Doctoral position offer
Title : Effects of urbanization on floodplain ecosystems and biodiversity at the local, regional and global scales
Supervisors: Bernard Kaufmann (MCU, LEHNA), Sylvain Dolédec (PU, LEHNA), Barbara Belletti (Post-doc, EVS)
Laboratory: LEHNA – Ecology of natural and man-impacted hydrosystems Doctoral school: ED 341 E2M2 Evolution, Ecosystems, Microbiology, Modelling Disciplines: ecosystems ecology, conservation biology, geography, hydrobiology
Academic background and skills
The applicant should have master’s degree in ecology, geography or bioinformatics. Strong skills in database management, data analysis (statistics and modelling) and GIS are expected. A broad culture or experience in conservation biology and river ecology is a strong plus. Good communication, teamwork skills and willing to work in an interdisciplinary context are mandatory.
Scientific context and thesis subject
This PhD project is part of GloUrb (Floodplain Urbanization at global scale), a 4 years program funded through ANR - AAPG-2022. GloUrb is an interdisciplinary project, with 5 national (i.e. EVS, LEHNA, ENS-LP, TETIS, GATE)) and 7 international partners (i.e. WWF, Univ. of Denver and Syracuse (US), Concepción (Chile), Wuhan (China), Omar Bongo (Gabon) and IIT Gandhinagar (India)). The PhD is part of a broader cluster working group dealing with the issue of floodplain urbanization at the global scale, which will involve two other PhDs (in social sciences and physics/signal processing), as well as post-docs and master students from different disciplines.
Floodplains are amongst the most threatened and vulnerable ecosystems, but vital for human society, and thereby are highly urbanized at the global scale. Within the GloUrb project, whose aims are to build global references to investigate floodplain urbanization processes and consequences, the PhD project will seek: (1) to specifically address the consequences of urbanization on ecosystem functions and biodiversity in floodplains (including both terrestrial and aquatic components), at different spatial scales, (2) to provide ecological interpretation of the observed trends and changes in floodplain landscapes including a distinction between local (urban vs. non-urban area), regional (catchment) and global (continental) scale drivers. The main research questions addressed will be: how is global urbanization affecting floodplain ecosystem functions and biodiversity? Which are the relationships, if any, between landscape structure and diversity (including natural and urban features), and ecological functions and biodiversity in urbanized floodplains? Can these relationships be used to infer the status of ecosystem functions and biodiversity?
In addition, the information produced by the thesis will be used to increase public awareness, to monitor and prevent threats and to support management of future changes within the context of the whole project.
Three research axes are expected:
1.Meta-analysis of the literature to generate current and diachronic measures of the response of species richness (especially for large mammals, amphibians, birds and aquatic taxa) and functional diversity (species traits) to floodplain urbanization.
2.Construction of two databases: the first one that contains metrics covering floodplain habitat quality, extracted at the landscape scale (i.e. xx km2) for 50-150 sites worldwide (selected along an urbanization gradient provided by other tasks of the GloUrb project); the second one that contains biodiversity information from existing databases on protected or invasive species.
3.Modelling of ecosystem function proxies and biodiversity in relation to selected floodplain urbanization metrics.
Fieldwork is not expected for the thesis, but as the GloUrb team will engage in field missions, the opportunity is open. The PhD contract should start in September 2023 and end in 2026.
40000€ annual gross salary
Application and contact
Applications expected from March 1st -July 15th 2023.
For more information, applicants should contact Bernard Kaufmann.
Applicants will be contacted back for an interview with the GloUrb team.