Contract position (HiWi) in Macroinvertebrate Identification at Uni Landau

Dr. Alessandro Manfrin (SystemLink project) is hiring a student researcher to identify freshwater macroinvertebrates in samples, located at the Institute for Environmental Sciences in Landau.

Project summary:

Water samples have been collected in a pre-Alpine region (Trento, Italy), from a system of artificial streams colonized by a natural macroinvertebrate community, typical of pre-alpine rivers. The samples are characterized by a very well structured aquatic insect community with stoneflies, maiflies and caddisflies, characteristic of this river typology.

During the experiment, we introduced in half of these flumes artificial illumination (LED) to assess the effect of artificial illumination on macroinvebrate behavioural drift (dispersal) and composition. Many species of riverine macroinvertebrates tend to disperse (drift) during dark noctural hours to avoid predation (e.g., from fish). Drift is regulated by light/dark (day/night) cycles (note: even natural moon cycles can affect the drift in some taxa). We hypothesised that if we introduce artificial light, many of these taxa will reduce the drifting behaviour because day/night cycles will be distrupted, and they also will feel exposed to predators.

Job duties:

  • Identifying freshwater macroinvertebrates (130 samples for which we know the taxa composition already) using a binocular
  • Sorting and counting for each taxa of how many individuals are early-stage (young) larvae and how many are mature larvae (based on morphological characteristics)
  • Recording the information (as a count) in an Excel matrix according to the old samples labels
  • Storing the samples in new vials according to taxa and larval stage and refilling with “new” ethanol preservant.
  • Re-labelling the new vials including all the information needed

Are you the right candidate?

We prefer candidates with a basic knowledge of macroinvertebrates and how to identify them using binocular and dichotomus keys. That said, we will provide an introduction and guidance on the identification and discrimination between young and mature larvae.

Please apply as soon as possible. The project is planned for April 2021.

For more details and to apply, please contact Dr. Alessandro Manfrin (