jeudi 27 janvier 2011

Offre de thèse - urgent

PhD in Animal Ecology - Influence of climatic fluctuations on Common Eider life history and population dynamics: variation within and between populations.

Project description
In the context of global warming, understanding the response of wildlife to climatic fluctuations is crucial. To date, most studies examining the impact of changing climate on wildlife have focused on the response of a single population. However, heterogeneity among populations may exist, which could affect our understanding of climate change consequences. Moreover, heterogeneity in the way individuals react to changes in climatic conditions (i.e. their phenotypic plasticity) is also critical to understand how populations may cope with a warming climate. Consequently, to understand and predict wildlife response to ongoing climate changes, it is necessary to understand and take into account both differences among populations and among individuals.
The goals of this project are (1) to assess and understand the responses to changing climatic and oceanographic conditions at the individual and population level, and (2) compare the responses among three populations of an Arctic breeding seabird, the Common Eider Duck Somateria mollissima. The Common eider is a seaduck known to be sensitive to climatic conditions. It has a circumpolar distribution breeding mainly on small islands in Arctic and boreal marine areas in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Western Europe (Norway), and the Barents Sea region. The project is based on long‐term longitudinal individual data (>15 years) collected in three Arctic or sub‐Arctic populations (Svalbard, Norway; Southampton Island, Canada; Grindøya, Norway). Statistical and mathematical modeling will permit to assess the effect of climate among and within these populations using capture‐ recapture data and population counts, and understand the demographic processes by which climate may affect population using matrix models. An experimental manipulation of the temperature experienced by female eiders during incubation is also planned.

The project will be done in collaboration with Stéphanie Jenouvrier (WHOI‐USA, CNRSFrance), Joël Bêty (UQAR, Canada), Kjell‐Einar Erikstad (NINA, Norway), Geir W. Gabrielsen (NPI, Norway), Grant Gilchrist (Environment Canada), Oliver Love (U. Windsor, Canada), Mark Forbes (U. Carleton, Canada) and Sébastien Descamps (NPI, Tromsø). The main location will likely be in Canada but this may be discussed with the candidate (a location in USA, France or Norway is also possible). In any case, regular trips to Tromsø (Norway) and Boston (USA) are expected. Fieldwork in the different eider populations is also strongly encouraged.

Start : as soon as possible (ideally, before May 2011)
Salary: annual scholarship between 17000 and 20000 CAD for 3 years.
Qualifications : The candidate should have strong skills in statistics and modelling (e.g., survival modelling based on capture‐mark‐recapture data, matrix models, time‐series analyses). English will be the main language of communication, thus fluent English is essential. Good leadership as well as the ability to work in collaboration with different teams is also required.
To apply, send before February 20th, 2011 a CV, the name and coordinates of 2 references and a short letter of motivation (1 page, in english) including some examples of questions that you would like to develop during the course of this PhD to :
Sébastien Descamps ‐ Norwegian Polar Institute
Polar Environmental Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway