20 months Postdoctoral fellowship: Molecular basis of responses to climate warming in an ectotherm species

At the Department of Evolution & Biological Diversity, France (Toulouse, CNRS – UPS)

Project objectives

The position is offered within an ANR project, FRADISYN. This project aims at understanding the consequences of fragmentation and global warming on a lizard species, the common lizard (Zootoca vivipara). The major objective is to predict responses to global warming through plastic and evolutionary changes of dispersal behaviour and thermal physiology (heat absorption, thermal preferences). We created, in a semi-natural experimental system, several habitat patches connected by corridors and manipulated for their climatic conditions. In order to study how common lizards can adapt to global warming, we measured phenotypic variation (behaviour, melanism and thermal preferences) and life history traits (dispersal, survival, growth) through successive generations of populations maintained in different climatic conditions (e.g. Bestion et al. 2015, Plos Biol., Bestion et al. 2015 Eco. Lett.). Using this approach allows us to tease apart the influence of dispersal, selection and phenotypic plasticity into the response to climate change.

The post-doc fellow will primarily work on the molecular part of the project. Along with the monitoring of phenotypic traits, we collected DNA samples on all individuals and we recently obtained the transcriptome of few individuals characterized for their phenotype (dispersal, behaviour, melanism and thermal preferences) and from different climatic conditions. The main objective for the post-doc fellow is to detect genomic footprints of selection in response to climate change. The work will be performed in two steps: (i) thanks to this transcriptome and to the existing literature, we will select few candidate genes to be sequenced on a subset of individuals to study the selection processes which occurred during the past experiments on the basis of nucleotidic polymorphism. (ii) Furthermore, we started a long-term experiment manipulating climatic conditions and connectivity among patches in a full-crossed design. This experiment will provide the opportunity to monitor simultaneously the changes in nucleotidic polymorphism and in gene expression in response to warmer climates and fragmentation.

Task of the postdoctoral fellow

The recruited researcher will be in charge of 1) selecting candidate genes from the literature and the transcriptomic dataset, 2) performing the associated molecular biology work (extraction, PCR, sequencing), 3) collecting extra samples for gene expression analyses and performing these analyses (including qPCR) and 5) analyzing data (population genetic framework) and writing articles. This work will likely lead to, at least, two articles as a first author.

Required skills

Able to manage research and administrative activities
Knowledge in evolutionary ecology and the molecular basis of evolution.
Conceptual and technical knowledge in molecular biology
Able to actively participate as a member of a research team.
Good written and verbal communication skills
Experience with genomic data manipulation and statistical analysis

Closing of the applications: 15/02/2016
Effective start date: April-May 2016

Gross monthly salary: ~1850 € free of taxes
Applications to be sent to / Information to be taken with:
Thank you for sending CV, cover letter and contact details of at least two references.


Dr. Julien Cote
Email : [email protected]
Website : http://www.juliencote.fr/

Dr. Delphine Legrand
Email : [email protected]

Other people involved

Dr. Elvire Bestion, Dr. Simon Blanchet, Dr. Adam Richards, Dr. Murielle Richard, Félix Pellerin, Lucie Di Gesu.

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Pout toute autre question, vous pouvez contacter [email protected].