Data exploration and preliminary analysis of LifeWatch plankton time series and samples for Mollusc eggs and larvae occurrences

In the framework of a new innovative project on coastal protection, the CoastBusters project, mussels are used for biogenic reef formation as a basis for the development of a nature-inspired coastal protection. Sessile and sedentary organisms like mussels rely on their pelagic larval stage for dispersal. As such benthic molluscs are an important component of the planktonic food web for a short period of their lifespan. Insights in spatial and temporal dynamics of these mollusc egg and larval stages are of direct importance for optimal engineering of the biogenic reefs.

In their planktonic stages molluscs are picked up in zooplankton and fytoplankton observation programmes like the ones that are in place for LifeWatch ( Screening these long-term data series for relevant data and improving the image based identifications of the mollusc fraction can release crucial information for above mentioned project.

The student will be involved in the complete research process cycle going from data collection at sea, sample processing and data quality control, improvement and validation of the identifications and preliminary exploration of the existing and newly collected data.

Language requirements: 
English or Dutch
Specific competences required : 
- Knowledge on plankton is a plus but not required.
Safety issues: 
- Working on board of a research vessel. - Working with chemicals (e.g. formaldehyde).
Accommodation possibilities : 
Additional costs to be covered by the student: 
Describe the additional costs to be covered by the student: 
Bring lunch. Public transport to and from Ostend is covered by VLIZ.