Master Thesis Opportunity on Pesticides & Microplastics in Surface Waters around Landau

The Eußerthal Ecosystem Research Station (EERES) offers a master thesis on the topic “Pesticides and Microplastics in Surface Waters around Landau” to students of Ecotoxicology and Environmental Sciences.

A small stream in southern Palatinate (photo by S. Stehle)

Landau is surrounded by highly intensified agriculture, i.e., vineyards and vegetable farming, the latter often conducted using plastic covers. Small surface waters running through these areas are exposed towards pesticides and potentially microplastics (synthetic organic polymer particles with a size < 5 mm) resulting from the fragmentation of the plastic covers. Microplastic contamination of surface waters is of increasing environmental concern; however, actual exposure data (specifically for small surface waters) are scarce and not at all available for streams in southern Palatinate.

We are looking for a highly motivated master student (Ecotoxicology or Environmental Sciences) that is interested to conduct a field study on pesticide and microplastic exposure of small streams around Landau (Queich and tributaries, as well as Hainbach; see map below).

Stream sampling sites around Landau (map by N. Hellwig)

As part of this field study, surface water samples will be taken at 16 stream sites during two rainfall-induced runoff events and be prepared for subsequent analytical measurements of pesticides and microplastics. In addition, benthic macroinvertebrate sampling will be conducted at the stream sites in order to assess potential effects of the pesticide and microplastic exposure.

The overall aim of this master thesis is to determine and compare pesticide and microplastic exposure and effects at 16 stream sites around Landau.

Methods: Field and laboratory study

Starting date: flexible, but preferably in May or June 2018

If you are interested in this master thesis please contact Sebastian Stehle (