MSc thesis opportunity on method development and subsidy quality of stressed systems

We offer a master thesis at the University of Koblenz-Landau (Campus Landau) to develop a method determining multiple energy reserves in one insect sample. It will be used as tool to investigate changes in the subsidy quality of stressed systems.

Insects emerging from aquatic ecosystems are an important food source for terrestrial predators. Besides their biomass, their quality as food is proposed as driver for riparian food webs. One descriptor of this quality is the energy stored as proteins, glycogen, free sugars, and lipids. It was found that levels of these molecules in aquatic insect larvae depend on the environmental conditions of the habitat the larvae are choosing. Based on this fact, we aim to assess these energy resources in larvae and adult life stages of a model species, the non-biting midge Chironomus riparius.

Graphic by S. Kolbenschlag

We have already generated a set of Chironomids from differently stressed laboratory systems. As the number of organisms is limited, we wish to first establish a method that allows to quantify the named energy resources in one sample (see also this publication). With this method, the stored organisms shall be analysed informing about the impact of food quality, copper, pesticides, and Bti. We expect finding substantial differences among treatment groups over the duration of the experiment.

We are looking for a student that enjoys working in the laboratory and ideally has some experience with laboratory-based work. The ideal candidate can work independently and is reliable, thoughtful, and consistent. The start date is flexible but ideally work would commence in October or November 2020.

If you have questions or are interested, don’t hesitate to contact Mirco Bundschuh ( or Sara Kolbenschlag (