PhD : LOCal adaptation of the toxic dinoflagellate ALexandrium minutum (LOCAL) (M/F)

Reference: PV-2024-1413/1


Duration in months :36

Start date:

Deadline for applications:15/04/2024



General areas of responsibility

DYNECO (Dynamics of Coastal Ecosystems) research unit works on coastal ecosystem evolution in response to natural and anthropic perturbations. It conducts scientific and expert assessment activities in this field aiming to understand, model and predict 1) mater fluxes in the land-sea continuum, and 2) spatial and temporal biodiversity dynamics. The approaches involve observation, experimentation and modeling.


Within DYNECO, the PELAGOS laboratory focuses on coastal pelagic ecosystems. The laboratory works on the biogeochemical fluxes at the interfaces and the dynamics of costal phytoplankton communities, with a special focus on harmful algal blooms. The laboratory brings together chemists, biogeochemists and biologists.


Shellfish are amongst the most durable animal protein food source. However, sustainable shellfish production is hampered by several factors, including the bioaccumulation of toxins produced by phytoplankton species such as Alexandrium minutum. Due to their extensive dispersal abilities in the marine environment, phytoplankton species are expected to display homogeneous populations worldwide. Yet, strong spatial genetic structure is extremely common. You will investigate whether this strong spatial genetic structure may be explained by local adaptation to contrasting environmental conditions. Local adaptation is rarely investigated in phytoplankton, yet it may be key to better understand the development of toxic species in the context of climate change. Using populations developing in Brittany (France) and Galicia (Spain), you will: 1. Analyse long-term monitoring series to identify the environmental conditions associated with A. minutum development in the two ecosystems; 2. Determine the functions of the genes belonging to genomic regions displaying extensive inter-population divergence; 3. Characterize the functional divergence between populations using in vitro experiments

Key words

Harmful Algal Blooms, Population and Functional genomics, Functional diversity, Local adaptation, Ecology




Required Knowledge, skills, and characteristics


  • Master’s degree in biodiversity, ecology, evolution and/or oceanography.
  • Interest to use both command-line based tools (statistical modelling, bioinformatics) and experimental approaches to investigate the functional aspects of phytoplankton intraspecific diversity.




Specific working conditions


Phd is a real opportunity to work on Ifremer's scientific and technological priority themes. It entitle the holder to a gross monthly salary of 2300 euros gross for a period of 3 years, which cannot be combined with other scholarships. 


This PhD position is based in the Pelagos laboratory (Plouzané, France) and will include short stays in the “Harmful algae and plankton ecology” group, at the Oceanographic Center of Vigo (Spain).


How to apply for this position


Your application file must include:

  • a curriculum vitae 
  • a cover letter
  • a reference letter
  • an academic transcript (Bachelor + Master 1 and first semester Master 2)


Your application must be compiled into up to 2 PDF files, up to 3 MB for each file.


The deadline for applications is April 15th, 2024. Nevertheless, we strongly urge you to let us know as soon as possible of your intention to apply, by contacting the subject supervisor:


In paralell, please submit your application to the doctoral school : EDSML (


Doctoral students' contracts will start as of October 1st, 2024, subject to the submission of administrative documents authorizing Ifremer to recruit the doctoral student (certificate of completion of the Master 2 or engineering degree + visa for foreign doctoral students outside the EU).




The Institute and the recruiting departement 

A pioneer in ocean science, IFREMER’s cutting-edge research is grounded in sustainable development and open science. Our vision is to advance science, expertise and innovation to:

- Protect and restore the ocean

- Sustainably use marine resources to benefit society

- Create and share ocean data, information & knowledge.

With more than 1,500 personnel spread along the French coastline in more than 20 sites, the Institute explores the 3 great oceans: the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. A leader in ocean science, IFREMER is managing the French Oceanographic Fleet and its dedicated scientists create ground-breaking technology to push the boundaries of ocean exploration and knowledge, from the abyss to the atmosphere-ocean interface.

Well-established in the international scientific community, our scientists, engineers and technicians are committed to advance knowledge about our planet’s last unexplored frontiers. They provide the science we need for informed decision-making and public policy and they transfer this knowledge and technology to businesses to fulfill public and private needs. Core to our mission is also to strengthen public awareness about the importance of understanding the ocean and its resources, and empowering future generations of leaders through education and outreach national campaigns.

Founded in 1984, IFREMER is a French public organization and its budget approximates 240 million euros. It is operating under the joint authority of the French Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation, the french Ministry of the Sea, the French Ministry for the Ecological and Solidary Transition, and the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food.


How to apply for this position

Deadline for applications: 15/04/2024

All applications are processed exclusively via our website. Interested candidates can apply by clicking the Apply button. 

Ifremer - French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea

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No deadline
Location: France, Brest
Categories: biodiversity, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Evolutionary Ecology, PhD, physical oceanography,


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