The Black Bucket Challenge: Aquatic insect communities in urban environments

The Black Bucket Challenge: Aquatic insect communities in urban environments

Aquatic microecosystems are abundant in cities but are largely overlooked. Water reservoirs such as rainwater barrels can harbor a large variety of species, mostly insects with aquatic life stages but also, microcrustaceans, nematodes, and bacteria. However, little is known about the species that colonize small water reservoirs in cities and how they are affected by imperviousness and temperature. The project is within a established Multicity Citizen Science Project, the Black Bucket Challenge, which is part of a PhD Project at the University of Salzburg.

Research objectives:

  1. To investigate the effects of urbanization (imperviousness, temperature) on insect abundances, species richness and insect communities inside anthropogenic waterbodies.

  2. To analyze whether insect community composition and/or urbanization affect leaf-litter decomposition inside the water.

Interested? Please contact us:

Marcela Suarez-Rubio: marcela.suarezrubio(at)boku.ac.at
Anna Sommer: anna.sommer(at)plus.ac.at

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09.02.2022

Track them down: The spatial ecology and behaviour of the enigmatic moss carder bee (Bombus muscorum (Linnaeus, 1758)) and the invasive sculptured resin bee (Megachile sculpturalis Smith, 1853)

Track them down: The spatial ecology and behaviour of the enigmatic moss carder bee (Bombus muscorum (Linnaeus, 1758)) and the invasive sculptured resin bee (Megachile sculpturalis Smith, 1853)

Recent developments in animal tracking technology enabled the use of active radio transmitters even to small insects such as some larger bee species. In our project “Track Them Down” we will apply this approach to two wild bee species: 1) the rare moss carder bee and 2) the invasive sculptured resin bee. This approach can be exploited for future animal conservation measures to understand the specific habitat requirements and spatial ecology of endangered as well as invasive species.

We will study movement patterns, home range and daily activity patterns of these two species. Furthermore, we will investigate the species’ ecological niches to be able to predict their presence and gain insights in these species’ population density and dynamics over an entire season.

What we are going to do:

  1. Adverse effects of trackers are infrequently reported in literature. To quantify possible effects, we will perform preliminary trials for both target species, comparing bee behaviour with and without trackers in a cage experiment.

  2. During the main activity period of the two study species (June-September), we will track males (drones) and females (workers in case of bumble bees) using rechargeable active transmitters (Plecotus-Solutions GmbH) specifically designed for large bees (device weight: ~180 mg).

  3. We will perform a capture re-capture study and accomplish spatially explicit open population analysis, which allows estimation of population densities and dynamics, emigration, immigration and survival during the study period.

Who we are:

Sophie Kratschmer is doing research on wild bees in agro-ecosystems including bee species identification and landscape analysis. She will incorporate her expertise about bumble bee ecology in this project.

Lukas Landler works on animal spatial behaviour and ecology (mainly using amphibians). He will add his expertise in the methodological aspects of the project and data analysis.

Julia Lanner studies wild bees in urban ecologies and is doing her PhD on invasive wild bee species. She has been studying the biology and ecology of the sculptured resin bee (Megachile sculpturalis) in Europe for several years.

We are currently looking for 3 master students who are willing to write their thesis in our project.

08.02.2022

Die an unserem Institut ausgeschrieben Masterarbeiten finden Sie in der BOKU-Abschlussarbeitenbörse