Permanent Research Scientist position in Integrated Ecosystem Assessments

Centre Atlantique, site Nantes

Biological and Environmental Resources Department (RBE)

Ecology and Models for fisheries (EMH)

French Atlantic center, City of Nantes

Deadline for applications: 16th April 2017

French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, Ifremer, through its research work and expert advice, contributes to knowledge of the oceans and their resources, to monitoring of marine and coastal environments and to the sustainable development of marine activities. To these ends, Ifremer conceives and operates tools for observation, experimentation and monitoring, and manage the oceanographic databases.

Created in 1984, Ifremer is a French public institute of an industrial and commercial nature. It is supervised jointly by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs.

Ifremer undertakes research missions, offers expert advice and acts as a funding agency.

Ifremer performs targeted applied research to address the questions posed by society (climate change effects, marine biodiversity, pollution prevention, seafood quality etc.). Results include scientific knowledge, technological innovations, and systems for ocean observation and exploration. Partnerships may be public, private or a combination of the two.

Ifremer works in a network with the French scientific community, also collaborating with international partner organizations, in the frame of several national and international projects, including contractual activities.

In the research unit EMH, we develop knowledge and tools for integrated fisheries and ecosystem management under three major topics:
• Response of ecosystem components to natural and anthropogenic forcing
• Integrated ecosystem assessments
• Management strategy evaluation
We are also involved in fishery observing systems, advice, quality procedures and research surveys at sea. Our skill strengths are in quantitative methods for ecological data and modelling.

The long-term viability of exploited resources depends on ecosystem health. Recognizing this implies developing scientific global integrated approaches on eco-regions for ecosystem assessment as well as ecosystem-based management scenarios. Such science needs address the integration of public policies for conservation, spatial planning and resource management such as in the MFSD, and are programmed at national (Allenvi programme for the sea) and European (JPI-Oceans, H2020) levels. Also, integrated ecosystem understanding and assessment is an overarching objective of ICES strategic plan. The implementation of such integrated approaches for ocean management require to develop methods and tools for integrating knowledge. The spatial and human dimensions are key as interactions in socio-ecosystems are place-based. The methods used, in particular statistical methods, will need to consider inter alia, links between system components, cumulative effects, and risk. The work will build on the collective statistical expertise in the research unit EMH on indicators. Beyond ecosystem assessment, the work will contribute to elaborate management scenarios that address multiple objectives and collaborations with social scientists will be necessary in this perspective.

General areas of responsibility (principal missions)
• Develop methods for integrating knowledge applied to ecosystem assessment
• Develop methods for assessing ecosystems based on indicators
• Perform integrated ecosystem assessments over marine eco-regions
• Contribute to developing management scenarios addressing multiple objectives

Principal activities
• Make use of statistical methods to integrate knowledge and data (measurements, indicators, model results) of various types informing on all ecosystem compartments, their state and pressures
• Provide spatial representations of ecosystem characteristics (production, biodiversity, trophic hotspots, habitats, temporal variability) and define spatial limits of ecosystems
• Contribute to the development of indicator-based methods for assessing ecosystem health, including: trend detection, reference points, cumulative effects, aggregation of indicators, risk
• Perform ecosystem assessments and contribute to assessing Good Environmental Status for MSFD considering environment, trophic relationships, habitats, human uses and impacts, and pollution
• Contribute to developing governance scenarios with multiple and coherent objectives to ensure ecosystem conservation and resource sustainable exploitation

Collaborative work environment

Internal collaborative relationship: work with all researchers at EMH in developing an integrated statistical framework for ecosystem assessment; collaborate with other fisheries units for assessing various eco-regions and characterizing human impacts and activities; collaborate with non-fisheries units of departments RBE and ODE on environment, contaminants, pollution

External collaborative relationship: participate to the ICES working group on the assessment of ecosystems in western european waters; collaborate with social scientists from university of Nantes within the network IUML; participate to international research projects; get involved in advisory works for MSFD at national and European levels.

Profile and expertise sought

Initial training

PhD and/or Postdoc in Quantitative ecology or Applied statistics

Personal qualities

• Rigour and precision
• Capacity to work collaboratively
• Interest for inter-disciplinary works
• Willingness to learn french

Specific knowledge

• Statistical methods : bayesian methods including belief networks and dynamic linear models ; time series analysis ; spatial statistics, multivariate data analyses
• Methods for organizing and integrating knowledge such like ODDEM
• Marine Ecology
• Programming langages (R, MatLab)
• Data bases (SQL, postgresp)