Project: Trophic responses to macroecological gradients PTDC/BIA-BIC/0352/2014
Scientific Area: Aquatic Ecology, Biology, Biogeography
Background: Climate change ranks amongst the greatest threats to biodiversity across the Earth’s biomes. Following changes in the climate, communities disassemble and reassemble in seemingly unpredictable ways. Contradictory evidence in the literature suggests that determining the processes that drive species to respond as individuals or as groups depends on the scale of the observation. While large-scale surveys reveal species distributions, they offer limited insight towards understanding the underpinning mechanisms. Small-scale studies might enable understanding some of the mechanisms involved but such results are rarely generalized across different regions and different climatic conditions. Reconciling theoretical, empirical and experimental approaches is therefore essential to advance understanding about the way natural communities respond to the environment. TrophicResponse – Trophic responses to macroecological gradients – addresses this challenge with an interdisciplinary project that investigates, firstly, whether species respond synchronously to environmental change and, secondly, whether such synchrony (or lack of) can be generalized across observational scales and biogeographic regions. This project combines different disciplines (i.e. Macroecology, Biogeography, Community and Molecular Ecology) and integrates different sources of information, such as species occurrences, functional traits, and phylogenies to improve predictions of changes in trophic structure. The research plan includes: (i) Describing macroecological patterns in trophic structure by combining existing knowledge in the literature (e.g. distribution and ecological traits data), and quantitative field surveys using cutting-edge Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques; (ii) Test trophic responses to simulated environmental change using the IberianPonds (www.iberianponds.uevora.pt) experimental facility that consists of 192 artificial ponds distributed across six locations in the Iberian Peninsula and spanning a representative environmental gradient within Iberia; (iii) Integrate knowledge from theoretical, empirical and experimental approaches to produce improved forecasts of changes in trophic structure under predicted environmental change. TrophicResponse brings together an interdisciplinary team coordinated by an early-career community ecologist (Dr. Matias, CIBIO-InBIO) with experience in theoretical, empirical and experimental approaches in biodiversity research. The research team includes experienced researchers in fields of biodiversity modelling and climate change, including Prof. Miguel Araújo (CIBIO-INBio), David Vieites (MNCN-CSIC), Tom Gilbert (Natural History Museum of Denmark), Prof. Jonathan Chase, (iDiv), Prof. Mathew Leibold (University of Texas), Prof. Guy Woodward (Imperial College London), Dr. Pedro Raposeiro (CIBIO- INBio).
Some key papers for the project
- Matias, M. G., Pereira, C. L., Raposeiro, P. M., Gonçalves, V., Cruz, A. M., Costa, A. C., & Araújo, M. B. (2017). Divergent trophic responses to biogeographic and environmental gradients. Oikos, 126(1), 101-110.
- Araújo, M.B. & Rozenfeld, A. 2014. The geographic scaling of biotic interactions. 37: 406-415.
- Araújo, M.B., Rozenfeld, R., Rahbek, C. & Marquet, P.A. 2011. Using species coexistence networks to assess the impacts of climate change. Ecography. 34: 897-908.
- Livingston, G., Matias, M., et al. 2012. Competition-colonization dynamics in experimental bacterial metacommunities. Nat Commun. 3: 1234.
- Fordham, D.A., et al., 2013. Adapted conservation measures are required to save the Iberian lynx in a changing climate. Nature Clim. Change. 3: 899–903.
- Baselga, A. & Araújo, M.B. 2009. Individualistic vs. community modelling of species distributions under climate change. Ecography. 32: 55-65.
- Morales-Castilla, I., Matias, M.G., Gravel, D. & Araújo, M.B. 2015. Inferring biotic interactions from proxies. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 30: 347–356.
Profile and qualifications:
- PhD in Biology, Ecology, or related fields with solid background in Aquatic Ecology.
- Knowledge of analytical description/analysis of aquatic food webs.
- Proven experience with field sampling and identification of freshwater organisms, with particular emphasis on aquatic insects, crustaceans and molluscs.
- Good publication record in internationally refereed journals.
- Knowledge of data storage, handling and analysis (e.g. Excel, R, etc.)
- English as a first or second language is required.
- Driving license.
Work Plan: The successful candidate will be involved:
- Analysis of existing datasets to describe and model changes in aquatic food webs.
- Field sampling using a combination of traditional and Environmental-DNA techniques
- Systematic identification and quantification of aquatic macroinvertebrates.
Research environment: The postdoc will be directly supervised by Dr. Miguel Matias (www.miguelmatias.com) and Prof. Miguel Araújo (www.maraujolab.com), while being physically located at the CIBIO-UE (www.cibioue.uevora.pt).
Legislation framework: A fellowship contract will be celebrated according to the regulations defined by FCT “Regulations for Advanced Training and Qualification of Human Resources”, in accordance with Law 40/2004, of 18 August, as amended and republished by Decree-Law No. 202/2012 of 27 August, and as amended by Decree-Law No. 233/2012 of 29 October and by Law No. 12/2013, of 29 January, and Decree-Law No. 89/2013 of 9 July, to Fellowships Regulation of FCT (www.fct.pt/apoios/bolsas/docs/RegulamentoBolsasFCT2015.pdf).
Place of work: CIBIO/InBio – University of Évora
Duration and Starting date: 12 months potentially renewable until the end of the project, starting in December 2017.
Stipend: Salary: Monthly stipend is €1495 according to the stipends established by FCT, I.P. in Portugal (http://alfa.fct.mctes.pt/apoios/bolsas/valores) plus social security. Payment will be made by bank transfer on a monthly basis.
Evaluation Methods: Evaluation will be based on academic qualifications (25%), motivation and interest in the project (25%), demonstrated experience and skills in relevant areas (50%). There may be resorting to interviews. The jury reserves the right to not select any candidate, if submitted applications do not meet the required profile.
Evaluation Panel: Dr. Miguel Matias, Dr. Miguel Bastos Araújo and Dr. Márcia Barbosa
Results: The final results will be affixed in a visible and public place at CIBIO-University of Évora and candidates will be notified by email.
Application: the competition is open from 16 to 28 of October 2017. Applications should be sent by email to Ana Rita Ferreira (firstname.lastname@example.org). The application must include a cover letter (in English) explaining why you think you are an adequate candidate for the post, a short CV (please no more than 5 pages), external links to five of your most relevant papers, certificates of qualifications, and the names and contacts of two academics that can provide a reference.