Eesti Maaülikool (the Estonian University of Life Sciences) in Tartu (Estonia), Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

The Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is responsible for research and education development in plant cultivation and plant biology, horticulture, plant health, soil science and agrochemistry, landscape ecology and management, landscape architecture, biological diversity and applied hydrobiology in Estonia (for more information see here).

The main partners at the project are the Department of Soil Science and Agrochemistry and the Department of Plant Physiology.

Department of Soil Science and Agrochemistry

The mission of the Department of Soil Science and Agrochemistry is to provide academic education and research in soil science and its sub-disciplines; to advance basic understanding and practical management of soils in natural and agricultural ecosystems and disseminate knowledge about sustainable use of soil resources.

The main areas of research and studies are:

  • soil properties, productivity and fertility
  • sustainable use of soil resources
  • soil organic carbon, humus status of soils, biochemically active organic compounds in soils
  • soil degradation (compaction)
  • nutrient cycles and plant nutrition: nutrients in plant-soil environment systems, efficiency of fertilization, balanced fertilization
  • classification and evaluation of soils
  • soil information systems, digital soil maps, pedoecological models for land use planning
  • rational land use, development of spatial agro-economic decision support system

There is available well equipped soil laboratory with different opportunities and several long-term field experiments are running in cooperation with other departments.

Within the frame of these research areas, it would be possible to specify some narrower topics for research projects / theses.

Department of Plant Physiology

The Department of Plant Physiology is the most international department at our University. The department is responsible for research and studies (mainly PhD) in plant physiology, and also acts as the leading institution in the Centre of Excellence in Environmental Adaptation (ENVIRON). It is also involved in establishing the Station for Measuring Ecosystem-Atmosphere Relations (SMEAR Estonia).

The key research areas of the department are plant response to biotic and abiotic stresses, and emission of plant-generated biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOC). Global change leads to simultaneous modification of multiple environmental drivers and is expected to result in enhanced frequency and severity of environmental and biotic stresses, and stress interactions worldwide. Interdisciplinary experimental, monitoring and modelling approaches are used to analyse stress effects at the molecular, physiological, whole plant and ecosystem levels. Data obtained from these efforts will be used to determine the limits of adaptation to multiple sequential and interacting stresses and to develop new knowledge and models of BVOC dynamics under changing climatic conditions.

The main areas of research and studies are:

  • plant physiology and anatomy
  • plant stress ecophysiology
  • modelling of biosphere-atmosphere processes
  • biotechnology and genetics
  • molecular biology

During the last few years the lab has become one of the best equipped plant physiology laboratories in Europe. For more possibilities see here.

Within the frame of these research areas, it would be possible to specify some narrower topics for research projects / theses.

Below you can find a list of possible topics for research projects / theses:

In the field of Soil Science:

  • Effect of biochar use on soil properties/ eartworms
  • Modelling of changes of organic carbon in agricultural soils with different models
  • Use of biodegradable waste composts as fertilizers
  • Soil: changes in organic matter and indicators
  • Changes of peat quality under peat excavation
  • Human impact on soil phosphorus content
  • Effect of organic fertilizers on soil chemical properties in long term field experiment
  • Fertilization/plant cover effect on soil structural stability
  • Changes of soil water content depending on management and weather conditions
  • Soil management effect on soil properties
  • Changes in soil physical/chemical/biological properties under conventional and organic farming

For further questions please contact Endla Reintam (Associate professor, director of studies)

In the field of Plant Physiology:

  • Reconstructing plant structure-function relationships in paleoenvironment.
  • Evolution of  photosynthesis limitations.
  • Induction of plant biogenic volatile organic compounds emission by biotic and abiotic stresses and consequences for plants and air quality
  • Biotic or abiotic stress induced gene expression patterns in plants

For further questions please contact Tiina Tosens (Associate professor)



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