Post-doctorate in invasion ecology modelling (M/F)



Brest, France
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2024

Job Description

Job title : Post-doctorate in invasion ecology modelling (M/F)

Reference: PV-2024-1409/1


Duration in months :18

Start date:

Deadline for applications:11/03/2024

General areas of responsibility

The benthic ecology laboratory of Ifremer studies coastal marine ecosystem diversity and functioning. Much of our work focuses on species and community responses to natural and anthropogenic stressors.

By combining in-situ and experimental observations with theoretical models, the lab develops and uses complementary approaches to (1) describe and understand biodiversity patterns and functioning, and (2) observe and model benthic habitat distribution.

We are looking to recruit an enthusiastic and motivated scientist, to work on a trait-based approach to assess and predict how and to which extent non-indigenous species can invade recipient marine communities in European Seas.

In recognition of the escalating impacts of climate change on biota, invasion science has made substantial progress in understanding how non-indigenous species (NIS) arrive in new locations and establish self-sustaining populations. It has however been less successful in predicting when, where and to which extent NIS can affect recipient communities. These shortcomings relate to knowledge gaps regarding the role of species traits, combinations of traits, and trait–environment interactions in driving establishment success. More specifically, while some traits (e.g. those enhancing the propagule pressure) have been related to invasion success, it is unclear whether the probability of successful establishment varies depending on the set of traits present in the recipient communities and the environmental context.

Environmental change can affect native and non-indigenous species differentially, with various meta-analyses showing that NIS often outperform and adjust better than native species to a rapidly changing climate. NIS may benefit from increased individual fitness, population size, distribution range and relative competitiveness. Understanding which species will benefit most from climate change is especially important in areas where NIS already threaten native biota.

General areas of responsibility

In recognition of this need, you will use a set of tools (e.g. trait-based modelling, species distribution models, multivariate analyses) to identify how invasion success varies depending on biotic and abiotic settings to ultimately predict future invasion success depending on climate change scenarios. We envision developing a general predictive framework built upon multiple axes that consider: (i) the relative effect of abiotic (e.g. temperature, distance to niche margins) and biotic (e.g. local species richness, functional diversity metrics) factors in predicting invasion potential (i.e. establishment success); (ii) functional distinctiveness between native and non-native species; and (iii) forecast how invasion success would be affected by climate change.

Principal activities

You will build on existing sessile marine animals NIS lists acquired in hotspots (i.e. ports, offshore windfarms, MPAs) throughout European seas for which community-level invertebrate biofouling data is also available. Using open-source environmental predictors, you will:

  • Consolidate a database occurrence records and traits of both NIS and recipient biofouling communities
  • Generate a broad-scale invasive NIS habitat suitability map using stacked SDMs;
  • Create a theoretical framework to test the functional distinctiveness hypothesis10 using an in-silico community framework;
  • Use existing invasive NIS data to test this framework and make predictions under various climate change scenarios.

Collaborative work environment

You will work as part of the LEBCO team, with several numerical and invasion ecologists. You will benefit from the input and advice of Pr. Frederique Viard, CNRS director of research at the ISEM (, and will go on at least one exchange visit in Montpellier.

The work will be carried out in consultation with a broad international community and will benefit from exchanges with the wider BIOcean5D scientific community as well as with a network of invasion ecology researchers (i.e. ICES WGITMO - Project results will be tailored and used to guide further research priorities as well as management decisions. This work forms part of BIOcean5D, a major four-year interdisciplinary European project designed to better understand the impact of human activity on Europe’s seas and coastlines (

Required Knowledge, skills, and characteristics

  • Applicants must have defended their PhD in the last 3 years.

Required knowledge, skills and characteristics

Knowledge, skills and abilities

  • PhD in ecology or another field relevant to understanding responses of biota to climate change (graduated in the last 3 years); previous expertise in numerical ecology and modelling will be appreciated, notably regarding trait-based approaches and species distribution modelling.
  • Knowledge of invasion ecology will be an asset
  • Knowledge of R or other related software program is necessary for data management and analyses
  • Knowledge with working on occurrence data from GBIF/OBIS or IUCN range maps would be a plus
  • Fluency in English;
  • Fluency in French will be advantageous.

Human qualities

  • Good people skills and an ability to work within a diverse research team;
  • Willingness to travel between Brest and Montpellier;
  • Interest in presenting your results at national and international conferences.

Specific working conditions

The post is full time; 18 months contract; at Ifremer Brest.

All applications are processed exclusively via our website. Informal enquiries may be made to Dr. Mathieu Chevalier (, Dr. Amelia Curd ( & Dr. Frédérique Viard ( When applying please include your CV, contact details for two scientific advisors and a motivation letter for why you are suited to this position.

The Institute and the recruiting departement

A pioneer in ocean science, IFREMER’s cutting-edge research is grounded in sustainable development and open science. Our vision is to advance science, expertise and innovation to:

- Protect and restore the ocean

- Sustainably use marine resources to benefit society

- Create and share ocean data, information & knowledge.

With more than 1,500 personnel spread along the French coastline in more than 20 sites, the Institute explores the 3 great oceans: the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. A leader in ocean science, IFREMER is managing the French Oceanographic Fleet and its dedicated scientists create ground-breaking technology to push the boundaries of ocean exploration and knowledge, from the abyss to the atmosphere-ocean interface.

Well-established in the international scientific community, our scientists, engineers and technicians are committed to advance knowledge about our planet’s last unexplored frontiers. They provide the science we need for informed decision-making and public policy and they transfer this knowledge and technology to businesses to fulfill public and private needs. Core to our mission is also to strengthen public awareness about the importance of understanding the ocean and its resources, and empowering future generations of leaders through education and outreach national campaigns.

Founded in 1984, IFREMER is a French public organization and its budget approximates 240 million euros. It is operating under the joint authority of the French Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation, the french Ministry of the Sea, the French Ministry for the Ecological and Solidary Transition, and the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

How to apply for this position

Deadline for applications: 11/03/2024

All applications are processed exclusively via our website. Interested candidates can apply by clicking the “Apply” button.