Depth gradients of alien species invasions in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

Internship position (12 ECTS)
The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 has triggered the largest marine alien invasion in the world: the so-called “Lessepsian migration”. Hundreds of tropical species have settled in the Mediterranean Sea, especially its easternmost sectors. The project “Historical ecology of Lessepsian migration” ( addresses this phenomenon with the aim to determine the pre-impact baseline conditions and how the invasion has progressed with time. Alien species have first colonized shallow water habitats, but later extended to deeper water because of the deepening of the Suez Canal and increased water temperature. Students can participate by analyzing the content of sediment samples extracting and identifying organisms with hard skeletal parts (mainly molluscs). They will then analyze the variation in alien vs native species composition and abundance.
Previous experience in morphospecies segregation and species identification of molluscs is an advantage. Alternatively, it is recommended to have a genuine interest in learning about mollusk diagnostic characters and identification techniques.
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Paolo Albano
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Reference Number: RP-47601