[MARMAM] fully funded PhD project focusing on marine mammal conservation and shifting baselines
Kristin.Kaschner at biologie.uni-freiburg.de
Fri Oct 7 02:36:10 PDT 2011
a project that I am involved in is looking for
candidates interested in a fully-funded PhD
project focusing on large scale marine mammal
conservation issues and shifting baselines. For more information, see below.
Human impact on the global patterns of
marine mammal distribution and abundance
Overview: This 3-year, fully funded, PhD project,
will quantify the impact of historical human
activities on the global patterns of diversity
and abundance of marine mammal species. It will
be based at the Centre dEcologie Fonctionelle et
Evolutive, Montpellier, France, supervised by Ana
Rodrigues. Application deadline: 31 October.
Key words: marine ecosystems, marine mammals,
macroecology, species distribution models,
sustainable management, shifting baselines
We live in a human dominated planet, and the
oceans are no exception. Through a combination of
a growing population, mounting consumption and
waste, and increasingly sophisticated
technologies, human activities now impact all
marine ecosystems, from the deep-sea to coral
reefs, to remote islands, to the open ocean.
Whereas these changes are accelerating,
significant human impacts on marine systems
started millennia ago. Yet because such changes
took place gradually and with little recorded
evidence, the full scale of the cumulative human
impact on marine systems has only recently begun
to be understood through anecdotal historical
records showing evidence of past seas of
spectacular abundance. This case of collective
amnesia by the progressive adjustment to
increasingly impoverished ecosystems has been
termed the shifting baseline. It affects not
only scientific and popular perception of what
natural ecosystems look like in terms of species
composition and abundance, but also narrows our
perception of the options available for the future.
This project will investigate the extent to which
the introduction of an historical perspective
affects perceptions of past human impact,
projections of future change, the goals, targets
and options considered, and ultimately the
recommendations for conservation and management
of marine natural resources. This will be done
through the lens of marine mammals, a
particularly interesting group given their strong
and long relationship with humans, from
millennia-old cave-art, to the near-obliteration
of some species through commercial exploitation,
to the emotional attachment felt even by many who
have never been in direct contact with these
species. Furthermore, some of these species have
important roles in shaping ecosystems, and
despite their charisma many remain very poorly known.
Objectives and methods
This project will quantify the impact of
historical human activities on the patterns of
diversity and abundance in marine mammal species,
as a basis for conservation and management strategies at the global scale.
Specifically, the project will:
- Review and synthesise information on the
historical and current distribution of all marine
mammal species, both from existing datasets and
by compiling scattered data from the ecological,
archaeological, zooarchaeological, and historical literatures.
- Participate in the development of statistical
models for predicting the current and historical
global distribution of marine mammal species.
- Quantify and map the impact of historical
global change on patterns of diversity of marine
mammal species, using Geographic Information Systems.
- Participate in the development of a
multidisciplinary reflection of the goals,
targets and options for the conservation and
management of marine mammals within a human-dominated planet.
- Contribute to the dissemination of the results
of this project to a wide and diverse audience
comprising scientists, stakeholders and the wide public.
The successful candidate will possess:
- A solid academic background in ecology.
- A rigorous and detail-oriented approach to work
with an aptitude for exploring and analysing historical datasets.
- Strong analytical skills, including knowledge
or capacity to learn GIS and programming skills
(for example in R) for the manipulation and
analyses of large spatial datasets.
- Good interpersonal skills needed for working as
part of a large team, and for coordinating
multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional meetings
involving scientists and stakeholders.
- Good command of the English language.
This PhD is a part of the ANR-funded MORSE
project: Management of Ocean Resources under
Shifting Expectations - bringing the historical
perspective into marine mammal conservation. The
MORSE project is a partnership between the Centre
dEcologie Fonctionelle et Evolutive (CEFE CNRS
UMR5175; www.cefe.cnrs.fr), the Institut de
Recherche pour le Développement (David Kaplan,
IRD UMR212, www.umr-eme.org/), and the laboratory
Ecologie des systèmes marins côtiers (Fabien
Leprieur, ECOSYM CNRS UMR5119,
http://www.ecosym.univ-montp2.fr), with the
collaboration of a network of international partners.
The student will be supervised by Ana Rodrigues
based at the CEFE, and affiliated with the
SIBAGHE Doctoral School, Université Montpellier 2
Gross income is about 1700. The student will be
hired under a doctoral contract that includes
pension and health benefits. The PhD will start
the 1st of December 2011 or as soon as possible afterwards.
Please send a detailed CV, course grades from
most recent academic work, letter of motivation,
and name and contacts (email and phone number) of
two or more researchers capable of assessing your
competence for this position via email to
ana.rodrigues at cefe.cnrs.fr by the 31 October 2011.
Kristin Kaschner, Ph.D.
Evolutionary Biology & Ecology Lab
Institute of Biology I (Zoology)
ph: ++ 49 178 547 7760
email: Kristin.Kaschner at biologie.uni-freiburg.de
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