Depth gradients of alien species invasions in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

Master Thesis subject (30 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 will analyze the content of sediment samples collected by grabbing, extracting and identifying organisms with hard skeletal parts (mainly molluscs). They will then analyze the variation in alien vs native species composition and abundance along the depth gradient.
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. Data analysis will be conducted in the programming environment R.
Number of students: 
academic year: 
Contact person email: 
contact person first name: 
contact person last name: 
Reference Number: RP-48941