Researcher on chemodiversity of microalgae

Researcher on chemodiversity of microalgae

Atlantic Center, Nantes

Department of Oceanography and Ecosystem Dynamics

Laboratoire Phycotoxines (PHYC)

Deadline for applications: 13th November 2016

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 Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.

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.

The DYNECO (Dynamics of Coastal Ecosystems) research unit is one component of the « Oceanography and Ecosystems Dynamic » department and has for main objective to study how coastal ecosystems respond to anthropogenic or natural pressures. DYNECO conducts scientific and expert assessment activities in this field. The global approach rests on the analysis of physical and biogeochemical processes and is based on experimentations, in-situ observations and modelling. The main research areas concern : i) dissolved and particulate matter fluxes within marine coastal ecosystems , ii) diversity, functioning and future of communities and of their habitats, iii) perturbation at population scale.

Within the DYNECO unit, the PHYC laboratory, located in Nantes, meets the needs of research and expertise related to the proliferation of microalgae to produce their toxins and their impacts on marine food webs.The aim is to complement and advance the scientific and technical knowledge of toxin biosynthesis pathways and algal metabolites, and their transfer, fate and effects in the marine coastal ecosystem. The lab is working with partners at the regional, national, European and international level.

The post of researcher on chemodiversity / metabolomics of toxic microalgae is part of the topic “Ecophysiology of toxic or harmful microalgae and evolution of their metabolome” developed in the laboratory. More and more projects conducted by PHYC are set up to assess the effects of environmental and nutritional factors on the growth and metabolite production of algae, incluging toxins from microalgae and cyanobacteria, within a context of global change. Indeed, we constantly expand our investigation field, with pelagic and also epiphytic and benthic organisms belonging to microplankton or nanoplankton autotrophic or heterotrophic.

Under the responsibility of the head of the PHYC Laboratory, the recruited researcher will ensure scientific and technical leading of the collaborative action “Chemodiversity of toxic microalgae” and set up research activities based on experimental plans for:
· Describing the chemical diversity of algal metabolites from potentially toxic microalgal strains available in culture collections, detected or not on French coasts,
· Identifying and understanding the interaction between toxins and other intracellular algal metabolites in order to determine the markers associated with toxicity,
· Describing and understanding the fate of algal toxins inside the coastal food webs.

He/She will
1. Develop approaches for the structural elucidation of toxins and other key metabolites from microalgae
2. Contribute to identify the active sites involved in the biological activity of algal metabolites,
3. Identify, through a metabolomic approach, the biodegradation and biotransformation products of algal toxins in the ecosystem,
4. Coordinate the implementation of :
i) metabolomic data processing procedures of data produced using high resolution mass spectrometry, as well as the statistical analyses of data
ii) storage procedures, transfer and archiving of metabolomic data
5. Participate in responses to tenders from research programs at national, European and international level.
6. Participate in field studies.

Internal collaborative relationship:
French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea The research work will be carried out in close relationship with Ifremer teams involved in the theme “Toxic algae and algal toxins” Unit DYNECO / Pélagos, Environment and Resources Laboratories (Concarneau, Normandie, Sète …).

External collaborative relationship:
The researcher will conduct its research in collaboration with our partners at national level in the GDRPHYCOTOX (Lemar, UBO, Roscoff Station, Marbec …) as well as European and international levels.

Profile and expertise sought

Initial training

PhD: Chemistry of natural substances, Analytical Chemistry


Post-doc: 2 to 3 years

Personal qualities

· Initiative and ability to synthesize
· Ability to manage and teamwork
· Drafting quality
· Valorization of results / Writing publications
· Availability, dynamism and quality of listening

Specific knowledge

· Strong knowledge in molecular chemistry, structural elucidation, mass spectral interpretation
· Analytical chemistry using high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS)
· Metabolomic approach, enzymology, biotransformation in vitro
· Chemical transformation in ecosystems
· Strong knowledge of metabolomic data processing tools
· Fluent English: read and spoken