Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy; we therefore particularly welcome applications from qualified women. Severely disabled persons are given priority where applicants are equally qualified.

Your contact for any questions you may have about the job:
Andrew Kaus, Andrew.Kaus@ufz.de

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Place of work: Magdeburg

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Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH - UFZ
Permoserstraße 15
04318 Leipzig, Germany

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The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) with its 1,100 employees has gained an excellent reputation as an international competence centre for environmental sciences. We are part of the largest scientific organisation in Germany, the Helmholtz association. Our mission: Our research seeks to find a balance between social development and the long-term protection of our natural resources.

Ichthyological research in Mongolia has been limited in the past with most investigations concentrating on the larger, more economically important fish species such as Hucho taimen. Thus the many smaller species have received relatively little research attention to date and so gaps exist in the basic understanding of various aspects of these species. Surprisingly, there still remains confusion concerning the correct identification of species and their distribution within several taxonomic families, particularly concerning the Family Nemacheilidae, Genus Barbatula and Triplophysa and Family Cyprinidae, Genus Phoxinus.

Bachelor/Masterarbeit (m/w) Taxonomic identification and distribution of Barbatula spp., Triplophysa spp., and Phoxinus spp. from across Mongolia

Kollelat (2006) reported in his “Fishes of Mongolia” publication that he had examined material of Barbatula from a number of localities in the Selenge and Amur drainages in Mongolia and suggests that there are a number of unnamed species with restricted distribution ranges. In several cases two species may occur in sympatry which are currently classified as a single species in the literature (Kollelat 2006). However, definitive identification or formal description of the unnamed species is not possible without more extensive sampling (Kollelat 2006). The genus Triplophysa is also present in Mongolia and is known to be a very diverse genus with species also inhabiting small ranges. The exact limits and species composition of Barbatula and Triplophysa are also not yet clear (Kollelat 2006). The author additionally reported that a detailed study of Asian populations of the genus Phoxinus is missing as well. Currently Mongolian species are recognised as Phoxinus phoxinus, the same species from European waters, however, preliminary investigations suggest that there are distinguishable features between those in Mongolia and Europe, and also between Mongolian river basins.
Therefore, as a result of this substantial amount of missing and confusing information regarding these fish taxa, individuals from the genus Barbatula, Triplophysa and Phoxinus were collected in tandem during an extensive fish genetic sampling survey in 2012, that included sites from twenty-four rivers, six catchments and three drainages including the Selenge, Central Asian and Amur basins. Whole fish samples are currently preserved in formalin at the UFZ in Magdeburg.

Your tasks:

  • correct taxonomic identification based on morphometric measurements of the preserved samples from the three different genera, with the guidance of an expert.
  • Then to describe the geographical distribution of the identified species according to the sampling locations, 
  • identify existing sympatric species, 
  • obtain any additional biological information from the samples e.g. length, age, sex, maturity and to recommend possible future work. It is the ultimate aim 
  • to achieve a scientific publication in an ISI listed journal with these results within the Aquatic Ecology Team of the project.

Your profile:

  • Bachelor degree in Environmental science such as fish ecology, hydrobiology or another comparable subject,
  • experience in fish anatomy and taxonomy is advantageous and 
  • has a high degree of motivation.

We offer:

  • Strong supervision and help in all phases of the thesis
  • Clearly defined experiments and goals to ensure a successful thesis
  • Excellent technical equipment and a friendly open atmosphere
  • Participation in a study at the forefront of stream ecology, biogeochemistry and ecological stoichiometry