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M/W PhD Thesis contract - Resilience of the forest-garden-littoral triptych in the island context of Vanuatu

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

Date Limite Candidature : vendredi 16 juin 2023

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Informations générales

Intitulé de l'offre : M/W PhD Thesis contract - Resilience of the forest-garden-littoral triptych in the island context of Vanuatu (H/F)
Référence : UMR6266-ARNBAN-001
Nombre de Postes : 1
Lieu de travail : LE HAVRE
Date de publication : vendredi 26 mai 2023
Type de contrat : CDD Doctorant/Contrat doctoral
Durée du contrat : 36 mois
Date de début de la thèse : 2 octobre 2023
Quotité de travail : Temps complet
Rémunération : 2 135,00 € gross monthly
Section(s) CN : Spaces, territories and societies

Description du sujet de thèse

In ecology, a more species-diverse forest (Oliver et al. 2015), agriculture (Renard & Tilman 2019), and coastline (Bernhardt & Leslie 2013) have been shown to be more resilient or stable over time. In this project, we would like to complement this work by emphasizing the linkages between different compartments. These links can be analyzed in terms of ecological interactions (e.g., pollen flows, colonization of environments...), but also by exploring the diversity of socio-cultural relationships (e.g., relational values, local knowledge, uses, practices, nomenclature and classification of life...). The unifying concept of Nature's Contributions to People (IPBES) emphasizes how "nature" is indispensable to human well-being (Pascual et al. 2017). In this project, we aim to test the hypothesis that this reciprocal relationship or contribution (Ojeda et al. 2022) between humans and non-humans is necessary for the biocultural well-being of humans and ecosystems (Caillon et al. 2017).
Specifically, we seek to highlight how women, men, and children in Vanuatu have woven threads between multiple ecosystems for generations: forests, cultivated gardens, and coastlines. This complementarity is particularly important for many of the island systems of Oceania, which, faced with climate change that imposes increasingly extreme and unpredictable events, must redouble their creativity to adapt. The processes of adaptation that are implemented require intra- and inter-system interdependencies between harvested products, agricultural crops and marine resources.
Concretely, the PhD student will conduct in-depth investigations through a long immersion in a village in Vanuatu. We advocate a biocultural approach that, by addressing the multiplicity of values, knowledge, practices and ontologies, recognizes the feedbacks between nature and culture, and thus reinforces the perspective of "humans as part of nature". This approach requires the mobilization of immersive methods based on informal discussions, surveys and questionnaires, but especially on observations and practices (i.e. participant observation). These methods will constitute the basis of the information collected on useful plants and animals, their living spaces, the tools and methods to gather, harvest, fish and hunt them.
The doctoral student will complete this biocultural approach by combining, in an original way, these results with those of the naturalistic and linguistic inventory of consumed plant and animal species. With S. Caillon, J. Munzinger and J. Claudet, he or she will develop protocols for collecting social and ecological data on two islands, in order to identify the plants gathered, plants cultivated and animals harvested or fished. Field data collection will be conducted on only one of the two islands by the doctoral student; the supervisors will do so on the island of Vanua Lava.
In collaboration with A. Banos, the PhD student will also build computer and statistical models to characterize the complementarity between these constrained systems, as well as their resilience domains. A mixed qualitative and quantitative approach mobilizing in particular statistical network analyses will be favored; the PhD student will be able to rely on mathematical know-how within the GDR ReSoDiv.

Bernhardt, J.R. & Leslie, H.M. (2013). Resilience to Climate Change in Coastal Marine Ecosystems. Annu. Rev. Mar. Sci., 5, 371–392.
Caillon, S., Cullman, G., Verschuuren, B. & Sterling, E.J. (2017). Moving beyond the human/nature dichotomy through biocultural approaches: including ecological well-being in resilience indicators. E&S, 22, art27.
Ojeda, J., Salomon, A.K., Rowe, J.K. & Ban, N.C. (2022). Reciprocal Contributions between People and Nature: A Conceptual Intervention. BioScience, 72, 952–962.
Oliver, T.H., Heard, M.S., Isaac, N.J.B., Roy, D.B., Procter, D., Eigenbrod, F., et al. (2015). Biodiversity and Resilience of Ecosystem Functions. Trends Ecol Evol, 30, 673–684.
Pascual, U., Balvanera, P., Díaz, S., Pataki, G., Roth, E., Stenseke, M., et al. (2017). Valuing nature's contributions to people: the IPBES approach. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 26–27, 7–16.
Renard, D. & Tilman, D. (2019). National food production stabilized by crop diversity. Nature, 571, 257–260.

