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Master’s/Bachelor Project (Biology/Zoology): Structural changes of a cold-water hard bottom community following a coral mass die-off

Faculty: Bachelor/Master Thesis
Job type: Full time
Location: Bremerhaven

Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research offers the

Master’s/Bachelor Project (Biology/Zoology):
Structural changes of a cold-water hard bottom community following a coral mass die-off

Research Devision: Bioscience

Location: AWI-Bremerhaven

In Chilean Patagonia the solitary cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus forms large banks with multiple branched pseudo colonies on the steep rock walls in shallow waters. In 2012, a mass die-off was observed along 8.4 km of coast line. Only the bioengeneer coral D. dianthus was affected while other organisms, including two more scleractinian species, were not visibly damaged. Knowledge of the re-establishment of shallow cold-water coral communities does not exist from Sub-Antarctic waters. However, this is crucial for the understanding of the synecology of cold-water coral communities. Thus, the aim of the offered thesis subject is to describe changes of the species inventory, abundance, and structure including ecological indices of the respective hard bottom community. Growth estimates of recently recruited D. dianthus specimens will complete the analyses.


- Description of modulation of structure of cold-water coral communities from the Chilean Fjord
  Region following a mass die-off event in 2012
- Description of changes in biodiversity of impacted cold-water coral communities
- Growth estimates of cold-water coral recruits


- Participation in field work in Chile (15th Mar-30th April 2016)
- Photo documentation and sampling of establishing cold-water communities
- Image analyses of pictures taken during the last three years after the mass die-off event
- Species identification
- Growth estimates of coral recruits
- Multivariate statistics of community establishment


It is recommended, but not obligatory that you hold a certificate as European Scientific Diver (Forschungstaucher).

Application deadline
Until a qualified person is found or 15.01.16

If you are interested or if you have any further questions, please contact:

Dr. Jürgen Laudien,; 0471/4831-1315
Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Am Alten Hafen 26, 27568 Bremerhaven

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General Informationen

The Alfred Wegener Institute pursues research in the polar regions and the oceans of mid and high latitudes. As of the 18 Centres of the Hemlholtz Association it coordinates polar research in Germany and provides ships like the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations for the international scientific community.

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