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

PhD

Effects of woody riparian buffer strips along rivers on biodiversity

Topic: River restoration, river ecology

Description: In cooperation with international partners from IRSTEA in France, the effects of woody riparian buffer strips on biodiversity will be investigated. This will include (i) a literature review, (ii) an analysis of the general reach-scale effects as well as some clearly novel aspects: (iii) an analysis of the effects of the spatial arrangement of woody buffers (e.g. fragmentation) at larger river network scales and (iv) the potential function of woody buffers as migration corridors. The analysis will be based on exising biological data and include GIS and remote sensing work to quantitativly and qualitatively describe the woody buffers as well as multivariate statistics. Funding will be through a scholarship, for which the PhD student will apply for, strongly supported by us.

Methods/Data: Literature review, fieldwork, statistics, GIS

Starting: Summer 2017

Details

Contact: J.Kail

Master-, Bachelor-, State Exam theses

MCs in Norway

Ecosystem processes

The Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) is Norway’s leading institute for basic and applied research on marine and freshwaters. The institute’s research comprises a wide array of environmental, climatic and resource-related fields. NIVA’s world-class expertise is multidisciplinary with a broad scientific scope. We combine research, monitoring, evaluation, problem-solving and advisory services at international, national and local levels.

CROSSLINK is a research project aiming at improved understanding of lateral and longitudinal linkages in stream networks. These linkages are essential for sustaining biodiversity and key ecosystem services relating to nutrient cycling, flood mitigation, freshwater provision, and recreational values. In the project, we conduct extensive novel and spatially explicit field studies at forested and urban stream reaches in the Oslofjord basin. This involves a variety of measurements: physical stream site characterization, the assessment of stream ecosystem processes (e.g., leaf decomposition, FPOM retention, BOD), and biodiversity assessment (e.g., macroinvertebrate and diatom sampling).

What we offer
The opportunity to support us within the CROSSLINK project project and to write your MSc thesis based on the conducted field work. You will be supervised by both NIVA and the Department of Aquatic Ecology (University of Duisburg-Essen).

Your tasks
You will be involved in our field work. Your MSc thesis could focus on the Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) which is an important ecosystem process that indicates the amount of oxygen used by bacteria and microorganisms during the decomposition of organic matter.

Language: English

Start: Autumn 2017

Contact: Benjamin Kupilas, benjamin.kupilas@niva.no, Tel +47 464 27 905

Master/Bachelor/State Exam

Long-term temporal changes of the Trichoptera community composition in floodplains

Topic: River ecology

Description: Long-term studies recently found a dramatic decrease of the biomass of flying insects of about 70% within the last 25 years. This trend is also visible in floodplain habitats but interpretation of existing studies is difficult and more comparable studies on different insect orders are necessary and planned. In this thesis, the long-term changes in the community composition of the order of caddisflies in river floodplains of the nature reserve "Die Spey" (Krefeld, Meerbusch) within the last two decades will be investigated.

Methods/Data: Sorting and species determination, literature review

Starting: Not specified

Details

Contact: A.Lorenz, thomas.hoerren(at)koleopterologie.de

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