Suggestions for Thesis Projects

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Supervision: Prof. Dr. Miriam Athmann

Topic Vegetation surveys of grassland in an agroforestry system

Supervisor Prof. Dr. Miriam Athmann, FÖL and Dr. Kathrin Stenchly, GNR

Duration From spring 2024

Work as project or BSc thesis

Location Frankenhausen

Methodology/description Recording of grassland vegetation in the tree strips and reference areas of an agroforestry system with walnut, hazelnut and currant

Sustainable land use - agroforestryproject

Requirements Knowledge of species or high willingness to acquire this knowledge, willingness to work in the field in Frankenhausen

 


Topic

Testing the suitability of high-calorific raw materials produced in a CCU process as fertilizer in organic farming

SupervisorProf. Dr. Miriam Athmann, FÖL, and Dr. Rüdiger Graß, GNR

Duration From spring 2024

Work as project work BSc, preferably in pairs

Location Greenhouse Witzenhausen

Methodology/description Vessel trial, research into the framework conditions for approval + certification

Project Not project-related

Requirements Reliability, diligence, communication skills

 

Topic

Climate protection through mixed crops? Greenhouse gas emissions in mixed crops of medicinal and aromatic plants with wheat

Supervisor Prof. Dr. Miriam Athmann, m.athmann@uni-kassel.de

Duration from spring 2024

Work as project or BSc thesis

Location Frankenhausen

Methodology/description

Greenhouse gas measurements in a trial with coriander and caraway in pure seed and in mixed culture with wheat. Reduced GHG emissions are expected in the mixed crops because, among other things, nitrogen is better utilized and the more active soil life keeps carbon in the soil.

Project TRIO

Requirements Willingness to work in the field, reliability

 

Supervision: Dr. Christian Bruns

Subject
Measurement of N2 fixation of forage legumes in a continuous field trial.

Supervision: Dr. Christian Bruns, Morten Möller

Duration: Spring 2023

Work as MSc thesis

Location: Witzenhausen / Hessian State Domain Frankenhausen

Methodology/ Description
A major goal of the long-term trial on the Frankenhausen domain is to establish meaningful nutrient balances, which form the basis for an assessment of nutrient management in livestock-less organic farms. An important component of the nutrient balances is the N-input through nitrogen fixation by forage and grain legumes. In the past, figures of thumb and formulas have been used to evaluate nitrogen fixation. In the context of a master thesis in 2023, when a forage legume (clover and alfalfa grass) is present in all field trial variants, nitrogen fixation is to be measured and determined using the "Natural 15N Abundance Method" in order to be able to make more precise statements regarding fixation. First information about the method is available at the following link: https://www.aciar.gov.au/sites/default/files/legacy/node/10169/MN136%20Part%204.pdf

Project
Long-term experiment on organic farming at the Hessian State Domain Frankenhausen

Requirements
Willingness to work in the field and to travel to Frankenhausen on official business

Topic
Evaluation and modeling of various soil physical parameters in long-term experiments.

Supervision: Dr. Christian Bruns, Prof. Dr. Tobias Weber (FG Soil Science)

Duration: flexible, start possible by arrangement

Work as MSc thesis

Location: Witzenhausen / Hessian State Domain Frankenhausen

Methodology/ Description
In cooperation with the Department of Soil Science, an extensive sampling campaign for basic soil physical characterization of the long-term experiment was carried out in May 2020. From the available analytical data, a water balance model of the test site is to be created, with which the water and heat balance of the test variants can be simulated as a function of the atmospheric boundary conditions. In order to calibrate the water balance model, the actual soil moisture measured in the field will be compared with that calculated by the model. For this purpose, sensors were installed at three soil depths in each of the four field replicates in the fall of 2020 to continuously measure soil moisture and temperature. As part of a master's thesis, initial models will be created together with the Department of Soil Science and validated with the actual data measured in the field.

