|Title||Benthic ecology - Assessment of benthic communities from Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) in the North Sea|
Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) are standardized 3D-structures that mimic the complex structure of marine benthic environment by providing a habitat for sessile, less mobile and small organisms. After deployed for 6 to 12 months on the seafloor, the benthic communities have settled on the ARMS and can be recovered to be analysed using genetic (DNA-Metabarcoding & CO1-amplification) and morphologic methods to assess the biodiversity of even small and cryptic species. ARMS have already been deployed globally, but within this project they were deployed for the first time in the North Sea. The area of investigation is the Borkum Reef Ground, a marine protected area. ARMS could help here to identify cryptic reef species that have not yet been recorded in the protected areas by routinely applied monitoring methods.
|Home institution||Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment|
|Type of work||practical / application-focused|
|Type of thesis||Master's degree|
The task of the student is to conduct DNA metabarcoding, CO1 amplification and morphologic analyses, including also image analyses of fauna from recovered ARMS, to assess the biodiversity in the MPA and to test the suitability of this non-destructive method for a long-term monitoring in the North Sea. Eventually, the results of this thesis can be complemented by participating on a research cruise to recover additional ARMS.
The candidate should have a Bachelor in Biology, Environmental Science, Microbiology or equivalent. Skills in molecular and taxonomic analyses of organisms from the North Sea would be really helpful, but are not mandatory.