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One year post doc position in seabird biotelemetry and population dynamics

Grant RW Humphries, July 29, 2015

Within the framework of a project funded by the French Agency for Marine Protected Areas, we are looking for an inspired Post Doc, to lead cutting-edge research in seabird biological conservation.

Posting: Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, Montpellier, France.

Project leaders: David Grémillet and Aurélien Besnard.
Starting date: 1st November 2015
Duration: One year (potentially extendable to two years)
Application deadline: 1st September 2015

Opportunity and training: This project will provide the Post-Doctoral fellow with the opportunity to use an extensive seabird (shearwater) tracking data base and long-term population monitoring to address essential issues in movement ecology, population dynamics and conservation biology, and to publish in leading ecological journals. The research will mainly focus on data analysis and writing, but will also include fieldwork (seabird telemetry). It will be conducted in collaboration with other marine research institutions in the Mediterranean, and will be of direct use to a wide range of stakeholders, especially for the agency for marine protected areas (AAMP) and the managers of the Parc National des Calanques off Marseille.

Context: The CEFE Montpellier has been commissioned by the AAMP to perform biotelemetry studies of Shearwaters in French Mediterranean waters across 2011-2012, and to map their at-sea habitats (Péron et al. Biological Conservation 2013; Péron & Grémillet PLOS-ONE 2013; Authier et al. Methods in Ecology & Evolution 2013 ; see also : ). These investigations have been pursued within the framework of the OSU-OREME ( ), across 2014-2015. Multi-year, multicolony GPS-tracking showed that shearwaters (Scopoli and Yelkouan) extensively use coastal areas along the French Mediterranean coast, and the Gulf of Lion area. Further, the Parc National des Calanques off Marseille has been performing >20 year monitoring of the vital rates of Scopoli’s shearwaters breeding on the Island of Riou, on the basis of >200 individually-marked breeding adults. Both GPS-tracking and population monitoring show that shearwaters are, for a series of ecological and practical reasons, serious candidates as ecological indicators (or samplers of state variables, sensu Yoccoz et al. TREE 2001).

Project objectives: The overall aim of the project is to verify and establish the status of Scopoli’s shearwaters as ecological indicators in the western Mediterranean. To this aim, the Post Doc will explore two sets of state variables, and their functional links with environmental parameters:
1) The reproductive performance and annual survival rates of adult shearwaters, as determined through a >20 year mark-recapture study of individually-marked birds, will be confronted with environmental conditions, both at their Mediterranean breeding site and across their non-breeding migratory areas in the Atlantic.
2) The at-sea home-range and foraging effort of birds are also tightly linked to marine resources, and the ecological state of the western Mediterranean during the breeding season. These state variables, determined via electronic tracking and stable isotopic analyses of trophic status, will therefore be confronted with environmental conditions, especially the spatio-temporal availability of small pelagic fish in the western Mediterranean.
Finally, exploratory analyses will be conducted upon the potential impact of a forthcoming offshore wind farm on foraging Scopoli’s shearwaters. These analyses will be fed into a project application aiming at extending this Post Doc to a second year.

Expected outcomes:
Two scientific publications in international research journals. The Post Doc will also be in charge of promoting his/her work through a variety of media (dedicated web portal, social media, educative online videos) and by attending meetings with the AAMP and further stakeholders.

Required skills:
The candidate should have (1) Strong computational, analytical and mapping skills, as the candidate will have to deal with large databases, to download and format remote-sensing biotic/abiotic information, to perform sophisticated statistical analyses and modelling of time series as well as of spatial data, and to adequately graph/map research outcomes. (2) A taste for writing, as the work will involve reporting to the Agency for Marine Protected Areas, as well as publishing two papers in high-profiled journals. (3) The capacity to conduct seabird fieldwork involving GPS-recorder deployments on sensitive wildlife, and to function in the most secure manner in an isolated insular environment. (4) The candidate will be expected to be fairly independent across the project, including the writing up of papers. (3) French language skills are a plus, but not mandatory.

Salary and terms: please contact us for detailed information
Location: The Post Doc fellow will be based at the Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive in Montpellier, France
Project partners: David Grémillet and Aurélien Besnard (coordinators, CEFE-CNRS), Elodie Debize (Parc National des Calanques, Marseille), Boris Daniel (Agence des Aires Marines Protégées). Collaborations will also be maintained with Capucine Mellon and Claire Saraux (IFREMER Sète), and with Frédéric Bouchette (Géosciences Montpellier).

Applications: Please send your CV and motivation letter to: David Grémillet, CEFE-CNRS, Montpellier, France Email: