populus hybrids. The objective of this study was to determine the location of PIN3 ortholog expression using silver birch (Betula pendula) as a model plant of a woody plant species. Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58 strain GV3101 (pMP90), harbouring binary vector pBpPIN3-erVEN-nosT2 containing erVenus (erVEN-YFP) as a marker gene under the BpPIN3 promoter and terminator nosT2, was used in the study to detect the gene expression. The expression vector was constructed by the Gateway® cloning method and transformed into in vitro shoot explants of silver birch by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation (AMT). In the study, transgenic lines were generated successfully, from which the fluorescence of erVEN was observed in the cross-section of the shoot with a fluorescence stereo microscope. The transgenicity of putative transgenic lines was confirmed by PCR of erVEN. BpPIN3 was likely to be expressed to endodermal tissue in the shoots of silver birch. This study can be considered as a screening step for the localization of BpPIN3 expression. The study facilitates the discovery of factors related to the regulation of PIN3 in tropic responses in woody plant species. This information can in the future be utilized in plant breeding to optimize plant architecture.
  • Lindholm, Viivi (2022)
    Environmental factors are important tools in constructing methane flux models and estimations. Among the abiotic factors, plants and their functional groups have been noted to have significant effect on methane fluxes for three reasons. First, the vegetation community compositions express their abiotic environmental factors that affect not only the plants, but also local methanogen and methanotroph communities. Second, the vegetation itself might produce methane emissions and have a direct effect on methane balance. Third, the plant functional groups and species have differences in their chemical and physical properties that support different methanogen communities and therefore have an indirect impact on methane fluxes. In this study, methane fluxes of different plant communities were observed during one growing season in northern boreal catchment area in Muonio. Study focuses to determine the link between methane fluxes and abiotic and biotic environmental factors in different vegetation types. Closed chamber technique was used to measure methane and carbon dioxide fluxes from 23 plots every two weeks in period of June-August. Environmental data, such as moisture, temperature species composition etc. were collected from the plots. Vegetation types for each plot were determined via ordination analysis. Linear mixed-effects regression model and generalized additive model were applied and compared to observe the relationships of methane and environmental factors in different vegetation types. Dataset was divided into four vegetation types in clustering analysis: wet fen, pine bog, spruce swamp and forest. The greatest amount (average 5959 µg/m²/h) and biggest range (standard deviation 5285 µg/m²/h) of methane emissions were observed on wettest fen-like study sites. Peatland types in general acted as net methane sources. The driest, forest-like vegetation type acted as a net methane sink. The amount (average -107 µg/m²/h) and range (standard deviation 117 µg/m²/h) of methane fluxes were very moderate in comparison to peatland types. These effects intensified towards the climax of growing season. The most significant environmental factors were mostly abiotic on driest study sites and the whole plant biomass was more significant biotic methane flux regulating factor than plant functional groups. On wetter study sites, the role of abiotic factors decreased, and plant functional group increased. Graminoids were linked to bigger methane emissions especially on wetter study sites. Forest mosses and different shrub types seemed to have a link with lower methane emissions or methane absorption. The effect of other plant functional groups on methane fluxes varied more, and their role remains unclear. None of the environmental factors could estimate the methane flux alone, and the methane budget seems to be a sum of multiple variables in each vegetation type. The role of plant functional groups varied in different vegetation types and was dependent on surrounding vegetation. More research is needed to get better tools to estimate methane balance and to understand the underlying mechanisms in climate and environmental change.
  • Ilona, Kortelahti (2024)
    Nuclei isolation is a method used e.g. as a part of chromatin structure research. DNA structure can be examined in its 3D form from isolated nuclei because DNA is still wrapped around the histone proteins. Examining the chromatin structure can offer information e.g. about gene expression and how it is regulated. Isolating nuclei from plant cells demand more optimization compared to animal cells because of the cell wall, chloroplasts and secondary metabolites. The presence of organellar DNA can hamper the later DNA analysis. Secondary metabolites can hinder the actual isolation process. Finding the suitable isolation protocol for species of interest may need careful optimization of different aspects. Different species can differ from each other based on the structural and biochemical characteristics and because of this the same protocol may not ensure as good results for them. Different tissue types of the same species may have also differences in their biochemical and structural characteristics. In this thesis work, three different isolation protocols were used for three plant species; Pinus sylvestris, Betula pendula and Arabidopsis thaliana. The purpose of the work was to compare the results from each nuclei isolation protocol. Optimization of isolation protocol for P. sylvestris and B. pendula would help the isolation process for later research. Thesis work was done to get guidance for this optimization. Samples handled with different protocols were different from each other based on the sample concentration (particles/mL) and the average size of isolated particles. Chloroplast contamination was tested with chloroplast specific primers with PCR. None of the samples were free from chloroplasts.
