Agriculture is the primary land use in earth. Over the past half century, agriculture has provided increasing food supplies, but contributed massively to greenhouse gases, biodiversity loss, agrochemical pollution and soil degradation (Tilman et al. 2002). By simultaneously directly altering the functioning of ecosystem and reducing biodiversity worldwide, partial or complete loss of services provided by these ecosystems are now threatening the future of food production. The recognition of the need to better balance food production and ecosystem sustainability calls for managing multiple ecosystem services simultaneously. However, this is extremely challenging and we still have relatively little understanding of the ecology behind the provision of ecosystem services (Kremen & Ostfeld 2005). The doctoral project will examine how multiple ecosystem services (e.g. crop yield, pollination, the persistence of flagship species) change with farming practices (inputs, e.g. nitrogen and pesticides), and land use across the landscape. The study system will thus encompass the complex interrelated interactions between wild plants (weeds)-pollinators-crop, honey production and biodiversity (see Bretagnolle & Gaba 2015 for further details). The doctoral project will rely heavily on statistical modelling analysis of large temporal and spatial scale empirical databases on weeds (weed surveys available on thousands of fields), farm interviews (over 2000 available), pollination exclusion experiments and biodiversity surveys. The PhD will benefit from all data collected on the LTSER Zone Atelier Plaine & Val de Sèvre (http://www.za.plainevalsevre.cnrs.fr/) collected, for some, since 1994.
This doctoral opportunity is a part of the project « POLLINISATEURS » (leading PI – Vincent Bretagnolle), supported by French Ministry of Ecology. Additional funding for this PhD comes from the Nouvelle Aquitaine Region and on-going projects on the LTSER Zone Atelier Plaine & Val de Sèvre.
We are looking for an ambitious and highly motivated PhD student with a completed master degree in ecology or applied statistics. Documented experiences with statistical modelling, GIS analyses, and large relational databases are strong assets during the evaluation process. Deep knowledge of R is a must. The candidate should be fluent in English and has a good ability to formulate himself/herself both orally and in writing. Knowledge of French is recommended but not mandatory. We put a great emphasis on personal characteristics of the successful applicant, solid work ethic, and in particular – the ability to independently manage a large volume of analytical tasks and to meet reporting and publication deadlines.
The position is supported by three years fellowship for a PhD salary (the net salary is fixed by CNRS nationally, and is around ~ 20k€ per year). The successful candidate will join a dynamic and international team of the Biological Center of Chizé, France. He/She will be closely integrated in a number of national projects aiming at analyses of global change on farmland biodiversity and farming at the entire social-ecological interface (http://www.za.plainevalsevre.cnrs.fr/ and www.cebc.cnrs.fr). The PhD candidate will be supervised by Sabrina Gaba (Director of Research at INRA). Amongst the closest collaborators, V. Bretagnolle (CNRS) and J. Chadoeuf (Inra) will actively contribute to the PhD mentoring.
It is expected that this 3-year PhD project will start in the late fall of 2017. Interested students should send their CV and a cover letter (2 to 3 pages max) that states why the candidate is interested in the PhD project and presents his/her scientific project. Please email complete applications to S. Gaba, sabrina.gaba{at]inra.fr. Letters of recommendation are welcome. Deadline for sending application for this position is August the 25th, 2017.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview session in Chizé or by visioconference (if necessary).

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