Permanent scientist position in Microalgae Ecophysiology

Centre Atlantique, Nantes

The laboratory of Physiology and Biotechnology of Algae (PBA)

French Atlantic center, city of Nantes

Deadline for applications: 17th 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.

The Marine Resources Biotechnology research Unit (BRM) aims at developing knowledge and valorization of marine microbiological resources (bacteria and microalgae), through biotechnology and bioprospecting. The laboratory of Physiology and Biotechnology of Algae (PBA) is part of the BRM research Unit.
The PBA laboratory aims at increasing knowledge on mechanisms and strategies microalgae use to cope with changing environment. The activity concerns both biotechnology and environmental purposes. Microalgae are a strategic domain for valorization at Ifremer.
The research project of the laboratory consists in three directions:
o Cellular resilience and acclimation to environmental forcing
o Adaptation processes
o Interactions between microalgae and bacteria
All three directions are explored through an integrated approach including ecophysiology, molecular biology, bioinformatics and modelling. The laboratory also develops experimental devices for its own needs, which can result in technology transfer to other Ifremer laboratories or partner organizations.

Within the “Biological Resources and Environment” department and the “Biotechnology and Marine Resources” unit, he / she is placed under the command responsibility of the head of the laboratory “Physiology and biotechnology of algae” (PBA).He / she primarily works in the area of research on acclimation and cellular resilience of microalgae. This research aims a better understanding of induced metabolic changes in microalgae in response to environmental forcing. He / she primarily invests in understanding the mechanisms and strategies of mineral nutrition (especially nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)) in phytoplankton.
Microalgae mineral nutrition will be investigated as part of research on biotic interactions by studying microalgae-bacteria relationships. This aspect will involve interacting with the UMR Marbec which implements an ecosystemic approach, complementary to the approaches developed by the PBA laboratory.

Principal activities

He / she interacts internally with the researchers involved in the “Metabolic Modeling of Microalgae” for the design and implementation of experiments. He / she participates in the exploitation of eco-physiological and genomic data produced, thus contributing to the understanding of the strategies and physiological mechanisms in phytoplankton.
He / she focuses primarily on understanding the mechanisms and strategies of mineral nutrition in microalgae in particular studying the mechanisms of interaction between nitrogen and phosphorus, absorption mechanisms and nutrient allocation and storage. He / she also participates in studies on the excretion of organic nitrogen (amino acids, proteins, etc.)
He / she contributes to the understanding of the physiology of genetically improved microalgae strains in connection with the laboratory’s “adaptation” axis.
He / she is involved in ongoing projects and contribute to the dynamic of the laboratory in the study of physiology and understanding of the metabolism of microalgae of biotechnological interest.
He / she is also involved in nutrient-based interactions between microalgae and bacteria. As such, he / she supports a close connection between the laboratory and UMR MARBEC, for studies dealing with microalgae-bacteria interactions.

Principal activities

Working closely with the teams of the laboratory and their external partners, he / she will more specifically peform the following tasks:
• Contribute to understanding the mechanisms and strategies of mineral nutrition in microalgae in direct interaction with the other approaches developed by the laboratory (modeling, genomics, bioinformatics, etc.).
• Develop relevant approaches to study the impact of mineral nutrition on physiological responses (photosynthesis, carbon and nitrogen metabolism, protein synthesis, energy metabolism, lipid production, carotenoids) of microalgae.
• Participate in the conceptualization, implementation and interpretation of biological experiments.
• In this research context, he / she will be called upon to respond to calls for proposals (regional projects, ANR, European projects) in these fields of activity, and to develop a network of collaborations both internally and with other research institutes (including abroad).
• Actively participate to scientific production (international publications) and valorization.

Collaborative work environment

Internal collaborative relationship: MARBEC Unit (MARine Biodiversity, Exploitation and Conservation)
External collaborative relationship: research institutes in France and abroad

Profile and expertise sought

Initial training

PhD in biology (Specialization in Plant Physiology)


A post-doctoral experience in the field of plant ecophysiology (plants or microalgae) is required. Accreditation to supervise research is a plus.

Personal qualities

• Ability to coaching, unifying, interpersonal skills
• teaching skills
• Dynamism
• Scientific rigor
• Writing skills in French and English

Specific knowledge

• solid knowledge of mineral nutrition of plants and / or microalgae
• Expertise in experimental nutrition research techniques in plants (marking, measuring resource allocation, transport, absorption, assimilation and storage)
• knowledge and technical mastery of sequential cultures, chemostat and turbidostat
• General knowledge of plant metabolism
• Theoretical and practical skills in photosynthesis
• Excellent command of English