PhD position available. Conservation and engineering of aquatic ecosystems: a large-scale experimental approach.
Research units: UMR 7618 Institut d’Ecologie et des Sciences de l’Environnement de Paris (iEES-Paris), Université Pierre et marie Curie, 7 Quai St Bernard, 75252 Paris cedex 05. UMR 7204 Centre d’Ecologie et des Sciences de la Conservation (CESCO), Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, CP 135, 43 rue Buffon 75005 Paris.
Description: Terrestrial, marine or freshwater ecosystems are impacted by multiple anthropogenic changes that simultaneously perturb food webs from the bottom (e.g., eutrophication) and from the top (e.g., loss of top predators). Classically, the conservation and restoration of such perturbed ecosystems is undertaken either from the perspective of maintaining rare species (conservationist view) or from the perspective of maintaining ecosystem services (functional view). We believe that the current acceleration of global changes urges the synthesis of conservationist and functional views in order to develop novel conservation and restoration tools. To that aim, this PhD project gathers the CESCO and iEES in a large-scale, ground breaking experiment performed in the 16 lakes of the Experimental Lake Platform (ELP) at the CEREEP (www.foljuif.ens.fr).
In the ELP, we simulate the eutrophication (high vs. low phosphorus) and presence vs. absence of super predators in a replicated, factorial design (n = 4 lakes per treatment). Lake size (750 m3) provides the unique opportunity to manipulate super predators on the long term. Additionally, the lakes further include a strong spatial heterogeneity with distinct pelagic, benthic and littoral zones as present in natural lakes. To our knowledge, such a high level of biological integration has never been achieved before in a replicated, experimental design. In this project, the successful student will use individual mark-recapture to measure the effects of anthropogenic perturbations on the translocation success of a complex fish community including rare species. Additionally, through measuring biomasses in the different compartments of the ecosystem, the student will explore how ecosystem functioning responds to the simulated perturbations and to the translocation success (or failure) of the different fish species in the community.
Keywords: Biodiversity, Conservation, Community dynamics, Eutrophication, Food web, Green and brown food chains, Super predators, Translocation.
Funding: UPMC CARESE PhD fellowship granted to iEES and CESCO.
Candidate profile: We are looking for a highly motivated engineer (Master’s degree or equivalent) having a strong interest in integrative approaches coupling conservation biology with community and functional ecology. The successful candidate should further demonstrate good capacities for field work as well as a solid track record in statistical modelling. Experience with mark-recapture and its statistical analysis is appreciated. Finally, the candidate should have obtained good grades and ranking at the master’s degree.
Contact: Please, send your application in a single pdf file to Eric Edeline ([email protected]) and Maud Mouchet ([email protected]). The file should include (1) a detailed CV, (2) a cover letter putting forward relevant training, (3) a copy of grades and rank for both the master 1 and master 2 degrees, (4) name and contact information for two referees. We recommend that you send your application as soon as possible and by no later than July 1st 2016. We will examine applications and organize auditions as they are coming along.
Starting date for the PhD contract: September-October 2016.