If you discover that another academic has written a thesis on a topic similar to your own, don't stress out. Carefully read the material to gain an understanding of what it is that the prior thesis has accomplished and consider ways your thesis might further develop the topic or might approach the topic from a totally different perspective. You are likely to find that the former thesis is not the same as the one you are considering after all. To be sure, show the competing thesis to your advisor; he or she can give you indispensable advice. If you discover that another graduate student is writing a thesis on the same topic you've chosen, you could also consider contacting that author to get an even better idea of whether your ideas overlap. (Be careful not to give away too much of your own thinking on the topic as you conduct this discussion.)
Reconstructing environmental history from riparian wood traits as a tool for riparian forest management
Supervisor : Patricia Maria Rodríguez-González / Maria Teresa Ferreira, Filipe Campelo - ISA
In this study we plan to reconstruct the effects of different management options on the functional responses on the most common riparian trees occurring in South-western Europe/Portugal. The study includes to identify long-term environmental signals from wood traits, and to relate them with climatic, hydrologic and geomorphologic variables across contrasting managed river habitats using a combination of tools including dendrochronology, image analysis and statistical modelling. This theme will provide the student a knowledge base in riparian forests ecology and management in the context of current environmental and land use management trends, while applying laboratory and statistical modelling methods (image analysis, time series analysis). The study is integrated in an ongoing larger project addressing wetland and riparian ecosystems vulnerability to global changes, so the expected results will be integrated with findings from the main project to propose (a) criteria to identify potential future areas most at risk across the distribution area of the target species (b) management guidelines for priority riparian forests in future scenarios of climatic and anthropogenic change.
The second way one uses the word "thesis" is in reference to a major paper that one writes as a capstone for his or her bachelor's or master's degree. Whereas term papers are projects that last one term, theses are projects that last several terms. Theses are usually much, much longer than term papers, often stretching past two hundred pages. Perhaps counterintuitively, however, theses often cover much more specialized topics than term papers. For example, one may write a term paper on Herman Melville for a literature survey course, but one would be much more likely to write a thesis on homosexual symbolism in Herman Melville's Moby Dick or on some other extremely specific aspect of one of Melville's novels. In fact, one could write an entire thesis on a single paragraph of Moby Dick . The goal of a thesis is to expound fully one's opinion on a given subject and to confront and exhaust all the opposition to that opinion. Therefore, one usually specializes his or her thesis topic almost to the point of absurdity.