Contexte de travail

We are looking for an enthusiastic and talented person for a PhD student position fully funded (salary and related expenses) in the framework of two interdisciplinary research projects (European project FALAH and CNRS Prime80 WEAVE project). Thanks to this CNRS contract, the PhD student will be officially integrated into the FALAH and WEAVE projects. These projects focus on ecological and socio-cultural interactions between forests, gardens and coastal areas in order to understand the resilience of food systems to climate change in an insular context (Vanuatu). The successful candidate will work with Sophie Caillon (CNRS, ethnoecologist), Arnaud Banos (CNRS, geographer), Jérôme Munzinger (IRD, botanist) and Joachim Claudet (CNRS, marine ecologist). He or she will spend one year in Vanuatu (in the form of several missions spread over the three years of the thesis) and will be mainly based at the Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE) in Montpellier, France, within the Biocultural Interactions team (IAB). The CEFE is currently the largest French research center in ecology. The PhD student will be part of the GAIA doctoral school for life and environmental sciences and technological sciences at the University of Montpellier, which is ranked first in the world in ecology according to the Shanghai university rankings. He or she will also have to travel to Le Havre, within the UMR Identity and Differentiation of Space, Environment and Societies (IDEES), to work with Arnaud Banos.
The PhD student will receive advanced training in interdisciplinary research at the interface between anthropology, geography and ecology. He or she will acquire skills in the study of local knowledge and the links between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in an insular context. There will be many opportunities for advanced courses, workshops and conferences. The successful candidate will be committed to conducting original scientific research in close collaboration with the other researchers involved in the project as well as independently, reporting on his/her research in international publications and presentations, and presenting the results in a doctoral dissertation, to be completed within three years.
To complete his or her initial training, he or she will be able to benefit from several university training courses for which the researchers of this project are responsible:
- Training in Master 1 by S. Caillon at the University of Montpellier (30h) and the University Paul Valery (50h) to students in ecology (Plant Biodiversity and Management of Tropical Ecosystems, BIOGET) and anthropology (Environmental Humanities, HE) on the foundations and methodologies mobilized in ethnoecology.
- A thematic school on "ethnoecology and biocultural interactions" co-organized by CEFE researchers took place in October 2022 and will probably be repeated in the coming years. The doctoral student will be able to participate in conceptual debates and build a network of relationships with colleagues in ethnoecology.
- Training in agent-based spatial modeling by A. Banos, coupled with a thematic school on the subject organized by the MAPS network (https://maps.hypotheses.org/accueil-2)
- Training in tropical botany by J. Munzinger at the University of Montpellier (30h) to students of the BIOGET Master's program and to engineering students of the GEEFT Master's program at AgroParisTech. Introduction to the flora of Vanuatu, via extensive material from the archipelago, currently deposited at the Montpellier Herbarium (MPU).
- GDR Approches méthodologiques des dynamiques de l'agrobiodiversité : terrain, réseaux, modèles (GDR ReSoDiv), co-directed by S. Caillon, will provide methodological support on the analysis of social networks.

Contraintes et risques

Ideal candidates should be highly motivated, hardworking, and creative, with a strong affinity for interdisciplinary, biocultural, and co-constructed, participatory, and collaborative approaches. Field immersion in an isolated island context with a humid tropical climate should be approached as a pleasure, not a challenge. Candidates should have the following general qualifications:
- A Master's degree in geography, ethnoecology, anthropology, ecology, agronomy or related disciplines. The candidate should have a background in humanities and social sciences (geography, anthropology, ethnoecology) coupled with a strong curiosity for the naturalist environment (ecology, biology, agronomy), or the inverse, a naturalist background and a strong curiosity for the social sciences.
- A high level of rigor in terms of data entry in the field, herbarium creation, and photography;
- The desire to work both independently and in a team;
- Ability to work in the field for long periods of time and to adapt to diverse social contexts, especially isolated and tropical ones;
- Experience with field surveys.
- Mastery of data management, and if possible statistical analysis of heterogeneous data.
- Excellent communication skills, both oral and written, in French and English.