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F/M PhD Thesis in Tropical Palaeoecology

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

Date Limite Candidature : vendredi 27 janvier 2023

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General information

Reference : UMR5554-VINMON-001
Nombre de Postes : 1
Date of publication : Friday, January 6, 2023
Scientific Responsible name : Vincent Montade, Charly Favier et Laurent Bremond
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 March 2023
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

Floristic and functional traits sensitivity of Central African forests to climate and land-use changes over the last thousands of years.

Within the framework of the ANR PAST17 project, we propose a PhD project, aiming to characterize the influence of hydrological and land-use changes on the floristic, functional traits and structural characteristics of tropical forests over the last millennia.
Recent studies suggest that the diversity and functional redundancy of tropical rain forests in the Congo Basin confer significant resilience to ongoing climate change, but that this adaptive capacity is highly heterogeneous and dependent on the level of anthropogenic disturbances. To describe and understand these adaptation mechanisms, we propose to study the floristic and functional dynamics of the Cameroon forest over several thousand years by analyzing the pollen content of lake sediment cores. First, a calibration will be established between modern pollen spectra (some already published, others acquired during this PhD), precise botanical surveys and structural and functional data from large-scale spatial classifications. The application of calibration to current pollen spectra will allow the characterization of changes in pollen assemblages in terms of forest structure dynamics and functional trait evolution. Finally, fossil pollen spectra from several lake sediment cores along an altitudinal and climatic gradient from coastal to mountain forests will be analyzed and integrated (a new sediment core to be acquired during the thesis, data from the literature and high-resolution re-analyses of already available archives).
In parallel, as part of the PAST17 project, geochemical analyses will be carried out to quantify hydrological changes. Thus, associated with the reconstruction of fire dynamics, via the study of charcoal particles, past forest dynamics can be interpreted by distinguishing between climatic and anthropogenic forcing.

Work Context

This thesis is part of the ANR PAST17 project (ANR-22-CE01-0027; Quantitative reconstruction of past hydroclimates: the triple oxygen isotope composition (17O-excess) of biogenic silica perspective) and will be carried out at ISEM (UMR 5554, University of Montpellier, Triolet campus) under the supervision of Vincent Montade, Charly Favier and Laurent Bremond. ISEM (Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier) is a laboratory recognized in France and internationally in the field of evolutionary sciences and the study of paleoenvironments. The PhD student will be hosted within the DEEP team of the PAST department.
We are therefore looking for a f/m palaeoecologist (palynologist) with knowledge of botany and/or tropical ecology, biostatistics and an interest in fieldwork.

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