Community structure analysis of marine faunal communities: impact of natural and anthropogenic disturbances

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
Natural and human impacts can have profound impacts on the community structure of marine animals. Such changes might be rather subtle and can sometimes not be detected by univariate measures, such as biodiversity indices. Powerful tools to reveal changes are multivariate statistics (e.g. cluster analysis, multi-dimensional scaling), which utilises the full amount of available data on species composition and abundance or biomass. Using multivariate statistics, these changes in the community structure can be related to biotic or abiotic environmental parameters, enabling an analysis of factors that are responsible. In a thesis project, abundance or biomass data of species compositions from marine communities can be analysed by multivariate statistics in order to reveal marine ecological processes in relation to natural or anthropogenic disturbances. Such analyses are very important in environmental impact assessments and conservation efforts. Data can be analysed with the computer programme PRIMER (Plymouth Routines in Marine Ecological Research), which supports multivariate statistics. Currently, no research project that investigates the community structure of marine faunal communities is carried out by the Marine Biology Laboratory. However, MSc students are encouraged to conduct data analysis of their own previously collected data or to propose their own project. Fieldwork in the tropics might be possible, but has to be financed by a scholarship (e.g. VLIR). More information about this subject can be obtained from the following publications, which can be requested from me: Rumisha C, Mdegela RH, Kochzius M, Leermakers M, Elskens M (2016) Trace metals in the giant tiger prawn Penaeus monodon and mangrove sediments of the Tanzania coast: is there a risk to marine fauna and public health? Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 132: 77–86 Ngeve MN, Leermakers M, Elskens M, Kochzius M (2015) Assessment of trace metal pollution in sediments and intertidal fauna at the coast of Cameroon. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 187: 337 Rumisha C, Elskens M, Leermakers M, Kochzius M (2012) Trace metal pollution and its influence on the community structure of soft bottom molluscs in intertidal areas of the Dar es Salaam coast, Tanzania. Marine Pollution Bulletin 64: 521-531 Kochzius M (2007) Community structure of coral reef fishes at El Quadim Bay (El Quseir, Egyptian Red Sea coast). Zoology in the Middle East 42: 89-98 Khalaf MA, Kochzius M (2002a) Community structure and biogeography of shore fishes in the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea. Helgoland Marine Research 55: 252-284 Khalaf MA, Kochzius M (2002b) Changes in trophic community structure of shore fishes at an industrial site in the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series 239: 287-299 Kochzius M (1999): Interrelation of ichthyofauna from a seagrass meadow and coral reef in the Philippines. Proceedings of the 5th International Indo-Pacific Fish Conference, Nouméa, 1997. Séret B. & J.-Y. Sire, eds. Paris: Soc. Fr. Ichthyol., 1999: 517-535
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Reference Number: RP-48231