Bachelor- or Master-Thesis: Effects of anthropogenic underwater noise on marine invertebrate life cycle and larval development

Alfred Wegener Institute
June 24, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Bachelor- or Master-Thesis: Effects of anthropogenic underwater noise on

marine invertebrate life cycle and larval development

Background The ever-increasing human activities at sea (e.g. cargo shipping, oil exploitation, offshore windfarm construction and operation) are progressively changing the marine acoustic environment by the introduction of anthropogenic underwater noise (AUN). While the effect of AUN on marine mammals has been studied for years, little is known on how marine invertebrates are affected by AUN. Recent studies showed that boat noise or seismic survey have the possibility to interfere with invertebrate live cycles and larval development, possibly causing long lasting alterations in the ecosystem. As in coastal seas ever larger areas are covered by offshore windfarms it is crucial to understand whether the continuous low frequency noise emitted by them, has the potential to interfere with the live cycles and larval development of the invertebrate communities of these seas.

The thesis is part of the international project ORCHESTRA (ecOsystem Responses to Constant offsHorE Sound specTRA), funded within the framework of the JPI-Oceans joint action on Underwater Noise in the Marine Environment (https: // www. which investigates the response of marine invertebrates to anthropogenic noise. The data resulting project will be combined with information on local soundscapes and species abundances to identify in turn areas with the largest risks of being affected by AUN.

Tasks This study aims to experimentally investigate the effects of AUN on the live- cycle and larval development on common marine invertebrates (such as the sea urchin Psammechinus miliaris ) from the North Sea. Specifically it will be investigated how low frequency noise affects fertilization success, larval development, larval morphology, larval settlement, larval feeding and juvenile fitness (i.e. growth and respiration).

Specific tasks will be

  • Carrying out literature surveys on the effects of noise on aquatic invertebrates

  • Carrying out experiments investigating sound effects on selected benthic invertebrates and their planktonic larvae.

  • Taking part in the international project meetings, offering the opportunity to work with an international team.
  • Depending on whether you are a Bachelor or Master candidate the scope of the experiments (e.g. number of investigated species, measured parameters, live stages) will be adapted to your interests and needs.
  • Requirements

  • You study biology, marine biology, ecology or a related subject.
  • You look for an interesting topic for your bachelor or master thesis.
  • You are interested in environmental sciences and environmental protection.
  • Further Information The place of employment will be Bremerhaven, 27570. Start: as soon as possible

    You are interested? Then please send us your application with Cover letter an CV (with all documents merged into one PDF file) by e-mail to: Dr. Alexa Wrede ([email protected])

    For further information please contact Dr. Wrede also.

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