The Aquatic Ecology and Evolution team in the Limnological Institute (University of Konstanz) is offering a research project untitled « Energetic mismatch in a zooplankton predator facing warming ». This project aims to understand the effects of temperature on the energetic balance between biological rates in a key zooplankton predator.

Global warming is ongoing and most of the freshwater organisms are ectotherms. Given the strong temperature dependence of their physiology and by extension their energetic balance, it is particularly relevant to study how biological rates are affected by rising temperature to predict consequences on populations and ecosystems processes. Metabolism rate (i.e., energy costs) and resource ingestion rates (i.e., energy supply) are simultaneously increasing with warming but not at the same pace: metabolism is increasing much faster than resource ingestion. Therefore, it is expected that ectotherms become energetically unbalanced with warming, leading to significant effects on the survival and reproduction of individuals, the demography of populations and the stability of food webs. In freshwaters, planktonic organisms have a central role in the ecosystem functioning as they constitute the basal level of numerous food webs and their ecological dynamics are shaping the transfer of energy and matter to higher trophic levels. Investigating the thermal sensitivity of planktonic organisms, in particular phytoplankton-zooplankton interactions, thus appears crucial for understanding the impact of warming on freshwater ecosystems.

Can the energetic mismatch between energy costs and supplies and the demographic consequences be buffered by prey (green alga) edibility for a ubiquitous zooplankton predator (rotifer) facing global warming?

1) Measuring the energetic mismatch between metabolic rate and ingestion rate for the predator with rising temperature for different food sources (preys).
2) Measuring the food assimilation efficiency and derive the energetic efficiency (energy balance) for the predator with rising temperature.
3) Measuring the consequences of rising temperature and different food sources on the growth of the predator population.
4) Characterizing the edibility of the different food sources using morphology (size and shape) and stoichiometry (C:N:P composition).

Required profile :
– Master 1/2 student in ecology and evolution.
– Knowledge in aquatic ecosystems.
– Knowledge in data analysis.
– Experience in laboratory work.
– Writing and communication skills.
– Autonomy and motivation.

Contract: internship
Duration: 6 months
Language: english
Starting date: April-May 2022
Salary: no gratification.


Deadline of application: April 15th 2022

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