Final theses

The Borsch group and also the Botanical Garden / Botanical Museum (BGBM) continuously offer a variety of opportunities for research internships and final theses. Here is a selection of some currently open topics that are part of our ongoing research projects.

Collapse allExpand all

Phylogenetische Analyse der Evolution von Genomgrößen bei epiphytischen Kakteen

Die Evolution der Genomgrößen erfährt aktuell enorme Aufmerksamkeit durch immer mehr verfügbare Daten über die gesamte Pflanzendiversität hinweg. Die Messung von Genomgrößen (2C-DNA) kann als Annäherung an den Ploidiegrad eines Organismus verwendet werden und ist damit eine schnelle Methode um Polyploidisierung und Hybridisierung von Arten abzuschätzen. Beide Prozesse, Hybridisierung und Polyploidisierung, werden als Artbildungsprozesse bei den Kakteen diskutiert, aber es mangelt bislang an ausreichend Daten. Diese Lücke soll für epiphytische Kakteen geschlossen werden, indem ein teils komplett neuer 2C-DNA Datensatz erstellt wird. Die erhobenen Daten sollen in einem phylogenetischen Kontext analysiert und in Hinblick auf Artbildungsprozesse diskutiert werden.

  • Methoden: Durchflusszytometrie (FCM), Chromosomenzählung / Mikroskopie, phylogenetische Analysen und Merkmalsevolution

Email

Direct link

Transfer of microsatellite primers and charakterisation of nuclear loci in congeneric species

Nuclear microsatellite loci are used for assessing genetic diversity within species. They thus play a major role in the analysis of populations of threatened species for the development of scientifically founded protection strategies. Here we will test the transferability of primers for microsatellites from other species within the same genus to a threatened species. 

Proposal 1: Calligonum bakuense (Polygonaceae) is a shrub endemic to the Absheron-peninsula in Azerbaijan, where it is threatened by industrial activities.

Proposal 2: Gleditsia caspica (Fabaceae) is an endemic tree from the coastal region of the Caspian Sea (Iran, Azerbaijan) threatened by hybridization with a close relative from America.

  • Methods: Plant DNA extraction, gel-electrophoresis, PCR, DNA-sequencing / fragment analysis, analysis of population genetic data

Email

Direct link

Overall phylogenetic analysis of the genus Scutellaria (Lamiaceae)

Scutellaria is one of the large genera (approx. 300-400 species) showing a nearly worldwide distribution, and high diversity of species in the East-Mediterranean, the Caucasus and other regions. An overall phylogeny is needed as a basis to illuminate biogeographical patterns but also to delimit monophyletic species groups that can then be subjected to a detailed species-level taxonomic analysis. The project will focus at extending an existing sequence data set to achieve a more representative taxon sampling, thereby generating the first molecular phylogenetic tree for the genus.

  • methods: Sanger sequencing, phylogenetic analysis, plant taxonomy
  • please contact: Prof. Thomas Borsch

Email

Direct link

Chloroplast phylogenomics of Pyrus (Rosaceae)

The genus Pyrus (pears) is a group of deciduous trees and shrubs in temperate Eurasia and Northern Africa with high economical value but also urgent conservation needs (crop-wild relatives). The aim of this project is to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships of wild species of Pyrus using complete plastid genomes. Specifically, in the course of the Masters Project plastid genome sequences of a number of different samples will be newly generated. After alignment with already available genomes, phylogenetic trees will be reconstructed. In the longer term well-supported phylogenies will be used to analyse the orgin of species diversity in Pyrus, with a particular focus on the Caucasus ecoregion.

  • Methods: Next-generation sequencing techniques, bioinformatic data analysis (assembly, annotation), phylogenetic analysis.

Email

Direct link

Genome sequencing for the development of population genetic markers in bellflowers (Campanula Sect. Scapiflorae)

The bellflowers constitute one of the most species-rich genera of the temperate flora. Their evolution and systematics is currently studied in a series of complementary projects (see www.bgbm.org/de/forschungsprojekteasterales). The Campanula Sect. Scapiflorae has been discovered as a high mountain clade of the Caucasus, but species circumscriptions and the distribution of genetic diversity below the species level are largely unclear. The aim of this project is to develop a set of polymorphic nuclear microsatellite markers for the entire clade that can be used to resolve such questions.

Email

Direct link