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We are looking for a master's student for the thesis "Impact of grazing by ungulates and acorn infestation on the survival of cork oak seedlings".

Topic: Impact of grazing by ungulates and acorn infestation on the survival of cork oak seedlings
Supervisors: Pedro Gonçalves Vaz, Manuela Branco, and Miguel Bugalho
Contact: pjgvaz@isa.ulisboa.pt

Background and objectives:
The compatibility of cork oak regeneration with grazing is an important challenge for the management of montados. Rotation or exclusion of grazing are among the possible management measures. These measures generate spatial heterogeneity with little studied consequences for acorn germination and regeneration in cork oak montados, a species classified as the Portuguese national tree.
The objective of this work is to investigate the impact of spatial-temporal variation of grazing by cattle on the quality of acorns, expressed by their degree of infestation, and on the performance of cork oak seedlings.
The student will benefit from an experimental design that captures different ages and grazing pressures, as well as different micro-environmental conditions, to evaluate the effect of these parameters on the regeneration of cork oak montados. The fieldwork will take place at Companhia das Lezírias, a property located approximately 50 km from Lisbon, starting from September. The initial part of the work consists in the rapid quantification of acorns in the field and laboratory determination of their degree of infestation. A second part of the work, to take place in November, will consist in the implementation in the field of an acorn germination experiment and subsequent monitoring of the survival of the germinated seedlings.

Place: Companhia das Lezírias and School of Agriculture
Duration: September 2021 to May 2022.

Monday, 01 February 2021