Junior Research Scientist in ecology - Vulnerability and resilience of ecosystem services in mediterranean context


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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

This position is offered within the RECOVER unit, which focuses on research related to environmental risks and the functioning of Mediterranean ecosystems. The position is located within the EMR team that works on wildfire risks, forest dynamics, and ecosystem services (ES), particularly those associated with Mediterranean forests and landscape under climate constraints and disturbance regimes. Your mission will be to conduct research on the vulnerability and resilience of ecosystem services in the context of global changes. Additionally, you will be responsible for proposing solutions to mitigate the risks of ES losses associated with these environmental and societal transformations.

Your work will align with approaches in functional ecology and community ecology at the landscape scale. Previous work conducted within the team has centred on expert opinion assessments of the ES capacities of forest ecosystems. You are expected to establish a deeper and more specific connection between ES capacities and the functions of these ecosystems. Various hypotheses could be explored, primarily focusing on the influence of net primary productivity and its associated structures (biomass, vegetation cover) on the ecosystem's ability to provide a wide range of provisioning services (wood, fibre, energy, food) as well as regulating services (air quality, carbon sequestration, erosion control). In the Mediterranean region, net primary productivity is particularly impacted during disturbances (fires, droughts) leading to forest decline. Its dynamics are likely to constrain the resilience of the forest system and affect its ability to provide ES. The role of biodiversity, especially the diversity in functional groups, will be worth exploring as a resilience lever and primary driver for the provision of provisioning, regulating, and some cultural services (iconic values, recreational activities).

Your project will initially focus on evaluating the impact of vegetation cover, characterized in terms of biomass and species composition, on a limited set of ecosystem services. These services will need to be identified and argued for based on their importance in Mediterranean forest and shrubland environments. For this, you can rely on the EMR team scientists working on the ecological dynamics of forest ecosystems under climate constraints and at risk of fire, as well as on the ecological evaluation of ecosystem services. Subsequently, you will address the temporal dimension of the vulnerability of forest ecosystems and ES to risks. Specifically, the aim will be to characterize the ability of ecosystems to provide services that vary throughout the year and also during forest succession.

This research requires the acquisition and processing of spatial data, and you will benefit from the support of engineers working in this field (particularly on remotely-acquired information) within the EMR team and the cross-cutting GeoRECOVER unit. Finally, your work will be part of national and European networks and consortia focusing on the themes of risks, climate, and ecosystem services.

Travel in France or abroad (driving license required), field work for a part

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

PhD in Ecology, or equivalent
Experience in the ecological evaluation of ecosystem services.
Skills are expected in modeling ecological processes or ecosystem services (e.g., Bayesian models, neural networks, biostatistics.

Programming skills (e.g., Python, R) and geomatics expertise are appreciated
You will have the taste and aptitude for interdisciplinary work.
You possess strong conceptualization skills and have the ability to work in a team as well as within a network of collaborations.

Proficiency in English is required; long-term international experience is desired. Candidates who have not yet had this experience will be required to complete a stay abroad following their internship 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.

For international scientists: please visit your guide to facilitate your arrival and stay at INRAE

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2024-ECODIV-2
  • Corps: CR
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 4
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