Postdoctoral position on behavioral ecotoxicology of lampreys

Institutional context
The INRAE/UPPA research group in fish behavioral ecology and population biology (ecobiop) uses empirical and theoretical tools to study the evolutionary ecology of diadromous fishes facing human-driven environmental changes. The CNRS/UPPA institute of analytical sciences and physico-chemistry for environment and materials (IPREM) develops analytical tools to describe physical and chemical properties of many kinds of materials, including contaminants in living organisms. Both groups belong to the research federation on aquatic environments (MIRA). As part of the I-site project on Energy Environment Solutions (E2S), both groups develop a project on the resilience and adaptation of coastal ecosystems to emerging micropollutants, to which the postdoctoral position takes part.

Scientific context
Individual behavior is considered a more ecologically relevant indicator of the impact of contamination on animals than classical biochemical or physiological markers because it integrates physiological and cognitive aspects, and responds to lower concentrations than survival or morphological disorders. On the other hand, because of its integrative nature, it also shows more interindividual variation, which can be challenging when assessing the toxicity of contaminants. Behavioral ecology offers a theoretical framework to analyze the effect of individual behavior and its variation on individual fitness and population structure. In particular, the alteration of reproductive behavior by contaminants, through different physiological processes, is likely to impact population productivity and genetic structure, through both direct and indirect effects on individual fitness. Indeed, not only contaminated individuals are expected to have lower reproductive output (although individual sensitivity may vary), but uncontaminated individuals that interact (compete or mate) with contaminated ones may also experience indirect fitness effects. The goal of the project is to quantify direct and indirect effects of contamination on individual fitness and the structure of mating groups. The physiological underlying mechanisms will be investigated mainly looking at the energetic status of individuals (energy reserves, body composition, metabolism…). This question will be addressed experimentally, using lampreys as a model species. The anadromous lifecycle of lampreys, from filter-feeding larvae burrowed in fine sediment to parasitic juveniles feeding on the flesh and blood of larger fishes, and their promiscuous mating system make them very suitable models for this research.

Profile and assignments
The postdoctoral collaborator should have theoretical background on mating systems and reproductive ecology and some knowledge about energy metabolism. S/he should be able to manage empirical research involving experimental design, laboratory work (dissection, measure of energy reserves, metabolism…), behavioral observations, statistical analysis of complex data (networks of interindividual interactions), article writing. The position involves teaching duties: 64h/year in ecology and biostatistics to undergraduate students, in French.

Duration, location, salary
The position is available for 18 months, from January 2021 but can start until March 2021. Application can be sent until the 31st of October 2020.
The collaborator will work at the INRAE station in Saint Pée sur Nivelle and UPPA campus in Anglet, southwestern France. The gross salary is 2 960 €/month.

Cédric Tentelier (behavioural ecologist): [email protected]; Valérie Bolliet (ecophysiologist): [email protected]; Mathilde Monperrus (chemical analyst): [email protected]

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