12-month Research Position on:

Evaluating the uncertainty around the results of invertebrate-based diagnostic tools used for the ecological survey and management of wadeable streams

A post-doctoral position is available in the group “Stress Ecology” (ECOSE) of the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Continental Environments (LIEC; CNRS UMR 7360 – http://liec.univ-lorraine.fr/), University of Lorraine, as a part of a Scientific Project on bio-assessment methods and ecological diagnostic tools in streams and rivers at large spatial scale. The project is supported by the French Agency for Biodiversity (AFB).

Context:

The Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Continental Environments (LIEC) was created in January 2013 by merging of three laboratories: the LIEBE, the LIMOS, and the LEM (half of the staff). The primary objective of the LIEC is to understand the functionning of continental environments strongly impacted by human activity, in order to contribute to their rehabilitation. In this purpose, the LIEC has implemented an interdisciplinary research, allying the concepts and methods of environmental mineralogy, soil science, microbial ecology, colloidal physicochemistry, ecotoxicology and functional ecology.
The Working Group “Stress Ecology” investigates the effects of anthropogenic stressors (e.g. toxicants, hydromorphological or hydrological alterations, climate change) on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, particularly on invertebrates, fishes, macrophytes, microorganisms and ecosystem processes.

To meet the Water Framework Directive requirements, a new multimetric index (I2M2) has been designed for the invertebrate-based ecological assessment of French wadeable streams (Mondy et al., 2012). Integrating five taxonomy- and trait-based metrics selected for their high discrimination efficiency, low pressure specificity, high stability in least impaired conditions and low redundancy, this index is meant to identify impaired reaches for 17 anthropogenic pressure categories potentially impairing water quality or habitat.
To complement the I2M2 index, an invertebrate-based diagnostic tool (Mondy & Usseglio-Polatera, 2013) has been developed, evaluating the individual risk of invertebrate assemblage impairment by 17 types of physico-chemical, hydromorphological and/or watershed land-use-related stressor types.
Now we aim at evaluating the uncertainty that should be associated to these assessment index and diagnostic tools.

Research area of the research position:

Major tasks/duties:
* Contribution to the study of uncertainties related to the application of the French protocol for the assessment of the ecological status of wadeable streams based on the benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages [normalized protocol (norm NF T90-333, 2016 for field sampling – norm XP T90-388, 2010 for faunal sample analysis) applied on study sites included in National survey networks].

* Contribution to the study of uncertainties inherent to the biotic index (I2M2; Mondy et al., 2012) construction.

* Analysis of uncertainty propagation during the successive steps (field sampling, sample unit analysis, data digitization, individual metric/index calculation) of the ecological status evaluation.

* Contribution to the study of uncertainties related to the results of a complementary invertebrate-based diagnostic tool (Mondy & Usseglio-Polatera, 2013), based on conditional tree forest models, evaluating the individual risk of invertebrate assemblage impairment by 17 types of physico-chemical, hydromorphological and/or watershed land-use-related stressor types.

Other potential task:

* Cooperation with two other post-docs in the study of uncertainties related to the results of diagnostic tools evaluating the risk of impairment of diatom (cf. Larras et al., 2017) and fish (cf. Dézerald et al., unpublished) communities by specific types of physico-chemical, hydromorphological and/or watershed land-use-related stressor types.

* Potential participation in field sampling and experiments of the lab (if desired)

This position will be under the supervision of both Pr. Philippe Usseglio-Polatera ([email protected]) and Dr. Elise Billoir ([email protected]) [LIEC, CNRS UMR 7360, “Stress Ecology” (ECOSE) group, University of Lorraine, Metz, France].

The successful candidate will collaborate with at least the project coordinators, two other post-doctoral students and Master students working mainly on the development of (i) “early warning indicators” of anthropogenic stress and (ii) multi-scale ecological risk modeling in rivers. He will also interact with national partners involved in such topics [e.g. the French Agency for Biodiversity (AFB), the National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture (IRSTEA), the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), Water Agencies, and the Ministry of Ecology].

Cited references:
MONDY C., VILLENEUVE B., ARCHAIMBAULT V., USSEGLIO-POLATERA P. 2012. A new macroinvertebrate based multimetric index (I2M2) to evaluate ecological quality of French wadeable streams fulfilling the WFD demands: a taxonomical and trait approach. Ecological Indicators, 18, 452-467.
MONDY C. & USSEGLIO-POLATERA P. 2013. Using conditional tree forests and life history traits to assess specific risks of stream degradation under multiple pressure scenario. Science of the Total Environment, 461/462, 750-760.
LARRAS F., BILLOIR E., GAUTREAU E., COULAUD R., ROSEBERY J., USSEGLIO-POLATERA P. 2017. Assessing anthropogenic pressures on streams: a random forest approach based on benthic diatom communities. Science of the Total Environment, 586, 1101-1112.

Starting date: April 1st, 2018 or as agreed

Contract duration: Full time temporary position for 12 months

Gross Salary: 2400-2760 €/Month (depending on previous experiences)

Your profile:
– PhD in biostatistics or ecology with good training in descriptive/inferential statistics utilization on large data sets. Applications are particularly encouraged from candidates with (i) expertise in multivariate analyses, null models, random forest models, and/or Bayesian statistics and (ii) interests in invertebrate field sampling, aquatic ecology and trait-based approaches. A previous experience in uncertainty evaluation would be appreciated.
– Excellent background in R software utilization.
– Research interest and background in interdisciplinary aquatic sciences projects.
– Dynamic, enthusiastic and autonomous character
– Fluent in spoken as well as written English, with good knowledge in spoken French (or at least enthusiasm to learn French): an additional advantage for contacts with representatives from French administrations.
– Excellent communication skills.

To apply: Interested applicants are requested to send a detailed letter describing their motivation and competences, a complete and updated Curriculum Vitae, a list of publications, addresses of 3 potential referees, and a summary of their PhD thesis (2 pages max). Applications and informal queries should be sent by e-mail to: [email protected] and [email protected]
You are welcome to submit your application no later than 31 March 2018.

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