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PhD studentship: An eco-evolutionary framework for studying resilience and tipping points in ecosystems under stress

  • 30 Jul 2021
  • Paris

PhD studentship: An eco-evolutionary framework for studying resilience and tipping points in ecosystems under stress

We invite prospective candidates for a three-year fully funded PhD studentship to explore theoretical questions on the eco-evolutionary dynamics in ecological systems with tipping points.

Global environmental change has made clear that ecosystems are at risk to unexpected and persistent shifts to undesirable states, popularly referred to as tipping points. But, although the ecological dynamics in ecosystem with tipping points have been well studied, the interplay between tipping point responses and evolutionary changes in the phenotypic structure of populations are still poorly understood. Thus, if we could start developing novel ways for understanding how evolutionary processes can affect and be affected by tipping points, we could help the management of ecosystems under stress not only for preventing their collapse, but also for improving the success of ecological restoration.

The subject we propose for this PhD studentship lies on the interface of ecosystem ecology and mathematical evolutionary biology that aims to integrate rapid trait evolution and co-evolution, ecological nonlinear dynamics, global change ecology and reciprocal feedbacks between ecology and evolution in order to develop an integrative eco-evolutionary framework for understanding ecosystem resilience and tipping point responses.

The PhD candidate will develop analytical (mathematical) and simulation-based models to explore the effects of eco-evolutionary feedbacks on the ecological tipping responses of ecosystems to global environmental change. Methods such as structured population models and bifurcations will be used to analyse the models.

We are looking for candidates who are interested in theoretical and mathematical approaches in evolutionary and ecosystem ecology. A background in mathematical modelling and programming will definitely be an advantage.

The successful applicant will benefit from the interdisciplinary nature of the project by being based at the Centre de Mathematiques Appliquees at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris and the Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution de Montpellier, and being co-supervised by Drs. Vasilis Dakos (Montpellier) and Gaël Raoul (Paris). Both laboratories are internationally renowned in their respective fields and are hosts to numerous teams working on the biology infectious agents, evolutionary ecology and applied mathematics. The funding will cover the PhD salary as well as research and presentation activities (workshops, conferences, etc.).

The position can start from September 2021 onwards. The student will receive a salary, which adequately covers living expenses in France. The working language in the lab is English and applicants from all countries are eligible. A MSc. degree is required to enter PhD in France.

To apply please send one document comprising a motivation letter, a CV, contact details for two references, and summaries of BSc. and MSc. grades to Vasilis Dakos (v asilis.dakos@umontpellier.fr ) and Gael Raoul (gael.raoul@polytechnique.edu).

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