We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher to work at the interface between two projects that aim at (1) turning agronomy and biodiversity data into knowledge (D2KAB: https://d2kab.mystrikingly.com), and (2) understanding how to use agrobiodiversity to enhance the resilience of olive growing systems in the face of climate change (ClimOliveMed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLF5sECSZec).
Olive (Olea europaea L., Oleaceae) is an iconic fruit tree species for human societies in the Mediterranean. It is a structural element of many Mediterranean agroecosystems and is currently a major global source of edible oil, whose demand is sharply increasing due to its high nutritional value. Predicted climatic changes in the Mediterranean Basin (MB hereafter), especially the combination of warming and drought, could challenge the maintenance of olive production, and hence farmers’ incomes. Olive is a sclerophyllous, drought-resistant species that occupies a wide range of climatic conditions encountered in the MB. This extensive distribution goes with large genetic and phenotypic diversities, but we currently lack a broad perspective on how the different olive varieties cope with drought across the MB. The postdoctoral project aims at identifying those varieties more likely to thrive in drier environments, using a trait-based approach to olive agrobiodiversity. The successful candidate will be in charge of synthesizing and analyzing data from multiple sources, and make them truly FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) in the perspective of transforming these data into relevant knowledge, allowing us to better understand how traits relate to drought in olive.
Objectives and research subject
The aim of the work is to get a better understanding of which functional traits of olive trees are involved in their adaptation to drought. In a first step, the wealth of morpho-anatomical and ecophysiological data available on olive trees will be assembled from various sources (published and unpublished studies, available online databases, etc.). These data will then be combined with the climatic conditions of (1) the location where the different studies have been conducted, (2) the growing area of the studied varieties and (3) their geographic area of origin, which will be formalized building on preliminary work conducted in the ClimOliveMed project (part of a PhD work funded by the “International Olive Council”). This integration of data will be conducted in a semantic web context, using available metadata frameworks (e.g. Ecological Metadata Language, EML: https://eml.ecoinformatics.org/) and terminological resources for plant traits (e.g. the Thesaurus Of Plant Characteristics, TOP: https://www.top-thesaurus.org). A specific module of the Crop Ontology (https://alliancebioversityciat.org/tools-innovations/crop-ontology) devoted to olive will be developed, and aligned with the TOP concepts.
The main expected outcomes of this work are: (1) an improved description of the olive phenotype formalized according to semantically sound principles; (2) a comprehensive assessment of the distribution of major phenotypic traits in olive; (3) the mapping of olive trait variability across the MB, and (4) the identification of functional dimensions (i.e. groups of correlated traits reflecting constraints and trade-offs that structure the plant phenotype) pertaining to drought adaptation in olive.
The findings derived from the synthesized data will be confronted to results obtained from original data collected in the ClimOliveMed project in two olive germplasm collections located in France (French collection on the Island of Porquerolles) and Morocco (world collection of Tassaout).
Environment and interactions:
The successful candidate will work directly with Eric Garnier (CNRS). He/she will be hosted at the Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive in Montpellier, France (https://www.cefe.cnrs.fr/en/), which is currently the largest French research center in Ecology and Evolutionary Ecology. He/she will strongly interact with colleagues from the D2KAB project on the one hand, and with colleagues at UMR ABSys (Karim Barkaoui, CIRAD; https://umr-absys.cirad.fr) and AGAP (Bouchaïb Khadari, CBN Med; https://umr-agap.cirad.fr/) on the other hand, involved in the ClimOlivMed project.
Montpellier is a hotspot for research in agroecology and ecology and a very dynamic and pleasant place to complete a postdoc program.
The ideal candidate is highly motivated, hardworking and creative, with strong affinities with interdisciplinary science. He/she will have the following general required qualifications:
– A PhD diploma in the field of ecology and/or agronomy; previous experiences in the field of ecoinformatics will be an additional asset;
– He/she will have excellent analytical skills in R and GIS, handling data from multiple sources (including digitized databases and undigitized data, grey literature, maps);
– He/she is expected to work as an independent, autonomous researcher, with an ability and interest to work in an international, interdisciplinary team;
– Good level of English (spoken and written) is needed, as well as spoken French and/or possibly other languages from countries surrounding the Mediterranean Basin.
• Hosted at the Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, Montpellier (France)
• Contract time: 12 months
• Expected starting date: 03/10/2022; no later than 01/12/2022
• Net salary before taxes (non-negotiable): 2 245€
How to apply?
• Applications should be submitted through the CNRS employment portal: https://emploi.cnrs.fr/Offres/CDD/UMR5175-ERIGAR-002/Default.aspx
• Application deadline: 22 August 2022
• Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by visio conference