Project Long-term experiment on organic farming at the Hessian State Domain Frankenhausen

Requirements Willingness to work in the field and to travel to Frankenhausen on business trips

Topic:
Measurement of soil-borne greenhouse gases and compilation of greenhouse gas balances

Supervision: Dr. Christian Bruns, Morten Möller

Duration: Start possible after delivery of appropriate measurement equipment, 02/2023

Work as a project, Bsc or MSc thesis.

Location: Witzenhausen/ Hessian State Domain Frankenhausen

Methodology/ Description:

Within the framework of the long-term experiment on the Frankenhausen domain, the total respiration of soil and plants is to be surveyed using a closed-chamber method. For this purpose, mobile gas measuring devices suitable for use in the field will be used, which can determine the gas concentration in the air. The following gases can be measured with the help of the measuring devices: CH4, CO2, N2O. The collected data can be used to create greenhouse gas balances, as well as to make statements about the N-efficiency of the farm and fertilizer systems investigated in the long-term trial.

Project: Long-term experiment on organic farming at the Hessian State Domain Frankenhausen.

Requirements: Willingness to work in the field and to travel to Frankenhausen on official business.

Carrying out a spade diagnosis to determine structural properties in a long-term trial

 

Subject:
Structural condition assessment after the first crop rotation in a long-term trial using the spade diagnosis method

Supervision:
Dr. Christian Bruns, Morten Möller

Duration:
Fall 2023

Suitable as BSc, MSc or project work.

Location: Witzenhausen/ Hessian State Domain Frankenhausen

Methodology/ Description:
Conduct spat diagnostics and structural condition assessment as an indicator of soil ecological functioning and fertility.

Project:
Long-term experiment on organic farming at the Hessian State Domain Frankenhausen.

Prerequisites:

Willingness to work in the field and to travel to Frankenhausen on official business.

 

Topic

Undersowing of legume-grass mixtures in winter wheat in Further row: biomass yields and nutrient uptake and N2 fixation in comparison to the standard procedure autumn blank sowing

Supervisor* Dr. Christian Bruns, ch.bruns@uni-kassel.de

Duration From spring 2024

Work as project or BSc thesis

Location Frankenhausen, Beberbeck

Methodology/Description

Recording of biomass growth and N2 fixation of legumes using the difference method.

Project Clover Ace

Requirements Willingness for field work, reliability

Supervision: Dr. Thomas van Elsen

Topic Various topics on the subject of "social agriculture".

Supervision: Dr. Thomas van Elsen

Duration: n. To be agreed

Work as - n. To be agreed upon

Further information

http://www.soziale-landwirtschaft.de/forschung/abschlussarbeiten/themenvorschlaege

Supervision: Wanda Burzik

 

Topic

Root growth in an agroforestry system of pasture and cropland

SupervisorWanda Burzik, wanda.burzik@uni-kassel.de

Duration From autumn 2023

Work as project, BSc or MSc thesis

Location/work site Witzenhausen

Methodology/Description

Quantification of root length densities, diameter class distribution, root mass and root carbon contents differentiated by woody and arable crops (on washed out samples).

Project Sustainable Land Use Systems - Agroforestry

Prerequisites Researcher's urge, a lot of patience and good fine motor skills for root preparation

 

 

Topic    

Root growth in mixed cultures of wheat and medicinal and spice plants (coriander, caraway, fennel)

Supervisor     Wanda Burzik, wanda.burzik[at]uni-kassel[dot]de  

Duration     From spring 2024

Work as     Project, BSc or MSc thesis

Location/working place     Witzenhausen, Hessian State Domain Frankenhausen

Methodology/description   Extraction of cores and evaluation based on photos and washed root samples:  Quantification of root length densities, diameter class distribution, root mass and carbon content differentiated according to wheat and coriander or caraway (on washed samples)

Project   TRIO - Transformative Mixed Crop Systems for One Health 

Requirements     Willingness to take and process samples in the field and/or laboratory, a thirst for research, a lot of patience and good fine motor skills for root processing

Supervision: Dr. Margita Hefner

Topic Soil fertility in the strip-till cultivation method of organic vegetables.

