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MSc theses

position in project: „MikroSafari“ to be filled.

Assessing the effects of urbanisation and climate change on invertebrate communities     

Urbanisation and climate change are among the major threats to biodiversity and knowing how these factors influence species is of great importance. Utilizing the urban heat island effect of cities may give us an idea of how species communities will adapt to future climates. Through a citizen science initiative (www.mikrosafari.de), schools in Berlin, Leipzig and Halle will conduct pitfall trap experiments across urban gradients and collect high precision microclimate data, generating a large data set for investigating how urbanisation and climate affects invertebrate communities. Depending on your interests, you could choose to work with a specific taxon or look at the community at a morphospecies or trait-based level. The project will involve some laboratory work and good knowledge of the programming language R and English is an advantage. Opportunities for doing your own fieldwork can also be discussed.    

Assessing the effects of participating in citizen science on children’s nature relatedness    

Through a citizen science initiative (www.mikrosafari.de), schools in Berlin, Leipzig and Halle will conduct pitfall trap experiments across urban gradients to understand the effects of urbanisation and climate change on invertebrate communities. Before and after participating, the students will answer questionnaires about their interest and attitude towards nature and especially towards insects and other invertebrates. If you are interested in exploring the outcomes of participating in citizen science, this is the project for you. The project will involve the creation of surveys and the analysis of survey data. A good knowledge of the programming language R, German and English is an advantage.

Exploring ant foraging strategies across an urbanisation gradient    

    Through a citizen science initiative (www.mikrosafari.de), schools in Berlin, Leipzig and Halle will conduct baiting experiments, investigating the recruitment of ants to sugar baits of different concentrations. Theory suggests that ants should recruit to the best resources first, but factors such as competition may force them to switch to less desirable resources. This project involves laboratory work in front of a microscope to identify specimens to species level and prior experience with identification of ants is an advantage, but not a prerequisite. Good knowledge of the programming language R and English is also an advantage. Opportunities for doing your own fieldwork can also be discussed.

MSc theses

in the project: "NFDI4Biodiversity"    

Assessing distribution and/or dispersal of an invasive fish species (Sander volgensis)    

Invasive species are among the main threats for biodiversity. However, distribution ranges and dispersal routes of newly introduced species are often unknown, despite such knowledge being essential for effective conservation measures. If you are interested in learning how to model distribution and/or dispersal patterns of invasive species based on citizen-science derived occurrence information, this project might be interesting for you. You will be required to get in contact with recreational fishing clubs or individual person to get additional distribution data and to build distribution or dispersal models using the statistical software R. Consequently, the ideal applicant must be comfortable working with people and should have some prior knowledge about the statistical software R. Additionally, it would be advantageous to be good or very good in German. Large parts of the project could be done remotely, however, in some occasions it can be necessary to meet in person (Leipzig or Berlin). The project could start as soon as possible.