Aquatic Ecology Teaching

PhD, Master-, Bachelor-, State Exams and internships

Welcome to the aquatic ecology research! We offer PhD, Master-, Bachelor-, and State Exam theses in a vibrant research group with a friendly atmosphere. If you are interested please contact us or the colleagues listed below. Also have a look at the german version of this page.

PhD theses

PhD Presently no PhD thesis available

Master-, Bachelor-, State Exam theses

Bachelor/Master Instream temperature effect of shading from riparian trees in an European dataset

Topic: Ecology, Biology, Hydromorphology, Modelling, GIS

Description: Riparian trees lining streams and rivers are considered beneficial to the aquatic environment and thus their promotion is a frequent restoration measure to attain and maintain a good ecological status. One important functional link between aquatic conditions and riparian trees is the cooling effect through shading, a mechanism which might prove even more crucial considering global trends in temperature.

In this thesis topic we provide an existing high resolution dataset on temperature measurements in small study streams from Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. The dataset will be analysed to quantify the effect of shading by woody riparian vegetation on water temperature, depending on additional factors like air temperature, cloudiness. These results are highly relevant for river management, especially in the light of temperature increase due to climate change. The thesis candidate will have to (i) compile additional meteorological data from weather stations, (ii) compile and analyse orthophotos from national agencies to quantify woody riparian vegetation along the study streams (remote sensing), (iii) join these information to the study streams in GIS to to complete a comprehensive dataset with very high temporal as well as spatial resolution. Then multivariate statistics will a applied to quantify the effect of shading by woody riparian vegetation on water temperature.

We seek a highly motivated candidate with some computational skills and willingness to expand the knowlege in GIS and statistics. We offer insights and training in applications of relevant software for remote sensing, GIS and statistical analyses. Alongside we support the candidate during the analysis and writing. The water temperature dataset is rather unique and the thesis clearly has the potential to finally lead to a scientifc publication.

Methods/Data: GIS, Remote sensing, Multivariate statistics, Data acquisition

Start: February – April 2020

KontaktM. PaltDr. J. Kail

Bachelor/Master The removal of Elodea nuttallii (Planch.) and effects on macro-invertebrates communities

Submerged aquatic macrophytes can promote ecosystem functioning and provide ecosystem services. However, they can also cause problems if large abundance of a single species (nuisance species) outcompetes multiple others. Besides to effect of reducing space for other species, this nuisance species can also cause adverse effects on recreational activities. In Lake Baldeneye (Baldeneysee) located in here in Essen the mono-specific growth of the nuisance species Elodea nuttallii (Planch.) (Schmalblättrige Wasserpest) hampers boating activities and can supress the occurrence of other species.

The Ruhrverband (managing water authority) has therefore decided to try and reduce the growth of this species by different removal techniques and in some cases will try to replace E. nuttallii with another non-vascular plant species. Yet, the effects of the removal on and macro-invertebrates communities are unknown. Hence, it is known that the diversity and community of macro-invertebrates at locations where macrophytes occur is higher and different then where they are absent. Therefore, it is expected that the diversity and community changes.

To address this question multiple macro-invertebrates samples are taken before and after removal of E. nuttallii and compared with each other and a control where not treatment was performed. The sample periods will be in spring and summer and performed from a boat with an Ekman Grab.

We are searching for a student who wants to perform a bachelor or master thesis on this topic.

Requirements for this thesis are:

  • Able to speak in English (thesis can be in German or English)
  • Familiar with macro-invertebrate groups
  • Willing to spend time in the lab identifying macro-invertebrate species
  • Not afraid to get muddy or work on a boat

If you are interested you can contact Wim Kaijser.

Master/Bachelor/Internship Analysing species traits using data of different taxonomic resolution

Topic: River ecology

Description: Identifying the taxonomic level (species, genus, family) necessary to investigate the relationships between biological traits (e.g. feeding types, habitat and flow preferences) and environmental descriptors (e.g. substrate composition). Trait composition will be calculated using three taxalists to investigate if different taxonomic levels lead to comparable results or not.

Methods/Data: Statistics

Starting: Not specified

Details

Contact: C.Feld

Master/Bachelor/State Exam Effects of fine sediment input on invertebrate communities in the Ruhr catchment

Topic: River ecology, river restoration

Description: The input of fine sediment is considered one of the main pressures affecting aquatic organisms and reason for water bodies failing good ecological status (besides diffuse pollution and hydromorphological alterations). The objective is to investigate the effect of fine sediment on macroinvertebrates in rivers of the Ruhr catchment and to identify indicator species.

Methods/Data: Fieldwork, labwork, statistics

Starting: Not specified

Details

Contact: A. Lorenz, A. Gieswein

Master/Bachelor/Internship Relationhips between hydrological indices and river biota

Topic: River ecology, river assessment

Description: Quantifying differences in the flow regime of near-natural and degraded river reaches using a set of different hydrological indices. Investigating the effect of alterations of the flow regime on river biota in comparison to other environmental variables and pressures.

Methods/Data: Statistics

Starting: Not specified

Details

Contact: C. Feld

Master/Bachelor/State Exam Comparing the effect of water temperature on benthic invertebrates in two nearby streams

Topic: River ecology, river restoration

Description: Taking multiple samples of benthic invertebrates in a restored section below a reservoir (Sorpesee) that alters the temperature regime and comparing growth rates to a nearby river reach unaffected by water temperature changes.

Methods/Data: Fieldwork

Starting: Not specified

Details

Contact: C. Feld

Master/Bachelor/State Exam Literature review on the effect of herbicides on macrophytes and phytobenthos

Topic: River ecology, ecotoxicology

Description: Literature review on the inut and effect of herbicides on different freshwater organism groups. After compiling the literature, either as a meta-analysis (quantitative) or a classical narrative review.

