The ANR Vitibird proposes to conduct researches on the impact of pesticide use on avian populations in French vineyards. The aim of this PhD project is to use a multi-disciplinary approach to provide ground-breaking and comprehensive data regarding the impacts of pesticides on wild birds living in agricultural landscapes, with vineyards as a case example. Within this framework, the CESCO and CEBC are seeking a PhD student to contribute to the research tasks of workpackage 2, targeting avian biodiversity and population trends in vineyards.

Objective 1:
The candidate will first assess the structure of avian communities (abundance and richness), as well as population trends in vineyards, and compare them with other agroecosystems. He/she will use data from the long-term national monitoring STOC program (breeding bird survey), collected from 1989 to 2020. This will provide, for the first time, robust estimates of the temporal changes in avian communities, and population trends in vineyards on a broad geographical scale, and over three decades. For all locations, landscape complexity will be quantified through available historical aerial pictures (IGN, France) using GIS software (percentage of marginal habitats: wood cover, hedgerows, etc.). Pesticides use of each location will also be assessed through available database. The principle is to quantify not only the landscape complexity and the use of pesticides of each census location, but also their evolution from 1989 to 2020.

Objective 2:
After unravelling links between avian trends and pesticide use in vineyards, a second step will be to identify traits that make a species at risk. Using the STOC scheme, the candidate will identify the species that have declined the most in vineyards over the last 30 years. Then, he/she will pinpoint the traits that could increase the sensitivity of birds to the constraints of this agroecosystem. He/she will test whether habitat specialization, and diet may make a species at risk while controlling for other variables that affect population trends. These approaches will be conducted in vineyards with contrasted climates and avian communities (oceanic, continental, Mediterranean vineyards), allowing to study multiple species, and either to generalize our results or to show regional discrepancies

Objective 3:
Finally, the third goal will be to assess the degree of avian contamination by pesticides in French vineyards and to relate this to avian population status. In addition to our consortium, we will mobilize ringers from multiple geographical areas to capture multiple bird species in vineyards (March-August) when pesticides are massively used. Altogether, we will collect biological samples to assess not only the degree of contamination of birds, but also some ecotoxicological endpoints (physiological and morphological traits). In combination with the results on population trends and avian biodiversity, these data will allow us to test the link between avian population status and the use of pesticides.

The hired PhD Student will be part of the CESCO team in Paris (MNHN, UMR 7204, Paris, 75005). She/He will also be part of the Ecophy team at the CEBC (CNRS-La Rochelle Université, UMR 7372, Villiers en Bois, 79360). She/he will be affiliated to the “Ecole Doctorale” 227 (MNHN, SU) and will be supervised by F. Jiguet (CESCO, MNHN) and F. Angelier (CEBC, CNRS). Avian biodiversity and avian population trends analyses will be conducted at CESCO with the contribution of Colin Fontaine and Emmanuelle Porcher (Objectives 1 & 2). The assessment of avian contamination and physiological endpoints will be conducted at the CEBC (Objective 3) in collaboration with F. Brischoux and with the help of the French network of ringers, which is coordinated by P-Y. Henry (CRBPO, MNHN). The pesticides analyses will be realized by our academic partner involved in VITIBIRD (H. Budzinski, EPOC, UMR 5805, Université de Bordeaux).
This PhD contract will be funded by the ANR VITIBIRD (3 years) from 2021 to 2024.
Starting date: October 1st 2021.
Contract duration: 36 months
Places of work: Paris (75) and Villiers en Bois (79)
The candidate must have an engineering degree and/or a master’s degree in ecology, ecophysiology or ecotoxicology (Bac +5). The position requires strong knowledge in ecology, ecophysiology and ecotoxicology, advanced statistical skills, and good oral and written communication skills (French and English required, level B2 or higher) to present at conferences and write articles in scientific journals. The candidate must have a valid driver’s license. We are looking for a young researcher who will be able to get involved in the project, who is curious, has a certain autonomy and a strong motivation to carry out advanced statistical analyses and literature reviews, to conduct field work, and to manage large database and networks of volunteers. Experience in animal care, handling of wild birds and laboratory analysis will be a plus. Finally, the candidate must be able to work in a team on multidisciplinary projects.
Applications should include:
– a detailed CV
– at least two references (e.g. M2 internship supervisor)
– a one-page cover letter
– grades and rankings from Master 1 or 2 or engineering school.
Applications should be sent to and
The selection of the candidates will be made as applications are received, with a deadline of 30/06/2020.

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