Københavns Universitet
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Athina Koutouleas, IGN, defends her thesis at Forest, Nature and Biomass

Ph.d.-forsvar — Athina Koutouleas on 28 April 2023


Date & Time:

Auditorium Von Langen, Department of Geoscience and Nature Resource Management, Baghuset, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg

Hosted by:
Section of Forest, Nature and Biomass


PhD thesis defense – Athina Koutouleas 28 April

Athina Koutouleas defends her thesis,

Genotype-environment interactions of Coffea arabica
under shaded systems

Associate Professor Anders Ræbild
Professor Erik Dahl Kjær

Assessment committee:
Associate Professor Dan Bruhn, Aalborg University, Denmark
Head of Research Team Jacques Avelino, CIRAD, France
Senior Scientist Lars Holger Schmidt (Chair), IGN, Denmark

This thesis work is centred around the coffee crop (Coffea arabica) and the shaded environment in which it originated within. Given its center of origin, in an Afromontane forest, an inherent shade-adaptation is assumed to accompany the genetic resources of modern-day C. arabica cultivars. Based on this assumption, the systematic reviews, meta-analysis, and experimental work presented in this thesis have formed an in-depth analysis of the agronomic and eco-physiological performances of C. arabica under shaded environments, specific to commercial cultivars and hybrids.
Within naturally shaded environments, comes a diverse range of plant and tree species which may hamper or worsen the onset and severity of coffee pests and/or diseases. Be it through direct interactions (e.g., with alternate plant hosts) or indirect links to microclimate modifications or natural enemy predation, shade effects can have staggering effects on coffee productivity and overall plant health.
The purpose of this present work was to elucidate various shade effects on C. arabica. To cover this broad scope, research has been divided into three parts 1) coffee under AFS compared to full sun cultivation, 2) agronomic variation to shade at the C. arabica cultivar level and combined with interspecific grafting (as a disease management tool), and 3) interactions under shaded environments with major coffee pests and diseases (particularly concerning coffee leaf rust – CLR). It is my great hope that this body of work can contribute to towards a shift in coffee production utilising sustainable practices for the people who cultivate it and the surrounding environment.

A digital version of the PhD thesis ca be obtained from the PhD secretary Anne Marie Faldt at anmf@ign.ku.dk up until the time of the defence.