PhD position: Impact of extreme events on ecosystem functioning and particle and carbon fluxes from the Rhone River to the Mediterranean Sea: floods, storms and heatwaves – Deadline 10 May 2023

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.

General areas of responsibility

  • Presentation of the department, research unit or laboratory

The PhD thesis will take place mainly at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE). This laboratory has been studying for several decades the fluxes at the mouth of the Rhône and in the Gulf of Lion as well as their transformations in the marine sediments of the coastal domain. The OCEANIS team has a long-standing expertise in the study of oxic and anoxic diagenesis in the coastal and deep ocean as well as the dispersion of Rhone inputs in the coastal zone.

A stay at IFREMER in the Physical and Spatial Oceanography Laboratory (LOPS, is also foreseen. The PhD student will find within LOPS a community of physicists (~60 researchers, ~30 PhD students, ~20 post-doctoral fellows) specialised in the study of coastal physical processes and marine currents through measurements during sea campaigns, through numerical modelling and through theoretical approaches.

The thesis project is perfectly in line with the strategic positioning of the Ifremer teams of LOPS, the OCEANIS team of LSCE and CEFREM. Collaborations between IFREMER (LOPS and Dyneco) and LSCE are long-standing and have resulted in several joint projects.


The Mediterranean Sea is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change (MedECC, 2020): in addition to expected global warming, climate models simulate an intensification of the frequency and intensity of storms, floods and heat waves. These intense events have a very important impact on the marine environment (ecosystem and environment) and especially in coastal areas and river deltas at the interface between the continent and the open sea. In the framework of the large national project RiOMar, this thesis plans to study the transfers of dissolved and particulate matter (organic, inorganic, pollutants) at the Rhone River mouth and their influence on the functioning of ecosystems (planktonic production, bacterial recycling, sequestration by sedimentation, material sources through resuspension) from past and future in situ observations. Measurements will be carried out by (1) instrumented stations of the national observation network (surface and bottom) allowing the acquisition of high frequency time series, (2) underwater drones, (3) oceanographic vessels. Time series of parameters necessary to comprehend the biogeochemical (O2, pH, fluorimetry, nutrient) and sedimentological dynamics of the environment will be collected. This will allow understanding the processes driving their spatial and temporal variability during and after extreme events and to quantify their effect on the environment, both in water and in sediments.

Key words

sediments, Delta, Extreme events, Carbon, particle dynamics, Gulf of Lion

Required Knowledge, skills, and characteristics

The candidate will preferably hold a Master 2 in the field of marine sciences (physics, chemistry or biology). He/she may also come from an engineering school in the field of environmental sciences, physics, or chemistry. The candidate must have a sense of responsibility, communication skills to work between the three supervisory teams, and a taste for autonomy in work. Knowledge of programming for environmental data analysis (Python, Matlab). Good command of written and spoken English.

Specific working conditions

  • mobility in France required for stays in Brest (6 months stay) and Perpignan teams
  • participation in field campaigns at sea, in the preparation of instruments and their implementation (glider piloting in particular)
  • professional travels for presentations at international conferences

PhD is a real opportunity to work on Ifremer’s scientific and technological priority themes. It entitle the holder to a gross monthly salary of 2300 euros gross for a period of 3 years, which cannot be combined with other scholarships.

Your application file must include :

  • a curriculum vitae
  • a covering letter
  • a reference letter
  • an academic transcript (Bachelor + Master 1 and first semester Master 2)

Your application must be compiled into 2 PDF files, up to 3 MB for each file:

In case of any problem in attaching your documents, please upload your CV on this page (this step is mandatory for your application to be considered) and send all the documents to the thesis supervisor : or

The deadline for applications is May 3rd, 2023. Nevertheless, we strongly urge you to let us know as soon as possible of your intention to apply, by contacting the subject supervisor.

In paralell, please submit your application to the doctoral school : ED 129, Sciences de l’Environnement d’Ile de France.

Doctoral students’ contracts will start as of October 2nd, 2023, subject to the submission of administrative documents authorizing Ifremer to recruit the doctoral student (certificate of completion of the Master 2 or engineering degree + visa for foreign doctoral students outside the EU).

Our job offers on the website /Ifremer careers /Jobs and Internships, or Offres d’emploi/stage (French version)

How to apply for this position

Deadline for applications: 10/05/2023

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

Further details about the opportunity, in this link.

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