  • Leino, Sara (2023)
    The above-ground surfaces of plants (the phyllosphere) are inhabited by a diverse variety of microbes that interact with the host plant affecting its health and growth. One of the predominant factors influencing the composition and formation of the phyllosphere microbial community is the species and genotype of the plant. In my thesis, I investigated whether three different Rubus species (R. arcticus, R. saxatilis, and R. chamaemorus) form similar phyllosphere microbial communities, and whether the genotype of the host plant has more impact on the community composition than the microbiota that the plants are exposed to. I also tested how different microbiota treatments would affect Rubus plant growth. The experiment was conducted with micropropagated plants of the three aforementioned Rubus species. The plants were treated with different microbiota collected from the leaves of wild plants of the three Rubus species and the growth of the plants was observed. The phyllosphere fungal and bacterial communities of the plants were sequenced from leaf samples and analyzed to inspect the overall diversity and difference of the communities (using Kruskal-Wallis test and PERMANOVA) and to identify possible core microbes within the Rubus species’ phyllosphere communities. I found that Rubus phyllosphere microbiota was dominated by bacteria classes Alphaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria, and fungal classes Eurotiomycetes, Sordariomycetes, Agaricomycetes, and Dothideomycetes. The host plant genotype had more significance on the composition of phyllosphere microbiota than the origin of the microbiota. The different microbiota treatments had no significant effect on the plant leaf growth. My thesis shows how host plant genotype influences the shaping of the phyllosphere communities as well as how transferable the microbial communities are between species from the same genus. Understanding of the phyllosphere microbiota can have potential applications in the promotion of plant health and fitness.
  • Rezola, Uxue (2024)
    The many symbiotic microbes associated with plants can represent the first line of defence against viral pathogens, which can have profound impacts on plant health and productivity. Unfortunately, although countless studies have investigated variations in the composition of microbial communities associated with crops, showing benefits in the plants’ nutrient acquisition, stress tolerance or growth promotion, much less is known about how viruses might affect the composition of the microbiota associated with plants, and especially non-crop plants. Furthermore, we also often lack an understanding of how plant viruses are transmitted across their environment. Addressing these knowledge gaps is bringing us closer to better describe and manage the complex relationships between plant microbiota and viral pathogens in their natural environment. The main objective of my Master’s study is to examine variations in the bacterial community associated with a plant in the agricultural landscape, and to identify potential players in microbial community changes. With this in mind, I chose to work with the ribwort plantain, Plantago lanceolata, because it has a widespread distribution, it is present around cultivars, and there is extensive knowledge of its biology and genetics. Thus, P. lanceolata, represents an excellent system for investigating the causes of variation in the plant-associated microbiota. More precisely, I worked with the P. lanceolata population evolving in the Åland Islands, in Southwestern Finland, which has been the target of long-term ecological and evolutionary metapopulation studies. The population is also known for co-evolving with several viral pathogens, and with diverse Hemiptera insects (plant sucking-insects) that have been suggested as possible vectors of the viruses between plants. I collected P. lanceolata leaves, and insects found on P. lanceolata specimens from 28 habitat patches, or meadows, from five localities across the Åland Islands (Geta, Sund, Lemland, Finström, Eckerö). I extracted DNA from a total of 10 leaves per patch, as well as 60 Hemiptera specimens (of several uncharacterized species). I screened for viral infection in all samples by amplifying the viral loci for reverse transcriptase form Plantago latent caulimovirus (cauV) and the replication associated protein gene from Plantago lanceolata latent virus (PlLV). In parallel, I characterized the bacterial communities associated with each plant and insect through metabarcoding of the highly variable V5-V6 region of the 16S rRNA bacterial gene. My MSc's project shows that bacterial species richness (alpha-diversity metric) and community composition (beta-diversity metric) vary between plant and insects. But that they do not vary between the virus-infected and uninfected plants tested, and neither between geographical locations within the Åland Islands. This is the first study investigating the effects of two virus infections on the microbiota of a common weed from the Åland Islands. It provides preliminary data for the study of how the bacterial microbiota of P. lanceolata might respond to virus infections, and how viruses might be transmitted between individual plants.