Supervision: Dr. Margita Hefner

Duration: From June 2023

Work as: MSc or project work

Location: Berlin/Witzenhausen

Methodology/Description The strip-till method is a type of conservation tillage. The effects on water holding capacity and on yields of celery and leek are investigated in a field trial at the Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops. As part of an MSc or project thesis, soil samples will be taken and analyzed with regard to biological parameters in the laboratory in Witzenhausen.

Project Bio-Strip Plant https://eip-agri.brandenburg.de/eip-agri/de/projekte/biostripplant-neu/

Requirements Interest in sustainable cultivation systems and willingness to take and prepare samples in the laboratory.

 

Topic

Changing selection criteria in vegetable varieties (example of beans)

Supervision

Dr. Margita Hefner

Dr. Jelena Baćanović-Šišić

Duration

Any time

Work as

BSc- or project work

Location/work site

Witzenhausen

Methodology/Description

The limited availability of vegetable varieties highlights the problem of diversity loss. The LWL Open Air Museum Detmold has a collection of vegetable cultivars with the aim of preserving home and farm varieties. Over the years, different people have selected them for different characteristics. The aim of the work is to use the data on plant cultivation parameters to figure out whether and how the variety changes over time and how it behaves in comparison to existing line varieties.

Requirements

Interest in sustaining and selecting vegetable cultivars

 

Topic Water saving in field vegetable production

Supervision: Dr. Margita Hefner

Duration: From March 2023

Work as: BSc or MSc thesis

Location: Witzenhausen/Frankenhausen

Methodology/Description Research on the suitability of fixed lane (English: Controlled traffic farming) as a water saving vegetable growing system. Investigation of soil parameters, water content and carrot yield in a strip trial (dam vs. raised bed) in Frankenhausen.

Requirements Interest in sustainable cultivation systems and willingness to take and prepare samples in the laboratory.

Topic Intercrops as undersowing in field vegetable production.

Supervision: Dr. Margita Hefner

Duration: From August 2023

Work as: BSc or MSc thesis

Location: Witzenhausen/Frankenhausen

Methodology/Description Research on the establishment of catch crops as undersowing and their efficiency to reduce nitrogen leaching in field vegetable production. In a field trial in Frankenhausen, the culture and sowing time of catch crops will be investigated with regard to their biomass production and effects on the nitrogen content in the soil.

Requirements Interest in winter catch crops and willingness to take and prepare samples in the laboratory.

 

Topic Climate-adapted carrot cultivation

Support Dr. Margita Hefner

Duration From May 2023

Work as BSc or MSc thesis

Location Witzenhausen/Willebadessen

Methodology/Description

On a practical farm Bio-Börde in Willebadessen (https://bio-boerde.de/) an experiment on the reduction of water evaporation in the flat cultivation of carrots takes place. Within the scope of the work, the water content in the soil and the effects on carrot growth will be investigated. For this purpose, measurements will be taken on selected days during the growing season and soil samples will be examined.

Prerequisites Interest in water-saving cultivation systems and willingness to take and prepare samples.

 

Supervision: Dr. Anke Hupe

Topic

Comparison of the root systems of different spring wheat varieties in the field

Supervision: Dr. Anke Hupe

Duration: from May 2023

Work as project or final thesis

Location: Witzenhausen, Friedberg and Bad Hersfeld

Methodology/Description

In a field trial at 2 different locations in Hesse the root system of several wheat varieties will be investigated. The focus is especially on a possible suitability of the wheat as a mixture partner.

Project Project preparation

Requirements

Willingness to supervise the trial, take and prepare samples, reliable work ethic

Topic

Establishment of a method to investigate the germination capacity of herbs

Supervision: Dr. Anke Hupe

Duration: from May 2023

Work as project or final thesis

Location: Witzenhausen

Methodology/Description

Common germination tests are often associated with strong difficulties and inaccuracies in herb cultivation. Therefore, the aim of the work is to develop a method in cooperation with the JKI and Bingenheimer, with the help of which reliable statements on the germination capacity of herb seeds can be made.

Project Project preparation

Requirements Willingness to supervise experiments, sample collection and preparation, reliable working methods

Topic Comparison of the root systems of different spring wheat varieties in rhizoboxes.

