In this post, the team “Ecosystem Resilience” announces two Master/Diploma theses.
The “Ecosystem Resilience” research group headed by Prof. Ralf Schulz aims to understand if and how ecosystems can handle environmental stress with a focus on contaminants. The research of our group focuses on aquatic ecotoxicology and covers topics such as large-scale pesticide exposure and risk assessment, meta-analyses of environmental data, contaminant removal processes in constructed wetlands and vegetated ditches, and risk assessment and management strategies for agricultural chemicals and GMO.
Field data-based evaluation of the regulatory EU or US pesticide risk assessment
Thesis type: 2 Diploma or Master theses
Pesticides denote highly toxic chemicals that are intentionally applied to the environment. Prior to their authorization, extensive environmental risk assessment procedures have thus to be conducted in order to ensure their environmental safe use. Especially the EU and US regulatory risk assessment procedures are widely perceived to be highly elaborated, science-based and protective. Nevertheless, recent studies of our research group (see the following two EcotoxBlog posts Silent Water and EU – European Union or Environment Unprotected?) focusing on insecticides revealed high risks (i.e., exceedances of regulatory threshold levels) for surface waters and several shortcomings of EU and US pesticide risk assessment procedures. However, herbicides’ risks for EU and US surface water ecosystems and thus the protectiveness of the EU and US regulatory risk assessments for herbicides is currently not known.
The aim of the two Diploma/Master theses is to compile and evaluate herbicide field concentrations reported in the scientific literature for either EU (thesis I) or US (thesis II) surface waters and to contextualize the findings to the associated EU or US regulatory risk assessment for herbicides (e.g., evaluation of herbicide field concentrations using regulatory threshold levels).
Tasks would include:
Literature searches in scientific database (e.g., Web of Science); compilation and evaluation of herbicide EU (Thesis I) or US (Thesis II) surface water concentrations from the scientific studies; inquiry of regulatory threshold levels from official EU or US pesticide registration documents; statistical analyses of results (e.g., linear regression analyses).
We will provide in-depth guidance for all tasks!
Start: flexible (preferably in 2015)
Prior knowledge required: no
Asset: You will only need a computer and an Internet connection – it is thus possible to conduct these theses from anywhere and you don’t have to be present in Landau.
Supervisor: Sebastian Stehle
Interested? Contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit my office (Building I, 2nd floor, room 3.28).