  • Lemoine, Gabriela (2024)
    Lichens are symbioses between fungi, photosynthetic algae and other organisms. The fact that several different fungi may occur in the same lichen thallus adds a further dimension to the diversity of these miniature ecosystems. Calicioids are a polyphyletic group of predominantly lichenised fungi which includes many species with stalked ascomata, topped with a persistent spore mass (mazaedium). One such species is Chaenotheca chrysocephala, a relatively common crustose lichen with a wide distribution. The lichenicolous fungus Chaenothecopsis consociata grows on the thallus of C. chrysocephala and is generally considered to be a parasite. This study aims to map the temporal and geographical distribution of C. chrysocephala and C. consociata in Europe in order to find out whether the parasite was present there before the year 1942, when the species was described, and to identify possible patterns which may affect the population dynamics of these two species. This study found that C. consociata was indeed present in Europe before 1942, at least in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Additionally, the percentage of infected C. chrysocephala thalli seems to have increased in Europe since the parasite was first found. The GBIF dataset showed a significant increase in infected C. chrysocephala thalli in northern Europe (N-EU) compared to central-southern Europe (CS-EU). Although the exact reason is unclear, this increase may be related to differences in forest structure across Europe. Firstly, the host lichen seems to prefer Picea and Pinus as its substrate, these being typical trees of needleleaf forests in Europe. Furthermore, the decrease of old-growth forest stands in Sweden and Finland may have reduced suitable habitat for the host, while the concurrent increase of disturbed stands may have favoured the dispersal of the parasite.
  • Vilhonen, Enni (2021)
    Improving land management to mitigate climate change is important, especially in agriculture on soils with high organic content. Many studies have found evidence that increasing diversity can help to improve plant biomass production and soil carbon storage. This is attributed to complementarity which consists of more efficient resource use due to niche differences and facilitative interactions. For the total climate impact, the effect of greenhouse gas emissions from the soil needs to be considered. To find out if adding more species to a grass mixture could have similar benefits in boreal zone grass cultivation in Finland, an experiment was set up with four different species mixtures, and three levels of species richness were established under a nurse crop. It was additionally of interest if these effects can counter the emissions of cultivation on organic soils. Biomass samples were collected both before the nurse crop was removed and at the end of the growing season. Both species richness and Shannon diversity index were considered as explanatory factors. Carbon exchange, divided into respiration and photosynthetic capacity, as well as nitrous oxide and methane fluxes, were monitored monthly. There was no strong evidence that species richness affects biomass or greenhouse gas fluxes during the first year. The effect of species richness on the biomass was clearer when the diversity index was considered. These results were significant when the lowest biomass values were excluded from the analysis, probably because complementary resource use needs enough biomass to have an effect. The differences in carbon flux measurements may be sensitive to timing within the growing season since the results closest to significant were obtained at the start of the season. At the time, the measurement conditions were good and the nurse crop biomass was small enough not to obscure the effects of grass mixture. When it comes to other greenhouse gases, species richness had most impact on early nitrous oxide emissions, while methane flux probably needs significantly more time for any changes to appear. Overall, the effect of species richness needs to be studied over the full grass cultivation cycle to find out the full effect. Based on current results, increasing species richness may be an option when other methods cannot be used to reduce emissions and improve carbon sink of agriculture.
