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Reference : UMR5175-AURBES-012
Workplace : MONTPELLIER
Date of publication : Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Type of Contract : FTC Scientist
Contract Period : 24 months
Expected date of employment : 1 December 2021
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 690,43€
Desired level of education : 5-year university degree
Experience required : Indifferent
In a context of global climate change and the fight against it by governments, the use of renewable energies is the preferred way to make an energy transition that consumes less fossil fuels (https://www.gouvernement.fr/action/la-transition-energetique-pour-la-croissance-verte). It is within the framework of this strategy that wind farms, as well as photovoltaic panel farms, are booming. Their numbers have been increasing strongly in France in recent years. To quote some figures, in 2020, there were 8500 wind turbines on the French territory producing 17.5 MW. The law of Pluriannual Programming of Energy (PPE 2019-2023) plans to double this production capacity by 2024. Worldwide, 651 GW were produced by wind turbines as of January 1, 2020, led by China and the United States. However, this transition to renewable energies, and in particular to wind power, has consequences on the environment and particularly on biodiversity. Birds and chiropterans are the main taxonomic groups negatively impacted by these infrastructures.
In France, the first offshore wind farms are under construction and several projects are already planned. As a result, seabird populations in French waters will be exposed to several effects of offshore wind farms, whose impacts will be cumulative: (i) risk of collisions, and (ii) displacement of individuals by avoidance and disturbance (combination of pressures "change of aerial habitat" / "obstacle to movement, feeding, resting, moulting in aerial environment, leading to a loss of functional habitat").
The experts of the ECUME WG, set up by the French Ministry of Ecological Transition and Solidarity (MTES), have concluded that these two types of effects will be the main sources of cumulative impacts of French offshore wind projects. To estimate the impacts on each population associated with these different effects, it is necessary to integrate them into a population dynamics model. However, the demography and dynamics of most of the bird populations concerned have not been modelled at the scale of French marine waters and are sometimes poorly known.
Existing research on these issues is not yet mature enough to make concrete assessments or to define operational recommendations. The project proposed here will focus on developing population dynamics models to assess the effect of wind farms on seabird populations in relation to the results of two other applied research projects led by the MTES and the Office Français de la Biodiversité: BIRDRISK, which aims to estimate the risk of collisions on wind farms, and BIRDMOVE, which aims to identify the consequences of population movement.
The objectives of the project are to:
Develop population dynamics models for each of the selected seabird species in order to describe how these populations are currently evolving in French waters,
To gather the demographic data necessary to parameterize these models (reproductive success, age of first reproduction, survival rate of young and adults, proportion of breeders, number of colonies) either from locally available data sets, which will have to be analyzed, or from literature data on nearby populations,
Add the expected direct mortalities in offshore wind farms in these models, in order to predict the likely future evolution of colonies located in France and of the modelled bird populations,
Determine if certain colonies or populations are threatened by the cumulative effects of the first seven offshore wind farms located on the Atlantic-Channel-North Sea facades.
The post-doctoral fellow recruited will be responsible for:
1) To assist the structure in charge of the compilation of available data sets allowing the estimation of demographic parameters and the synthesis of demographic parameter estimates published in the scientific literature, on the species likely to be concerned by the wind farms of the Channel, North Sea, and Atlantic facades (bibliographic data, raw data concerning the temporal series of breeding numbers, fecundity, survival probability, monitoring by capture-mark-recapture of individuals of the seabird populations concerned);
2) Conduct analysis of these demographic data;
3) Combine these data in population dynamics models to estimate the impacts of additional mortality related to MRE farms, to estimate the degree of uncertainty on these impacts, and to identify the most important knowledge gaps to be filled, if any.
PhD. in ecology with recognized skills in statistical ecology and animal population dynamics. Motivation for operational research and partnership with multiple actors. Ability to work in the field.
Location: UMR5175 Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive - Montpellier; in the HAIR team under the supervision of Aurélien Besnard.
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