Junior Research Scientist in fish behaviour ecology


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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 ECOBIOP lab studies the behavioural ecology of fishes as well as the eco-evolutionary dynamics of their populations. We mostly target diadromous species (which life cycles encompass both freshwater and marine water) and focus on the influence of anthropogenic perturbations (e.g., climate change, fishing, water pollution, loss of connectivity, and stocking practices). The ultimate goal of our research is to contribute to the preservation of biodiversity for fish populations and ensure the resilience of associated ecosystem services. ECOBIOP endeavours to investigate ecological mechanisms at various spatio-temporal and organisational scales, from genes to metapopulations. To do so, we combine various disciplines : genetics, physiology, evolution, demography, behavioural ecology. We use experiments in controlled or in natura conditions, empirical observations and monitorings as well as in silico simulations. Our biological models are usually exploited species, presenting contrasted life cycles, traits, conservation status and stakes, such as salmonids, European eel, lampreys or shads.

Behavioural variation at various levels (within and between individuals, between populations or environments) could be a powerful adaptive mechanism in face of rapid environmental change. Yet, we still know little about its contribution to intraspecific diversity maintenance and to adaptive dynamics of populations. It is therefore one of the main challenges to undertake in Ecology.

You will develop a research project in behavioural ecology, focusing on this high variation in behaviours (be it competition, migration, cooperation, reproduction) in changing environments. The general goal will be to estimate the fitness costs and benefits of individual choices, as a function of the mean or the variance of environmental change. Environmental variation will be either abiotic (e.g. temperature), biotic (e.g. density), or both. You will use empirical and/or experimental approaches, in either controlled or natural environments, benefiting from the lab facilities and equipment, and you will confront your findings to the current theoretical predictions. Through collaborations, you might want to integrate proximal constraints (allocation, energy budget, syndromes) or genetic determinants of behaviours expression. Your research will contribute to the lab’s ambitions to develop models for predictive ecology, especially by developing new knowledge about the selective value of individual variation in behaviour.

You will be able to contribute to teaching, notably in behavioural ecology, at the UPPA (Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour). Within the INRAE scientific ECODIV department, your research will contribute to the understanding of the role of behaviour on the dynamics of natural or near-natural ecosystems, along with other biological models. Finally, you will benefit from existing national or international networks of collaborators in academic sciences or biodiversity managers, such as the MacLIFE international lab with Bilbao and Berkeley scientific teams, or the research and development consortium MIAME with the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB).

Our research team tells you more about your future job

Work in natural environments, possibly in isolation.
Driving licence required to access distant study sites.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.
Required skills
-PhD in ecology or biology
-Research experience in behavioural ecology
-Ability to build and perform sampling strategies and experimental protocols
Recommended skills :
-Statistic modelling
-Ability to work in a team, with technician and scientists
-Fluent English speaking and writing
-An international research experience is recommended. A successful applicant not checking this condition will be asked to do a post-doctoral international stay after being hired.

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

All persons employed by or hosted at INRAE, a public research establishment, are subject to its internal regulations, particularly with regard to the obligation of neutrality and respect for the principle of secularism. In carrying out their functions, whether or not they are in contact with the public, they must not express their religious, philosophical or political convictions through their behaviour or by what they wear.  

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2024-ECODIV-4
  • Corps: CR
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 5
Living in France and working at INRAE Our guide for international scientists

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