Postdoc eco-evolutionary modeling, CEFE Montpellier
We are hiring a Postdoctoral Researcher for 24 months to model eco-evolutionary dynamics of evolutionary rescue in response to rapid climate change, as part of the French ANR grant (“Make Our Planet Great Again,” MOPGA program) entitled “RapidEvol”.
Context: This project (RapidEvol) aims to understand the potential for evolutionary adaptation and population persistence in the face of climate-induced salinity decline and temperature rise, focusing on the copepod Eurytemora affinis, a dominant component of marine zooplankton. Salinity is rapidly declining in many high latitude coastal regions, including the Baltic Sea, due to increases in ice melt and precipitation, threatening the sustainability of fisheries that rely on copepods as their main food source. To elucidate the mechanisms of salinity and temperature adaptation and their links with demography under changing salinity, RapidEvol applies a unique integration of physiological analyses, genome-wide association studies, selection experiments, and theoretical modeling.
Main mission: The postdoc for this particular position will carry out the theoretical part of the project. The objective is to build a model that integrates life history traits (e.g., absolute fitness at different salinities) to determine how selection on beneficial alleles can lead to demographic rescue of the population. In particular, the model will include specific information on the genes that exhibit signatures of parallel adaptation in this system, consisting of ion transporters responsible for ion uptake. Selection and epistasis among these major genes will be key elements of the model, together with putative background polygenic variation for fitness not attributable to these major genes. All these elements will be calibrated with results from laboratory selection experiments (in response to salinity and temperature) and GWAS studies performed in the Lee Lab.
Activities: The postdoc will actively participate in model design, in collaboration with the supervisors. The models will be informed by the experimental results in the system. We will formulate and analyze several model versions along the trade-off between generality and realism. In simpler versions of the model, we will aim for analytical results that will broaden our general understanding of eco-evolutionary dynamics in this context. In more explicit versions of the model that allow for more realistic genetics and ecology, we will rely on individual-based simulations, which we will interpret as much as possible in light of analytical findings from simpler contexts.
Competencies & qualifications: The successful candidate will hold a PhD in evolutionary biology, bioinformatics, ecology, or related fields. Experience with individual-based simulations (or other computer-intensive approaches) is required, and solid mathematical training is an important criterion. We will preferentially select candidates with a background in theoretical population genetics and/or eco-evolutionary dynamics. Excellent interpersonal skills are also required for this collaborative project.
Work conditions: The postdoc will be based at the CEFE, France’s largest ecology and evolution institute, with regular visits to the marine institute MARBEC, both located in Montpellier (France). Montpellier is a worldwide hotspot for ecology and evolution, with a notably large community of evolutionary geneticists and theoreticians. Within the CEFE, the postdoc will be part of the Evolutionary Genetics and Ecology team, which includes 12 permanent researchers with their groups, covering a wide variety of topics. The modeling work will be carried out in close collaboration with Luis-Miguel Chevin, CNRS researcher director at CEFE, with regular exchanges with Carol Eunmi Lee (the main PI of RapidEvol), and other members of this project. Wages will follow rules from the University of Montpellier, and will depend notably on experience. French salaries include full health and social benefits.
More information of the host groups can be found at:
Do birds time their reproduction based on the spring development of vegetation?
The consequences of global warming can only be reliably estimated if we know how organisms respond to environmental changes. One way changes in climate and environment influence population resilience is through the modification of the seasonal timing of life-cycle events (i.e. phenology). However, species at different trophic levels usually do not respond at the same rate, and many organisms become increasingly mismatched with their food supply. In this context, central questions relate to how organisms adjust the timing of their life cycles to a changing world: Which environmental factors do they rely on to time their seasonal events like reproduction? Which components of the reproductive axis do these environmental factors influence?
The postdoc will take part in an on-going project in which we study the trophic relations between birds, insects, and vegetation. In particular, we investigate whether blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) use bud development of oak trees in spring to predict the peak of caterpillar abundance (i.e. the main food source for raising tits' chicks, and the main selection factor for tits' timing of breeding). This question will be addressed using a combination of experimental approaches in captivity, as well as field studies in several wild populations of blue tits that have been monitored for 20 to 40 years.
Lire la suite : Two-year postdoctoral position in Ecology and Physiology of reproduction
Two-year postdoctoral position in Ecology and Physiology of reproduction
First, the successful candidate will link small-scale geographic variation in bud development of trees with variation in reproductive decisions of individual blue tits using remote-sensing imagery and field observations, and test the fitness consequences of matching the phenology of trees. Second, the postdoc will identify the main volatile components emitted by tree buds in spring. (S)he will then study whether birds are able to detect those compounds in a Y-maze apparatus, and test whether their reproductive behaviours and physiology are modulated accordingly (reproductive hormones, etc.). Third, time permitting, the postdoc might also investigate whether the influence of vegetation development on timing of breeding occurs through the ingestion, rather than the smell, of compounds present in growing tree buds, using a similar experimental approach as above.
We are seeking a highly motivated candidate with a strong track record, who is willing to start a truly interdisciplinary study. The candidate should have interest and/or experience in behavioural ecology (behavioural tests), plant and animal physiology (tree development and avian endocrinology), spatial analyses (satellite image processing), and chemical ecology (characterization of plant volatile emissions). It is not necessary to have experience in all these fields, but the candidate should be interested in, and not afraid of, mixing these different approaches and techniques. Multi-tasking and organisational skills will be necessary and appreciated.
The position will be held at the CEFE (Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, UMR 5175), a leading research institute in Ecology of the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), situated at Montpellier, France. Montpellier has recently been ranked world second best for research in Ecology (http://www.shanghairanking.com/Shanghairanking-Subject-Rankings/ecology.html), it is thus an ideal place for studies in the field, with many opportunities to interact with forefront scientists.
Conditions of employment
This is a temporary position for two years, full-time employment. Gross salary will be of minimum 31k€ per year, which is comfortable in France.
The project and position are funded by an ANR grant (Agence Nationale de la Recherche, the main research funding agency in France). The grant will cover the salary of the postdoc, his/her research, as well as participation to conferences. Training will mainly be provided by Samuel Caro (Behavioural Ecologist and Physiologist), but also by other scientists present at the CEFE who are involved in the project: Francesco Bonadonna (Behavioural Ecologist), Michaël Staudt (Plant Ecologist and Physiologist) and Anne Charmantier (Evolutionary Ecologist).
Deadline for applying: October 25, 2017. Start of employment: January 2, 2018.
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