This 18-months’ post-doctoral fellow is funded by the new Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Transition (ITEM – Aix Marseille University), an interdisciplinary initiative aiming to tackle the challenges of the ongoing climate nexus, and will begin on 1st November 2021.

The postdoctoral position is part of the POP-TRANSITION project (From reglementary to emerging pollutants, impacts of regulations on ecological transition on the Mediterranean coast). The POP-TRANSITION project contributes to the ambitious effort to monitor chemical pollutants in key coastal habitats of the Mediterranean Sea and consequences for the ecosystem health and functioning. Aiming to assess the impacts of emerging Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) on Posidonia oceanica seagrass, it involves five research institutions and one private company to manage various aspects ranging from underwater sampling to assessing fishermen’s perception of coastal pollutions.
The position is a fixed term for a period of 18 months. It focuses on epiphytic communities that develop on the surface of leaves, their susceptibility to pollutants and their capacity to concentrate them in various environmental situations. Since summer 2017, a network of instrumented stations has been setup near Marseille, at several seagrass sites so to cover various degrees of anthropization. The POP-TRANSITION project will extend the network of instrumented station to the Rhône delta so to capture pollutants drained by the Rhône River.
Former steps of the environmental monitoring of Posidonia seagrass have allowed to collect environmental data and biological and sediment samples at three seasons per year. In parallel to measuring trace metals and metalloids (TMM) contaminants in Posidonia leaves, epiphytes and sediment samples, a metabarcoding approach based on environmental DNA (eDNA) extraction and amplicon sequencing has been developed to decipher epiphytic assemblages.
The post-doctoral fellow will be involved on three ecological aspects of the project:

1. A bibliographic synthesis on biodiversity changes recorded in the Mediterranean littoral for past years to produce a bibliographic review.

2. A deep analysis of already compiled time series of environmental parameters (temperature, light, sediment deposition, epiphyte abundance and pollutant diversity …) acquired during 2017 – 2021 campaigns. Data analyses aim to i) disentangle the spatial autocorrelation and temporal changes of environmental parameters occurring at several seagrass sites, ii) explore alpha- and beta- diversity of epiphytic assemblages their composition and dynamic, iii) analyze the relationships between environmental conditions and diversity proxies. Indicator species and other assemblage descriptors associated to pollutant levels are also expected as output of the project.

3. Participation to the ongoing monitoring study through the organization of sea campaigns, the gathering of new samples and analysis in relation to contamination by recent or emerging POPs.

The candidate should have obtained a PhD degree in a research field related to ecology or environmental chemistry with proficiency in multivariate and multifactorial analysis. Expertise on joint species modelling methods such as Gjam (Clarck et al 2017) or HMSC (Ovaskainen et al. 2017) is not mandatory but their use should be seriously considered during the realization of the project.
The ability to propose and develop his/her own questioning and analysis method is encouraged.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential.
Expertise with R programming languages is required.

PostDoctoral fellowship for 18 months duration
Gross salary: 2466-2891 € per month depending on the experience for the first year increasing to 2770-3197 € per month for the second year.

Environmental Chemistry
Marine sciences

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