Monitoring and predicting eutrophication effects on seagrass ecosystems

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
Worldwide, seagrass habitats are recognized for their hugely important services to human welfare. Seagrass meadows form highly productive benthic habitats that support complex food webs and provide critical ecosystem services such as carbon and nutrient sequestration and storage, provision of habitat, shelter and food for a large number of organisms, provision of nursery areas for some commercially important fish and shellfish species, improvement of local water quality and prevention of coastal erosion. In spite of their ecological importance, seagrass meadows don't cover a very large area of the world ocean, and are drastically declining worldwide due to human impacts. This seagrass decline represents important losses of the goods and services they provide. In this study, we will explore changes in seagrass bioindicators under eutrophication using data analyses and modeling to provide early-warning indication of meadow deterioration. The study will develop indicators of sub-lethal impacts for application in monitoring and management programs.
Preference will be given to candidates with a strong interest and preferably background in indicator science and/or ecosystem ecology, as well as in numerical analyses and modeling (e.g. experience with the statistical package R and/or SAS, management of large databases, multivariate analyses, ecosystem modeling programs such as EcoSim and Atlantis, indicator science, and/or food web and ecosystem ecology would be ideal).
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Reference Number: RP-48001