Job environment
The INRAE research unit GenPhySE ( located near Toulouse, France. The overall research objective of the lab is to better understand the genetics and physiological processes underlying phenotypes of livestock in their environment. Research activities range from fundamental investigation of the structure and functional organization of genomes to finalized questions on livestock breeding and designing more sustainable livestock production systems. The post-doc will take place in a research group focusing on sheep and goat genetics (GeSPR team, Animal Genetics INRAE division). The post-doc will also be co-supervised by the Mathematics and Numerics INRAE division (MathNum), which will bring a methodological expertise for the calibration and exploration of complex models. The postdoc will also benefit from a steering community including experts on resource allocation modelling (other INRAE units, Roslin Institute, UK).

To breed animals adapted to climate change and to agroecological conditions, researches in animal breeding need to better understand and model the potential trade-offs between productivity traits (e.g. growth rate, reproductive output) and adaptive capacities (e.g. body reserves) of animals. To address this challenge, the resource allocation theory developed in evolutionary biology offers an interesting framework but the validity of this framework is still uncertain in livestock species. In particular, the hypothesis that genetic variation exists in terms of resource allocation between functions has not been directly tested. Resource allocation models then provide a tool to describe and to quantify an individual’s resource allocation strategy, for instance through a combination of resource allocation parameters. However, estimating the genetic variability among such parameters that are not directly observable, is challenging compared to others traits that are directly measured (e.g. body weight, milk yield).
The post-doc will tackle these challenges by applying an energy allocation model that has been developed by the host team in meat sheep to experimental data from a prolific meat sheep reared in two contrasting herd environments (controlled versus variable). Specifically, the postdoc will focus on the potential trade-off between ewe reproductive effort during pregnancy and lactation (energy expenditure to ensure lambs growth and survival until weaning) and the maintenance of maternal condition (ewe body reserves).
The two main objectives of the post-doc are (i) to integrate the resource allocation model into quantitative genetic methods, and (ii) to estimate genetic parameters of the trade-off between reproductive effort and maternal condition.

• A PhD in animal science/ecology or/and mathematics/statistics applied to biology
• Strong quantitative skills with experience in statistical and mathematical analyses
• Experience in mechanistic or process-based models
• Knowledge of quantitative genetics theory
• Abilities to deal with large datasets
• Writing and communication capacities
Postdoctoral contract duration: up to 18 months (depending on starting date)
Starting date: from 1st of April and at latest the 1st of July 2022
Gross salary: about 2500-2700 € /month according to the level of experiences

Contact persons (for application or any question):
Frédéric Douhard (
Ronan Trépos (
Dominique Hazard (

Application deadline: May 15th 2022

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