MSc thesis opportunity: Insects on the decline – catastrophe ahead?

We are offering a MSc thesis on insect decline in our Working Group “Quantitative Landscape Ecology” of University of Koblenz-Landau, Landau campus.

The decline of insects is purported to lead to the collapse of nature. The decline of pollinators has been extensively covered in the media after a paper by Hallmann et al. on the loss of insects in nature protection areas was published. Recently, a paper by Sánchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys suggests an approximate loss of 1-2% in abundance per decade that hits the freshwater ecosystem hardest, in particular caddisflies.

Fossil beetle from Messel pit (photo by T. Wappler, taken from

We are searching for a creative and ambitious master student with a solid background in data analysis that wants to pursue a MSc thesis, potentially coupled with a Research Project Course (RPC), on the decline in aquatic insect abundance. As member of our Working Group, you will have access to long-term monitoring data covering up to the last five decades of stream ecosystems in Germany. You will work on the research question, whether and to which extent a loss in insect biomass is detectable. Moreover, you will identify which taxa are subject to major losses and evaluate the functional consequences using functional traits.

Interested candidates should have a solid knowledge in data analysis and a related programming language (e.g. R, Python) and should be willing to expand their skills in this domain (e.g. working with SQL, time series analysis).

If you are interested, please contact Ralf B. Schäfer (