for graduate and undergraduate students

We are looking for motivated students interested in questions about wildlife dynamics and distributions under global change, animal behavioral ecology or advancing theory in ecology and evolution. Students should have a strong background in (or the will to learn) R, statistics and modelling. Please contact us for possible thesis subjects and state your skills and interests.

TU Berlin students, please consider the Reader for the steps necessary to conduct a thesis. Successful attendance of our courses ‘biodiversity dynamics I + II’ , where we teach spatial R, distribution modelling and occupancy modelling, is of advantage.

Thesis offers:

P1: Assessing the spread of the German wolf population (contact Julie Louvrier). We currently develop a dynamic model in Netlogo to reconstruct the expansion of the German wolf population (see Wildlife distribution Project on Team2 page). The student will investigate different literature-derived movement rules for wolves (whether related to habitat, population density etc.) and their influence on the fate of the population on a national scale. The student will work on a developed spatially-explicit agent-based model. Sound knowledge in NetLogo and spatial R is required.

P2: Factors related to Berlin urban mammal diversity (contact Julie Louvrier). The student will run a two- species-interaction occupancy model or a multi-species occupancy model with frequentist or Bayesian approach on urban mammal diversity. The data was obtained from a camera-trap project within gardens of Berlin citizens (see Urban Wildlife Ecology Project on Team2 page). Several species can be investigated as well as their interactions in regard to different environmental factors at the city scale but also at the garden scale. Knowledge in spatial R and occupancy models is of advantage.

P3: Responses of migratory birds towards the urbanisation gradient (contact Aimara Planillo). We expect that residents start breeding earlier on in the season, especially in more urbanized areas, where the competition for nesting sites will be strongest.  We will work with a dataset that contains the species and breeding territories present at each of the 30 Berlin transects. Data analyses will consist of three main steps. First, to obtain the relevant information for the 30 transects of the monitoring program, extracting spatial information from GIS data. Second, a preliminary exploration of the environmental data and the bird data to understand the potential patterns and select the appropriate environmental variables for the analysis. Finally, the proxy for arrival times (number of visit) will be analyzed in relation to migratory status and to environmental variables using generalized linear mixed models (GLMM).

P4: Functional traits of urban birds (contact Aimara Planillo). The project will focus on data from bird species in Berlin and analyze the relationship between functional traits (such as body size, diet preference or nest type) and environmental conditions in the urbanization gradient. The main objectives are: i) define species response to urbanization based on their functional traits (avoidance, tolerance, exploitation of urbanized areas); ii) identify the key species traits that determine species response to urbanization; iii) compare community composition in terms of functional traits in different sites of the urbanization gradient (rural – suburban – urban). Trait response to urbanization and trait diversity will be analyzed using multiple statistical techniques adequate for each question. Diversity analyses will be performed using Hill numbers, and traits responses to urbanization gradient will be analyzed by multivariate (multiresponse) analyses.

P5: Population trends of birds inhabiting urban areas (contact Aimara Planillo). To assess population trends of different breeding birds it is essential to follow the birds´ breeding behaviour and abundance across several years. By comparing numbers of successive monitoring years within different monitoring periods (e.g. between 2000 – 2019) it is possible to look at recent developments of selected species. Using spatial data and General linear models we will analyze abundance patterns through the years and identity possible traits that allow species to flourish in urban habitats.

Selection of theses currently running under our supervision:

BSc, F Röpke

Influence of roost site availability on activity of forest-dwelling bats above coniferous forests

TU Berlin

Supervision: Volker Kelm (K&S Umweltgutachten), Stephanie Kramer-Schadt (TUB/IZW)

MSc, AM Attenberger

A habitat suitability model for Grey Crowned Cranes (Balearica regulorum) in Rwanda based on sightings

TU Berlin

Supervision: Olivier Nsengimana (RWCA), Moritz von der Lippe (TUB), Stephanie Kramer-Schadt (TUB/IZW)

MSc, K Kasper

Density and life-history of the Sunda clouded leopard Neofelis diardi in the Deramakot Forest Complex, Sabah, Malaysia.

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

Supervision:Thomas Müller (SBiK-F), Andreas Wilting (IZW)

Photo by Burst on

MSc, L Fiechter

What contribution can non-standardized Citizen Science data make in biodiversity monitoring?

TU Berlin

Supervision: Silke Heucke-Voigt (MfN), Aimara Planillo (IZW), Stephanie Kramer-Schadt (TUB/IZW)

(c) KORA

BSc, J Bellack

Small-Scale Habitat Selection of the European Wildcat Felis silvestris silvestris in the Bernese Seeland, Switzerland

TU Berlin

Supervision: Lea Maronde (KORA), Stephanie Kramer-Schadt (TUB/IZW)

(c) Rick Heeres

MSc, E Sanchez

A population viability and connectivity analysis for the alpine lynx (Lynx lynx) population.

Univ Lund, Sweden

Supervision: Anja Molinari-Jobin (KORA), Aimara Planillo (IZW), Stephanie Kramer-Schadt (IZW)

Interested? Contact us!