Supervision: Dr. Anke Hupe

Duration: from May 2023

Work as project or final thesis

Location: Witzenhausen, IPK Gatersleben

Methodology/Description

Together with the IPK Gatersleben the root system of different spring wheat varieties will be investigated in so called rhizoboxes. These boxes allow more precise statements on root mass, root length, fine roots, etc.. The different varieties will be investigated with regard to their suitability as mixture partners.

Project Preparation

Requirements

Willingness to supervise experiments, take and prepare samples, reliable working methods

Topic Comparison of the root systems of different coriander and caraway cultivars in rhizoboxes

Supervision: Dr. Anke Hupe

Duration: from May 2023

Work as project or final thesis

Location: Witzenhausen, IPK Gatersleben

Methodology/Description

Together with the IPK Gatersleben the root system of different coriander and caraway cultivars will be investigated in so called rhizoboxes. These boxes allow more precise statements on root mass, root length, fine roots, etc.. The different varieties will be investigated with regard to their suitability as mixture partners.

Project Preparation

Requirements

Willingness to supervise experiments, take and prepare samples, reliable working methods

Topic Influence of different nitrogen fertilization rates on the development of coriander and caraway.

Supervision: Dr. Anke Hupe

Duration: from May 2023

Work as project or final thesis

Location: Witzenhausen

Methodology/Description

Coriander and caraway have a low nitrogen requirement. However, due to the cultivation in a mixture, an additional N fertilization may be necessary. Therefore, the influence of different N fertilization rates on growth, root system, yield and ingredients will be investigated in a container trial.

Project Project preparation

Requirements

Willingness to supervise the experiment, sample collection and preparation, reliable work ethic

Topic Influence of intercropping and tillage on nitrous oxide emissions Supervision: Dr. Anke Hupe

Duration: from October 2023

Work as project or final thesis

Location: Frankenhausen domain

Methodology/Description

In a trial on the Frankenhausen domain, different catch crop mixtures (freezing/winter-hardy) are cultivated and turned over in different ways. The resulting nitrous oxide emissions are to be quantified.

Project Practical research network Hesse

Requirements

Willingness to supervise experiments, take and prepare samples, reliable work ethic

Topic Influence of intercropping on crop nitrogen rhizodeposition.

Supervision: Dr. Anke Hupe

Duration: from October 2023

Work as project or final thesis

Location: Frankenhausen domain

Methodology/Description

In a trial on the Frankenhausen domain, different catch crop mixtures (freezing/winter-hardy) are cultivated and turned over in different ways. The aim of the project is to trace the path of nitrogen in the soil-plant system. For this purpose the plants are marked with the stable isotope 15N to determine the rhizodeposition.

Project Practical Research Network Hesse

Requirements

Willingness to supervise experiments, sample collection and preparation, reliable work ethic

 

Supervision: Johanna Hoppe

Supervision: Hanna Blum

Topic
Varietal suitability of spring poppy: Testing of different spring poppy varieties at the Frankenhausen site and on practical farms

Supervision: Hanna Blum

Duration: from March/April 2024

Work as final thesis

Location: Domain Frankenhausen and practice locations in Hesse and Thuringia

Methodology/description

Development of agronomic key figures on various spring poppy varieties, documentation of plant development, variety expression, yield and seed quality

Project: Poppy poppy

Prerequisites

Willingness to supervise trials, take and prepare samples, reliable working methods

Topic
Europe researches the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants!

Supervision: Hanna Blum

Duration: from May 2024

Work as project work

Location: Witzenhausen

Methodology/description

EIP-Agri projects offer exciting innovations for agriculture throughout Europe. From Eastern Germany to Spain, project networks from practice and research are addressing aspects of medicinal and aromatic plant cultivation. Research, interviews and a database analysis will be used to identify, survey and network these research networks. Furthermore, relevant topics for medicinal and aromatic plant cultivation in Hesse are to be identified.

Project: Mohnopoly, in cooperation with Ökoplant e.V.

Prerequisites: Willingness to do research work, contact with foreign research institutions, very good knowledge of English, openness and interest in exchange.

