lundi 25 juin 2018

PhD Position Uncovering intra- and inter-specific movement strategies of large herbivores living in dynamic complex landscapes

SUPERVISORS: Anne LOISON ( Gr enoble Univer s it y) , Luca BORGER ( S wansea Unver sit y)
In  the  current  ‘Era  of  the  Anthropocene’,  global  human  impact  is  fundamentally  altering  ecological  processes  on  earth.  Thus understanding  and  predicting  how  biodiversity  will  respond  to  environmental  change  has  become  one  of  the  most  pressing questions  for  ecological  research.  Biodiversity  responses  to  global  change  are  ultimately  mediated  by  proximate  behavioural processes of individual organisms, affecting energyintake and expenditure and exposure to risks, and ultimately the distribution and demographic performance of individuals. Movement in particular is a key behavioural response to environmental change determining shifts in the abundance and range of species, yet we still lack the ability to understand and predict in a robust way why, and where, animals move.
The  goal  of  this  PhD  project  is  to  build  upon  the  exceptional  opportunities  offered  by  a  large  set  of  sub-second  biologging (accelerometer, magnetometer) and GPS data collected by an ongoing large UK-France collaboration and aFrench ANR-funded project  running  until  2020  (“Mov-It”),  which  yield  sub-second  movement  paths  with  associated  information  on  the  detailed behaviour, individual state and energy expenditure  of each individual, collected on over 100  individuals of five wild ungulate species and three domestic ones, from six contrasting study areas across France, to develop novel mechanistic, predictive models of individual and species responses to environmental change. This will be achieved by tackling three inter-related, incremental objectives.  Firstly  the  student  will  quantify  movement  decisions  and  costs  under  different  constraints (e.g.  food,  weather, disturbance); then incorporate the estimated costs functions into Agent Based Models and multi-objective optimisation functions to  model  and  map  the  full  set  of  biologically  realistic  movement  strategies  under  environmental  change in  complex,  real landscapes. Thirdly, the student will develop from  the modelling results a scenario planning tool for  managers and landscape planners, allowing to build predictive models of individual movements and population and species redistributions under different scenarios of environmental change and management decisions. These aims will be further facilitated bythe availability of a rich set of biological knowledge on the demography, lifehistory and ecology of the species obtained by thelong-term study sites.
Furthermore, the student will profit from novel statistical and mathematical methods which we have developed to handle such complex, big data and novel quantitative models of animal movement, and to include currencies such as movement costs. Most importantly, the project is based on the understanding that there is not one single solution, in a given landscape, that solves the complex cost-benefit problem facing a herbivore forchoosing where to be, what to do, how long to stay, and where to move next. Thus we look forward to work with an enthusiastic, creative, dedicated student to solve this “MovementRubik’s Cube”. 
The project will be supervised by Anne Loison at Université Grenoble Alpes/Université Savoie Mont-Blanc, and by Luca Borger at Department  of  Biosciences,  College  of  Science  at  Swansea  University.  In  addition,  this  project  will  be plugged  into  existing collaborations with Rowan Brown and Rory Wilson (Swansea University), Jonathan Potts (Sheffield University), and the Mov-It
ANR-funded project consortium (Mathieu Garel- French Game and Wildlife management Office; Jean-Michel Gaillard- Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, Lyon University; Mark Hewison- National Institute for Agronomy Research, Toulouse)
A total of 18 months will be spent in France, and 18 months in the UK.
-  The  candidate  should  hold  a  Master’s  degree  in  a  relevant  discipline  (behaviour  ecology,  quantitative  ecology,  modelling, mathematics) or be expected to gain one by October 2018, or have a university degree equivalent to a European Master's (5-year duration).   Highly  developed  modelling  expertise,  and  knowledge  of  movement  ecology,  will  be  required. Informal  enquiries
before  the  closing  date  are  welcome  by  emailing and / 

Applicants should send the following documents to and :
  Academic References– all scholarship applications require two supporting references to be submitted.
Please ensure that your chosen referees are aware of the funding deadline, as their references form a vital part of the evaluation process. Please either include these with your scholarship application or ask your referees to send them directly by email.
  Academic Transcripts and Degree Certificates – academic transcripts and degree certificates mustbe
submitted along with the scholarship application bythe funding deadline. We will be using these to verify your academic qualifications.
  CV –please include a recent CV
  A short presentation describing your final year scientific project (2 to 3 pages max)
  A motivation letter
Applicants should comply with the application procedure at Swansea University, that is to download the research scholarship application formand return it to the College of Science with all the above mentioned documents.
These documents can also be posted at
Recruitment and Marketing Team, College of Science
Wallace Building, Swansea University
Singleton Park
Swansea SA2 8PP, UK
Application deadline: 15/09/2018 at 17:00 (CET)
Applications will be evaluated through a three-stepprocess:
1.  Eligibility check of applications in 16/09/2018
2.  1st round of selection: the applications will be evaluated by a Review Board in September 2018. Results will be given by end of September 2018.
3.  2nd round of selection: shortlisted candidates willbe invited for an interview session in Grenoble inearly October 2018 if necessary.
TYPE of CONTRACT: temporary-3 years of doctoral contract
JOB STATUS: Full time
OFFER STARTING DATE: 15 December 2018
This is a three year fully-funded College of Science, Swansea University/Université Grenoble Alpes scholarship, open to UK/EU candidates which includes an annual stipend of £14,777 plus full UK/EU tuition fees.
Salary: between 1768.55 € and 2100 € brut per month(depending on complementary activity or not)
Grenoble University : 50% of the funding
Swansea University: 50% of the funding