  • Kotilainen, Aino Kaarina (2023)
    Climate change poses an ever-increasing threat on biodiversity as the global mean temperature rises causing changes in weather patterns. Species will have to adapt to the circumstances or follow their climatic niches across space to avoid decline and extinction. Many species are already threatened by extinction due to climate change. Understanding how species are reacting to rising temperatures can help us preserve biodiversity. Genetic adaptation is a long process and takes several generations to occur. A more immediate means to cope with variation is adjusting through phenotypic plasticity, which can help species cope with environmental changes in the short-term. Plasticity can help individuals maintain fitness in different environments and with fluctuating environmental conditions. Flowering phenology is a plastic trait which can have a large impact on reproductive success. Flowering is an important part of a plant’s life cycle as it can produce offspring with new combinations of genes. In this thesis I examine how temperature affects the flowering phenology of Hypericum species and how this thermal plasticity affects fitness. Populations of Hypericum perforatum, H. maculatum and H. montanum from different parts of their distribution across Europe were studied in greenhouse experiments. The plants were grown in four different temperature treatments (16/6°C, 20/10°C, 24/14°C, 28/20°C) and the timing of first flowering was monitored. Seed mass and flower count were recorded and used as measures of fitness. In general, the plants flowered later in the colder temperature treatments. The results differed between species: in H. maculatum the leading-edge populations were less plastic while in H. perforatum differences between areas were negligible. More plastic accessions produced more flowers due to earlier flowering. There was no effect on seed mass. The possible effects of plasticity on overall fitness highlight the need for detailed information on plasticity for predicting species response to climate change.
  • Burg, Skylar (2021)
    In this study, a greenhouse experiment was used to assess if temperature sensitivity, specifically, thermoregulatory plasticity, has a functional role in floral reflectance and pigmentation in a population of P. lanceolata grown in three different temperature treatments, reflecting past, present, and future summer temperatures. Spectrophotometry, surface temperature readings, and near-infrared (NIR) region image analysis were used to identify how the spectral absorbance properties and biochemical makeup of P. lanceolata flowers differed between treatments. Reflectance and phenolic absorbance were both found to be influenced by ambient temperature. However, surface temperature of flower spikes was not affected by growing temperature, reflectance, or phenolic absorbance. The results suggest that Plantago lanceolata may utilize thermoregulatory plasticity in reflectance and phenolic absorbance to adjust to rising temperatures. These findings have important implications in species reactions to climate change and denotes that increased selection on thermal function traits may occur under a future climate scenario of continued warming in temperate and boreal biomes.
  • Williamson, Adam (2024)
    For a better understanding of global climate change we need evidence allowing us to track changes in the environment. Pollen is geologically stable, making it a key option as a potential proxy for tracing historic environmental changes. To quantify past environmental changes, it is necessary to test proxies under today’s climate. The amount of UV-B radiation reaching the surface of the Earth has varied throughout the Earth’s history. These variations are ecologically important because changes in UV-B radiation impact plant regulation, growth, defense, and decomposition. The availability of fossil pollen and spores has resulted in significant interest in the potential of using the relationship between UV-B radiation and the accumulation of phenolic sunscreens as a proxy to trace past changes in UV-B radiation. Fossil pollen from Pinus sylvestris is readily available and proven techniques exist to quantify levels of UV-B absorbing compounds from both fossil and extant pollen. We investigated how levels of UV-B-absorbing compounds in Pinus sylvestris pollen change after strobili developed under UV attenuating filters. Fifteen Pinus sylvestris trees were selected from a seed orchard of trees in Nurmijärvi, Finland. The treatments used were Rosco 226 film – filtering solar UV-A and UV-B light, polyester film – filtering solar UV-B, polyethylene film – acting as a transparent control, and an open control condition with no filter. The filters were installed in April 2022 and 2023 and remained in place each year beyond dehiscence towards the end of May. The pollen was analysed using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. Principal component analyses and linear regression models were used to simplify the multivariate data and then describe the levels of UV-B absorbing compounds in the different treatment groups. A sample of needles from underneath the filters was used to verify the effectiveness of UV treatments across the experimental design by analysing their epidermal flavonol content. Our results found no clear link between UV-B exposure and accumulation of UV-B absorbing compounds in Pinus sylvestris pollen. However, we did find statistically significant differences in concentrations of UV-B absorbing compounds in pollen between the different trees. The needle analyses verified that the experimental design had the potential to affect the biochemistry of these branches by revealing significant differences in relative absorbance by epidermal flavonols due to UV treatment type. Multifactorial drivers affect the concentrations of UV-B-absorbing compounds in plants, and viewing the response of these compounds to a single driver may be an oversimplification complicating their use as a proxy. We argue that methodologies used in previous research have inconsistencies which fail to account for environmental factors that either covary with UV radiation or diverge from it. This may explain why our results go against the trend. Finally, we examine our own research experimental design and suggest improvements and avenues by which this research can move forward.