We are offering a thesis to investigate which food quality descriptor is the best to explain changes in ecosystem functioning under stress. The thesis will be supervised jointly by our working groups Functional Aquatic Ecotoxicology and Ecosystem Resilience.
Stoichiometry (i.e., the ratio of central elements; C:N:P) is often used to explain interactions among trophic levels as well as the rate of ecosystem functioning under anthropogenic stress. Literature supports this assumption in heterotrophic systems, which are based on energy bound in leaf litter.
Recent developments may challenge this perspective. We are now able to determine traits of leaf-associated microbial communities through, for instance, fatty acid composition as well as the activity of enzymes. With several options at hand, the question arises which food quality descriptor is the best to explain changes in ecosystem functioning under stress?
To address this question, we are looking for a student to perform a quantitative literature review. This project is suitable as MSc thesis project and ideally to be performed in Germany (but other locations can be discussed).
The ideal candidate is familiar with techniques of literature searching and prepared for computer-based work. Statistical knowledge and hands-on experience with “R” is an asset. The start date is flexible.