The position is based at INRA-Nancy Center, France. This center undertakes fundamental and applied research on forest and plantation tree species, with strong expertise in biogeochemistry, forestry, ecophysiology, microbiology, as well as on soil-plant interactions. The center offers a creative and a stimulating international environment, and belongs to the Cluster of Excellence ”ARBRE” at INRA and University of Lorraine.
This work will be part of QLSPiMs project (Quantum Leap for Soil-Plant interaction Models) which aims at developing soil-plant models designed to help the forestry sector to assess the longterm impacts of global changes and to address the economic challenges imposed by the adaptation to these changes. To cope with these objectives and to provide all the indicators related to the ecosystems services considered in the project (wood production, carbon sequestration, water provision in terms of quantity and quality), the strategy adopted by QLSPiMs rests on three main pillars: (i) an interdisciplinary approach combining ecophysiology, forestry, biogeochemistry, microbiology to deepen the knowledge about the impact of soil nutritional status and soil water availability on tree functioning ; (ii) an innovative modeling methodology which combines concepts (rather than modules), revisits the underlying hypotheses of the existing models (rather than increasing their complexity to cope with any new process in the ecosystem), and takes advantage of the large diversity of modelling approaches (rather than seeking for an unique and universal model); (iii) a close articulation between theory, process-based modelling, and statistically-assisted observation to explore the patterns of dose-response curves to water, nutrient and energy resources of integrated traits of tree communities.
Within this context, we are seeking for a young research scientist to integrate our (national and international) modeling research group. She/he will be in charge of the modelisation of nutrient cycles in the soil (P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn cycles). Processes such as weathering, ion exchanges, leaching will be considered by integrating concepts arising from various existing models (ex: ForNBM, ForSafe, Profile, PhreeQC, Min3P, etc…). The main challenges consist in (i) identifying the causal loop and feedback loop diagrams from the current knowledge on nutrient cycles – in connection with water, C and N cycles, (ii) formulating from this analysis a set of sound mathematical equations where the underlying process-based concepts can be summarized into phenomenological models, (iii) introduce this set of equation into the soil-plant model under development in this group, (iv) perform an evaluation of this model against data collected on comprehensive sites (Eucalyptus, Beech, Oak, Douglas Fir). This work will be done in the laboratory on Biogeochemical Cycles in Forests Ecosystems in close collaboration with several research units in Nancy (IECN, IaM, Lerfob, EEF), France (ECO&Sols, ESE) and Europe (ULUND, VTi, ISA).
The applicant should be highly motivated and have a PhD degree in Mathematics or in Soil science with good skills in mathematics (eg. bachelor or Master of Science in mathematics). Knowledge in forest/agricultural ecosystem functioning would be an advantage. Proven skills in both oral and written scientific English are required. To be appointed as a postdoc, the applicant should have been awarded her/his PhD no more than three years ago at the time of application.
12 months (can be extended to 24 months), start: ideally June/July 1th 2013.
How to apply?
Applicants should submit a CV including a publication list and a short description of previous research, current research interests and other activities of relevance for the position. A copy of the PhD diploma, copies of no more than three publications, and telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of up to three references should be given. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
Laurent Saint-André (email@example.com)
Jean-Daniel Bontemps (firstname.lastname@example.org)