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Reference : UMR5553-ANNLOI-003
Workplace : LE BOURGET DU LAC
Date of publication : Friday, February 01, 2019
Type of Contract : FTC Scientist
Contract Period : 18 months
Expected date of employment : 1 April 2019
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : between 2500 et 3500 euros bruto per month depending on previous experience
Desired level of education : PhD
Experience required : Indifferent
-It is increasingly clear that the impact of human activity is ubiquitous across taxonomic groups throughout the globe. Because behaviour is highly flexible, it is a key mechanism underlying the responses of many organisms to human-induced rapid environmental change. However, the behavioural repertoire of wildlife is often constrained by a variety of human activities. For example, in highly disturbed environments, animals confine their movements to smaller ranges (Tucker et al. 2018) and become markedly more nocturnal (Gaynor et al. 2018). Whether humans pose a lethal threat to animals or not, they may still be perceived as predators, thereby modifying the landscape of fear and, hence, the behavioural decisions involved when balancing food intake and risk avoidance in relation to the costs of locomotion.
Large herbivores are keystone species in terrestrial ecosystems because of their central position in the food web as primary consumers and prey for predators. Due to their recent increase across Western Europe and North America, they are involved in many socio-economic issues, with both benefits (e.g. hunting, tourism) and costs (e.g. damage to crops/forests, accidents, disease vectors) for society. As a result, better spatially-explicit forecasting of their dynamics and distribution will be essential for many future key management issues. Increasing use of GPS technology and biologgers on wildlife over recent decades is now providing novel data for elucidating how animals move and behave in response to human activities in different landscape contexts (Kays et al. 2015). Shared data bases are a promising way to better understand variation among individuals and species in how they deal with the increasingly heavy human footprint in their environment.
Within the “Impact of human activity” Work Package, we also aim to follow-up the work of Tucker et al. (2018) to test the hypothesis that individuals reduce their movement level as the human footprint increases by performing analyses integrating additional data on animal foodscapes. The postdoc will be expected to lead a working group on this topic.
Within the ANR-funded Mov-It (Ungulates MOVing across heterogeneous landscapes) research consortium (http://www.agence-nationale-recherche.fr/Projet-ANR-16-CE02-0010 ), the post-doctoral researcher will investigate how human activity and disturbance influence the movement behaviour and activity budget of ungulates, the topic of one of the five project's Work Packages. The database on which the MovIt project is based on is the cornerstone of the collaborative project between the CNRS, ONCFS and INRA who run long-term (20-40 years) monitoring programs of six species of ungulates in a variety of landscape contexts across France. It constitutes more than 1000 individuals monitored with GPS technology and activity sensors (and some with more complex biologgers).
The post-doc will investigate how behavioural flexibility in terms of space use and time budget interacts with species-specific life history traits, allowing individuals to buffer the negative consequences of human disturbance. More specifically, she/he will analyse the impact of both lethal (hunting, driving) and non-lethal (hiking, skiing,) human disturbance on behaviour (movement, activity, habitat use) using a combination of observation and experimental approaches. Response variables to disturbance may also include measures of energetic expenditure estimated from biologgers and activity sensors, allowing the post-doc to investigate the trade-offs between risk avoidance and energetic expenditure at the intra- and inter-specific levels.
- PhD in ecology or related field, with solid conceptual knowledge in behavioural ecology
- Ability to work on new topics and to be proactive; high capacity for team work
- Strong quantitative skills, with experience of spatial analyses, movement analyses and GIS
- Experience with R and with handling large data bases (prior knowledge of SQL would be an asset)
- solid writing/publication experience
- Excellent working knowledge of English
The post doc will work in a group of researchers at different career stages, all focusing on different aspects of movement ecology and population dynamics of large mammals, and is expected to closely collaborate with masters and PhD students.
The Alpine Ecology Lab (LECA- "Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine") is based both in Grenoble-Alpes University and Université Savoie Mont-Blanc by Chambery, which are 40 min apart by car or train. The post-doc will join the group of three associate professors (S. Ibanez, G. Yannic and F. Pellissier), one professor (C. Gallet) and one senior researcher (A Loison) and their master and PhD students in the Université Savoie-Mont-Blanc (USMB). This group work closely with their Grenoble-based counterparts, and specialise on the ecology of herbivores, plant-herbivore relationships, chemical ecology, population genetics, and conceptual approaches of network structures and functions.
USMB is a medium sized university set in a pristine mountain environment. It has close connections to neighbouring large universities we are collaborating with (Lyon and Grenoble) and has excellent transport links to major airports (Geneva and Lyon) and cities by express train (>3h to Paris).
The post-doctoral researcher will be required to visit the other collaborating laboratories, participate in regular working group meetings and may assist in certain aspects of data collection in the field. However, the majority of his/her effort will be devoted to analysing the existing database and publishing the findings in international peer-reviewed journals.
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