Methods/Data: Literature review

Starting: Not specified

Details

Contact: C. Feld

Master/Bachelor/State Exam Developing conceptual frameworks on the cause-effect relationships of restoration and river biota

Topic: River restoration

Description: Compiling information on the effect of restoration on river biota (literature review, analyzing existing databases, fieldwork). Developing conceptual frameworks on the cause-effect relationships (i.e. how do restoration actions change habitat conditions and in turn biota). 

Methods/Data: Literature review, conceptual work

Starting: Not specified

Details

Contact: C. Feld, T. Korte

Master/Bachelor/State Exam Morphodynamics of a restored sand-bed stream

Topic: River restoration

Description: Mapping the hydrological, morphological, and biological changes as part of a long-term monitoring. Investigating the long-term changes in the restored river reach of the sand-bed stream "Rotbach".

Methods/Data: Fieldwork

Starting: Not specified

Details

Contact: C. Feld, T. Korte

Master/Bachelor/State Exam Comparing basic ecosystem functions in a restored and a non-restored section of a lowland stream

Topic: River restoration

Description: Mapping the input, retention, and decomposition of leafs (as an important process and function of stream ecosystems) in a restored and non-restored section of a sand-bed lowland stream, and investigating its effect on benthic invertebrates and water chemistry.

Methods/Data: Fieldwork, literature review

Starting: Not specified

Details

Contact: C. Feld, T. Korte

Master/Bachelor/State Exam Floodplain factsheets

Topic: Floodplain assessment

Description: Developing factsheets for different types of river floodplains in respect to floodplain biota (related to floodplain habitats).

Methods/Data: Literature review

Starting: Not specified

 

Contact: H. Jachertz

Master/Bachelor/Internship Metal partitioning between chub and the acanthocephalan

Topic: Parasitology, ecotoxicology

Description: In natural conditions, fish are exposed to multiple stressors, for example, metal pollution and parasite infection. These factors might have effects on the response of fish to the other. Therefore, it is of importance to take into account parasitism in ecotoxicological risk assessment. The objective of this study is to analyse metal concentrations in chub tissues and the acanthocephalan to quantify the ratio between metal concentrations in the chub and acanthocephalan.

Methods/Data: Labwork

Starting: August 2017

Details

Contact: T.T. Yen Le

Master/Bachelor Metallothionein induction in response to metal exposure by chub infected with the acanthocephalan

Topic: Parasitology, ecotoxicology

Description: Parasites have been considered in assessing metal bioaccumulation. However, the influence of parasites has mainly been evaluated in terms of the capacity of parasites to accumulate metals. Another potential influence of parasites, that has hardly been studied, is that parasites might disturb detoxification mechanisms in the host, such as the induction of metallothionein. The objective of this study is to measure the concentration of metallothionein induced in kidney, liver, and intestine to test if the acanthocephalan affects metallothionein induction in chub.

Methods/Data: Labwork

Starting: May 2017

Details

Contact: T.T. Yen Le

Master/Bachelor/Internship Relationship between bioaccumulation, subcellular fractionation and toxic effects of Cu in the zebra mussel

Topic: Parasitology, ecotoxicology

Description: Besides bioaccumulation, subcellular partitioning plays an important role in determining metal toxicity because of the capacity of organisms to detoxify metals. Therefore, it is important to assess the whole chain from accumulation, subcellular partitioning to toxic effects. The aim of this study is to determine Cu concentrations in different subcellular fractions to investigate if Cu toxicity can be explained by the concentration of Cu in the metal-sensitive fraction.

Methods/Data: Labwork

Starting: June 2017

Details

Contact: T.T. Yen Le

Master/Bachelor/State Exam Various theses on aquatic parasites

Topic: Parasitology

Description: We offer different theses with a focus on aquatic parasites. In the field and lab, the following topics can be investigated:

  • Comparing accumulation of heavy metals in host-parasite systems
  • Eel parasites (genus Anguillicoloides)
  • Effect of temperature on parasite infection
  • Ecology and life-cycles of parasites

Methods/Data: Fieldwork, labwork, statistics

Starting: Not specified

Details

Contact: D. Grabner

Internships

Internships are also offered as exploratory work or preliminary studies for different Master,- Bachelor- or State Exam theses (please see the respective theses above).

Internship Updating a ground-beetle database

Topic: River ecology

Description: Dissection and labeling of ground beetles, and updating an existing database on ground-beetles (Excel). Introduction to the determination of ground beetles on species level.

Methods/Data: Computer work, labwork

Starting: April 2017

 

Contact: K. Januschke

Internship Determination of riparian arthropods for analysing effects of river restoration

Topic: River ecology, river restoration

Description: Determination of ground beetles from samples of three restored and a degraded reach of the Ruhr river. Comparision of the ground beetle communities to detect restoration effects.

Methods/Data: Labwork, statistics

Starting: April 2017

 

Contact: K. Januschke

Internship Literature review on the effect of woody buffers on biodiversity and ecosystem services

Topic: River ecology, river restoration

Description: Woody buffers potentially have many beneficical effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services of rivers besides the well-known and well-studied reduction of nutrient and fine sediment input from agricultural areas. The objective is to compile existing literature and to further develop an existing conceptual model on the effects of woody buffers (Feld et al., 2011).

Methods/Data: Literature review

Starting: Not specified

Details

Contact: C. Feld, J. Kail

LSF Lectures of the department for Aquatic Ecology

All lectures of our department can be found on lsf.uni-due.de.

ILIAS Material for lectures and courses

All materials for the lectures are stored in ILIAS.