PhD in Animal Ecology ~

1 de febrero de 2011

PhD in Animal Ecology

Influence of climatic fluctuations
on Common Eider life history
and population dynamics: variation within and between

Project description
In the context of global warming, understanding the
response of wildlife to climatic fluctuations is
crucial. To date, most studies examining the impact of
changing climate on wildlife have focused on
the response of a single population. However,
heterogeneity among populations may exist, which
could affect our understanding of climate change
consequences. Moreover, heterogeneity in the
way individuals react to changes in climatic conditions
(i.e. their phenotypic plasticity) is also critical
to understand how populations may cope with a warming
climate. Consequently, to understand and
predict wildlife response to ongoing climate changes, it is
necessary to understand and take into
account both differences among populations and among
The goals of this project are (1) to assess and understand
the responses to changing climatic
and oceanographic conditions at the individual and
population level, and (2) compare the responses
among three populations of an Arctic breeding seabird,
the Common Eider Duck Somateria
mollissima. The Common eider is a seaduck known to be
sensitive to climatic conditions. It has a
circumpolar distribution breeding mainly on small islands
in Arctic and boreal marine areas in Alaska,
Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Western Europe (Norway),
and the Barents Sea region. The project is
based on long ]term longitudinal individual data (>15
years) collected in three Arctic or sub ]Arctic
populations (Svalbard, Norway; Southampton Island,
Canada; Grindoya, Norway). Statistical and
mathematical modeling will permit to assess the effect of
climate among and within these
populations using capture ] recapture data and
population counts, and understand the demographic
processes by which climate may affect population using
matrix models. An experimental
manipulation of the temperature experienced by female
eiders during incubation is also planned.
The project will be done in collaboration with Stephanie
Jenouvrier (WHOI ]USA, CNRSFrance),
Joel Bety (UQAR, Canada), Kjell ]Einar Erikstad (NINA,
Norway), Geir W. Gabrielsen (NPI,
Norway), Grant Gilchrist (Environment Canada), Oliver
Love (U. Windsor, Canada), Mark Forbes (U.
Carleton, Canada) and Sebastien Descamps (NPI,
Tromso). The main location will likely be in Canada
but this may be discussed with the candidate (a location
in USA, France or Norway is also possible). In
any case, regular trips to Tromso (Norway) and Boston
(USA) are expected. Fieldwork in the different
eider populations is also strongly encouraged.

Start : as soon as possible (ideally, before May 2011)
Salary: annual scholarship between 17000 and 20000
CAD for 3 years.
Qualifications : The candidate should have strong skills in
statistics and modelling (e.g., survival
modelling based on capture ]mark ]recapture data,
matrix models, time ]series analyses). English will
be the main language of communication, thus fluent
English is essential. Good leadership as well as
the ability to work in collaboration with different teams is
also required.

To apply, send before February 20th, 2011 a CV, the
name and coordinates of 2 references and a
short letter of motivation (1 page, in english) including
some examples of questions that you would
like to develop during the course of this PhD to :
Sebastien Descamps ] Norwegian Polar Institute
Polar Environmental Centre, 9296 Tromso, Norway

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