LABEX BCDIV, National Museum of Natural History
Postdoctoral Project: Valorisation of natural history collections and natural expeditions for the conservation and management of deep environments: the unique case of the Tropical Deep Sea Benthos program
Supervisors: Sarah Samadi (UMR 7205 ISYEB), Boris Leroy (UMR 7208 BOREA), Maud Mouchet (UMR 7204 CESCO)
The fauna of deep sea benthos remains a frontier of biodiversity knowledge and its sensitivity to human activities is therefore unknown. In the rush toward new marine biological or mineral resources, governments and international authorities ask for more insights on this little-known but most likely threatened biodiversity. The Tropical Deep Sea Benthos (TDSB) program is a unique and massive source of data. More than 80 campaigns in the Indo-Pacific, including 38 in New Caledonia, have produced more than 4000 species descriptions along with a large number of georeferenced records of taxonomic occurrences, genetic diversity and environmental data. One of the main strengths of these data is the taxonomic accuracy that, unlike the commonly used operational taxonomic units (OTUs), facilitated comparisons between studies. However, the drawback of the TDSB program lies in a sampling scheme aiming at maximizing the discovery of new taxa. This non-uniform and non-hierarchical sampling scheme requires the development of specific methods for a robust analysis of the distribution of biodiversity.
This project aims at studying deep-sea biodiversity patterns in New Caledonia and in the Indo-Pacific region based on data associated with natural history collections collected during the TDSB campaigns and deposited at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle. For this purpose, robust statistical models are ought to be developed in order to strengthen the outcomes of the TDSB program so as to respond to the challenges raised by the race for new resources (mineral and living) from the deep-sea environments and the desire to protect deep-sea biodiversity. The project is organized around three axes: (1) spatial and taxonomic characterisation of the distribution of the sampling effort; (2) study of the relative importance of environmental and historical factors in structuring the distribution of deep-sea biodiversity; (3) mapping biodiversity patterns to identify sensitive areas.
The project will allow the development of a methodological framework for processing the collection data for conservation purposes, by optimising the study scale and producing novel results such as synthetic maps on the structure of deep benthic community. The observed patterns of biodiversity, rarity and community structure will help identifying sensitive zones for deep-sea biodiversity. One step further, this work should feed the debate on the conservation and the management of these environments undergoing anthropogenic threats with tangible elements. The question of the diversity indicators to be used for conservation will be discussed.
Applicants must hold a PhD before the starting date of the contract (1st November 2017). Applications must contain a detailed CV, a statement of research interests, a cover letter and a copy of the PhD certificate, concatenated in one pdf file. Applications should be sent to Sarah Samadi ([email protected]), Boris Leroy ([email protected]) and Maud Mouchet ([email protected]) before 11th June 2017, 12 am.
Selected candidates will be interviewed between the 20th to 27th June. The successful candidate will hold a 24-month position contract, starting no later than 1st November 2017. The salary will be given according to CNRS salary scales, accounting for the experience of the recruited candidate.

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