Topic
Testing different sage varieties in practical cultivation

Supervision: Hanna Blum

Duration: from April 2024

Work as final thesis

Location: Walsegarten farm, Thuringia

Methodology/Description

Sage(Salvia officinalis) is an important medicinal and tea plant. Only a very limited range of varieties is available to growers. Two new varieties from Switzerland could be of great interest for domestic cultivation and are to be tested in an exact trial on the Demeter farm Walsegarten. In order to evaluate the agronomic characteristics, a scoring catalog is to be developed, which can be used to record the variety-specific characteristics.

Project: in cooperation with Ökoplant e.V.

Requirements:

Willingness to supervise the trial, take and prepare samples, reliable working methods, ability to travel to the Walsegarten farm and carry out data collection there in cooperation with the farm manager.

Topic
From big bags to tea bags - packaging tea herbs

Supervision: Hanna Blum

Duration: from August 2024

Work as project work

Location: Witzenhausen

Methodology/description

The packaging of tea herbs ranges from storage packaging to end consumer packaging in tea bags. It is characterized by a wide variety of packaging materials, loss of aroma, high work and cost expenditure. Using the example of fennel-caraway aniseed tea, the packaging process is to be documented and analyzed. Potential savings are to be identified and innovative packaging tested.

Project: TRIO

Prerequisites

Willingness to carry out research, contact with growers and processing companies and to work in a creative and interdisciplinary manner.

Topic
Testing of a newly developed flower-picking device for marigolds

Supervision:Hanna Blum

Duration: from July 2024

Work as project work or final project

Location: Frankenhausen, possibly practical operation

Methodology/description

The Ökoplant association is developing a plot flower picking device with which high-quality raw flower material can be harvested for pharmaceutical production. Both the development and the test phase of the device can be accompanied as part of a final thesis. This includes
- Researching the current status of flower picking machines
- Test runs to document initial key figures on picking performance and picking quality
- Developing a data acquisition scheme for the test runs.
- Derivation of optimization requirements

Prerequisites

Interest in agricultural engineering issues, willingness to carry out research, contact with growers and processing companies and willingness to work creatively and in an interdisciplinary manner

Topic
Current evaluation of the current range of varieties of medicinal and aromatic plants using selected crops

Supervision:Hanna Blum

Duration: immediately

Work as project work or thesis

Location: Witzenhausen

Methodology/Description

Efficient varieties and good seed quality are decisive production factors for the successful cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants and the production of high-quality raw materials.

The cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants is characterized by:
-     A small number of approved/protected varieties at national or European level.
-     Lack of overviews of the current availability of varieties.
-     Outdated key figures on the characteristics of the varieties.

However, in order to further develop our cultivation systems, growers need information on the available varieties. As part of the work, varieties available on the market for different crops are researched, trial data is evaluated, growers are asked about their experiences with varieties and, if necessary, a variety survey is carried out.

Prerequisites

Willingness to carry out research, contact with growers and processing companies, willingness to work creatively and interdisciplinarily, interest in breeding issues, interest in practical trial work.
In cooperation with Ökoplant e.V.

Topic
Mulch cultivation of marigold

Care: Hanna Blum

Duration: as of now

Work as project work or final project

Location: Frankenhausen

Methodology/description
Based on the project Bio-Klima-Gemüse ( www.uni-kassel.de/fb11agrar/fachgebiete-/-einrichtungen/oekologischer-land-und-pflanzenbau/forschung/laufende-projekte/nachwuchsgruppe-wassersparender-bio-gemuesebau-entlang-der-wertschoepfungskette-in-nordhessen-bio-klima-gemuese-2024-2026), the cultivation of marigold is to be cultivated in a transfer mulch system. For this purpose, a trial will be set up on the Frankenhausen domain and supervised from planting to analysis of the ingredients. Special focus is placed on the flower yield and the formation of therapeutically relevant ingredients of the marigold flower.

Requirements
Willingness to supervise trials, take and prepare samples, reliable working methods, interest in exchanging ideas with other researchers and practical farms
In cooperation with Ökoplant e.V: