Master thesis opportunity

The working group Quantitative Landscape Ecology offers a master thesis dealing with the effects of imidacloprid on leaf litter breakdown and associated organisms.

Photos by E. Fernandes

In headwater streams, decomposition of leaf material is a major ecosystem process supplying energy through the streams’ foodwebs. Invertebrate organisms, mainly insects, feed directly on this leaf material (detritivores). Neonicotinoid insecticides are highly selective for insect organisms and are used in agriculture as well as in forestry. These compounds can enter the streams through the water phase or via contaminated leaf material, affecting the detritivores and the leaf breakdown.

Through a field experiment this project aims to study if the presence of different species of leaves in a stream may influence the effect of Imidacloprid (present in contaminated leaves) on leaf breakdown by detritivores, as well as on detritivores’ growth and survival, and also on fungal communities.

Overall candidates should have good statistical knowledge as well as some knowledge on leaf breakdown process in streams and also like working in field conditions.

For more information please contact: Eva Fernandes (