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Portail > Offres > Offre UMR7261-JOEMEU-002 - Chercheur - (H/F) - Microbiote intestinal et évolution sociale chez les insectes

The role of gut microbiota in the early evolution of social life in insects

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : mardi 18 mai 2021

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General information

Reference : UMR7261-JOEMEU-002
Workplace : TOURS
Date of publication : Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Type of Contract : FTC Scientist
Contract Period : 36 months
Expected date of employment : 1 October 2021
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : between 2 648.79€ and 4198.03€ gross per month depending on experience
Desired level of education : PhD
Experience required : Indifferent


A long-standing problem in biology is to understand why and how animal social life has emerged from a solitary state. In the framework of the ANR MicroSoc project led by Joël Meunier, we aim to address these questions by testing a new hypothesis stating that social life may not only emerge due to its benefits for the group members but also due to its benefits for their gut microbiota. This project is based on the European earwig Forficula auricularia, which is ideal to address these questions because it can switch between social and solitary life throughout its life cycle. The recruited postdoc will conduct a series of standardized experiments to identify which gut microbes are associated with host sociality, test how these microbes can benefit from and increase the sociality of their hosts, and shed light on the mechanisms allowing these gut microbes to modify hosts sociality.


- Carrying out molecular works (DNA extraction, PCR, sequencing, sequence analyses) on the intestinal microbiota of insects and their hosts
- Dissection of insect digestive tracts
- Development of experiments to manipulate the biotic and abiotic environmental conditions of the hosts and measuring behavioural changes.
- Data analysis with modern statistical and bioinformatics tools
- Assistance with insect collection in the field and management of laboratory rearing
- Valorisation of results through the writing and publication of scientific articles
- Participation in the life of the laboratory
- Assistance in the supervision of trainees


- PhD in evolutionary biology or microbiology (or equivalent)
- Ability to develop and implement DNA barcode approaches
- Good practice in molecular biology techniques such as DNA extraction, PCR and sequencing.
- Good practice in sequencing data analysis techniques and in particular DNA barcoding (ideally on the intestinal microbiota of insects).
- Basic theoretical knowledge in evolution and/or microbiology
- A strong interest in animal behaviour and/or the evolution of social life in insects is an advantage but is not required.
- Previous experience in behavioural ecology is an advantage but is not required.

Work Context

The Institut de Recherche sur la Biologie de l'Insecte (IRBI) is dedicated to the analysis of interactions between insects and their biotic and abiotic environment. The IRBI offers an international, dynamic and interactive scientific environment based on 27 permanent researchers. The institute also relies on the skills of numerous post-doctoral researchers and PhD students for a total staff of 70 people. Following recent investments in genomics, the IRBI is equipped with a state-of-the-art molecular biology platform with a wide range of equipment, including a DNA extractor robot and a bioinformatics server facilitating the molecular analysis of insects. The person recruited will work under the direction of Dr Joël Meunier. He studies many aspects of the evolution of social life in insects and has been using the European earwig as a model species for 10 years. More information on his research and publications can be found here https://joelmeunier.wixsite.com/researchpage. The hiring date (Oct 2021) is negotiable and the position is open to all candidates who plan to defend their thesis before January 2022.

Additional Information

-Applications must include : (1) a curriculum vitae, (2) a covering letter detailing, in particular, what you think you can bring to this project (max. 2 pages), and a third document containing (3) a short summary of the PhD thesis and past or ongoing postdoc projects, (4) one or two publications in international peer-reviewed journals of which you are one of the authors, and (5) the names and e-mail addresses of three referents. The contract will last up to 3 years, depending on the candidate's experience (i.e. 3 years is for candidates with less than 6 months of postdoc experience at the beginning of the project)

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