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PhD in ecotoxicology and ecophysiology

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

Date Limite Candidature : lundi 23 mai 2022

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General information

Reference : UMR7178-REGSOM-110
Workplace : STRASBOURG
Date of publication : Monday, May 2, 2022
Scientific Responsible name : BLEU Josefa
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2022
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

Thesis topic: Trace element cocktails: from individual consequences to transgenerational effects in birds

Trace metal and metalloid elements (TME), including those called commonly 'heavy metals' (e.g. Pb, Cd), are naturally present in the environment but in very low concentration. However, anthropogenic activities such as the combustion of fossil fuels, road traffic or industry, lead to massive releases of these TME into the environment. Typically, in medium-sized cities, animals are exposed to diffuse pollution, i.e. a cocktail of numerous TME at low concentrations (but higher concentrations than in natural habitats), containing essential and non-essential TME. Essential TME, such as Cu or Zn, are crucial for biological processes and may have protective effects against non-essential TME, yet, they can be toxic at high concentrations. Non-essential TME, such as Pb or As, are directly toxic to organisms. Thus, it is difficult to predict the effect of cocktails of TME. Most experimental studies are based on one or two TME or are based on very high dose of TME. Few studies addressed the effects of cocktails of TME on wild fauna even if such studies are required to tackle the consequences of urbanization. In urban ecology, several studies have investigated the differences between rural and urban fauna, showing, for examples negative effects of the cities on reproductive success, oxidative stress or immunity. However, the specific environmental stressor is not identified in these correlative studies. Thus, the importance of TME in shaping these differences between urban and forest birds is not clear. The aim of this PhD, which is part of the ANR project TRAMET, is to understand the direct and transgenerational effects of TME at ecologically relevant concentrations for an urban environment on a bird species model (zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata). We will have an experimental approach in controlled laboratory conditions. We will study the effects of a TME cocktail on morphology, behaviour and physiology of adults and juveniles zebra finches. This work will allow to have a better understanding of a specific urban stressor (TME cocktail) which may help to improve the urban environment for the wild fauna.

Work Context

The PhD will be attached to the Doctoral School of Life sciences of the University of Strasbourg (ED414). This project will take place at the Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien (IPHC UMR CNRS 7178, University of Strasbourg). The IPHC, a joint research unit under the joint supervision of CNRS and the University of Strasbourg (UMR7178), is a multidisciplinary laboratory where research teams from different scientific cultures (ecophysiology, chemistry and subatomic physics) develop very high level programs based on scientific instrumentation. The IPHC is structured into 4 departments and has a total staff of 393 staff including 257 permanent staff (ie 119 researchers and teachers / researchers and 138 engineers and technicians), 46 staff on fixed-term contracts and 90 doctoral students.
The PhD project is part of an ANR project involving different teams of the IPHC. The PhD will join the ADAGE team which has expertise on birds ecophysiology. The team RePSem will bring its expertise in trace metal elements measurement, and the team CAMBAP in antioxydants measurements.

Constraints and risks

Casual work in staggered schedule

Additional Information

The candidate must hold a master degree before Octobre 2022.
He/she will need a strong motivation, to be serious and meticulous with
skills to organize and plan the project. This project requires a candidate with scientific curiosity and strong proposal. The context of this project requires autonomy and ability to work in a team.
The candidate will have to master English fluently in writing and orally level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Writing skills are required. The applicant is expected to have a strong background in ecotoxicology and/or ecophysiology.
Applications should include a detailed CV, a letter of motivation, a summary of the Master's thesis as well as the grades of Master 1 and first semester of Master 2.

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