OPEN COMPETITIONS CR-2021-ECODIV-5

Junior Research Scientist in interactions wild ungulates-pathogens

31320 CASTANET TOLOSAN

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INRAE presentation

The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment under the dual authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Research.

INRAE is recruiting researchers by open competition and offering permanent position.

It is a major player in research and innovation created on 1st of January 2020. INRAE is a research institute resulting from the merger of INRA and IRSTEA. It is a community of 12,000 people with more than 200 research units and 42 experimental units located throughout France.

The institute is among the world leaders in agricultural and food sciences, in plant and animal sciences, and is 11th in the world in ecology and environment. INRAE’s main goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. In the face of the increase in population, climate change, scarcity of resources and decline in biodiversity, the institute develops solutions for multiperformance agriculture, high quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.

Work environment, missions and activities

The CEFS laboratory (Behaviour and Ecology of Wildlife) works on the behavioural ecology of wild ungulate populations, which are key agents at the wildlife-livestock-human interface. Researchers specialising in movement ecology, demography and the eco-physiology of stress, study how life history traits vary in these wild ungulate populations in relation to the environment and individual characteristics to predict the impact of landscape heterogeneity and climate change on the population dynamics of ungulates. The CEFS Unit has developed collaborations with local (ENVT, IHAP, UMR Genphyse, UMR Dynafor), national (veterinary schools, OFB, animal health laboratories at INRAE and ANSES, IRD and CNRS) and international (EURODEER network) partners to build projects combining eco-epidemiology and behavioural ecology in relation to current health-related objectives.
Wildlife is involved in the circulation of a variety of pathogens and vectors that pose a public health risk, with contrasting effects (reservoir, amplification, dilution…) depending on the host-pathogen system and environmental conditions. In the context of climate change, zoonotic risks involving wildlife are increasing due to modifications in the distribution, life history traits and physiology of their hosts, pathogens and vectors (e.g. Lyme disease).
In this context, certain species of wildlife may be considered as bioindicator species enabling the ecology of a pathogen to be explored, the risk associated with its presence to be monitored, and agencies and public policy-makers to be informed. Wild ungulates are good candidate species to act as bioindicators due to their abundance, the ease of sampling during hunting, their exposure to a variety of vectors and pathogens, and their frequent overlap with human activities (breeding, agriculture, recreation). This potential needs to be evaluated by studying i) the role of wild ungulates in the circulation of diseases in livestock and human populations in a changing environment, and ii) the inter-individual variation in the response of animals to infections (immunity, behaviour, performance) that may complicate the interpretation of the monitoring data.
You will study how wild ungulate populations respond to the general increase in certain pathogens and vectors, and how this might affect health risks for humans and domestic livestock in relation to the degree of anthropisation of the landscape. Initially, the work will focus on the roe deer as a model species, exploiting the long-term monitoring supervised by the CEFS in the PYGAR workshop zone and the Gardouch experimental facility. In the former, you will have access to a unique database which is added to each year (> 500 deer monitored for their spatial behaviour, personality, physiology, immune genotype, pathogen load). You will adopt an individual-level approach focused on the host-parasite relationship along environmental gradients to establish how individuals differ in their anti-parasite tactics linked to their phenotype. From an applied perspective, inter-individual variation will be taken into account to better explain the propagation of pathogens (e.g. super-spreader individuals) and to evaluate their potential as bioindicators. You will study deer-vector-parasite interactions (exposure factors, immune defences and infection dynamics) at the experimental facility through the intensive observation of captive deer in small enclosures in a mini woodland ecosystem.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.
Skills in community ecology, evolutionary ecology, or eco-epidemiology would be desirable. Expertise in veterinary sciences, host-parasite interactions or eco-immunology would be appreciated.
Candidates should have a good command of English, and long-term international experience would also be desirable. Successful candidates who have not yet acquired this experience abroad will be required to do so after their probationary period (1st year).

INRAE's life quality

By joining our teams, you benefit from:

- 30 days of annual leave + 15 days "Reduction of Working Time" (for a full time);
- parenting support: CESU childcare, leisure services;
- skills development systems: training, career advise;
- social support: advice and listening, social assistance and loans;
- holiday and leisure services: holiday vouchers, accommodation at preferential rates;
sports and cultural activities;
- collective catering.

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2021-ECODIV-5
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 16

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