PhD : Ecological restoration of the flat oyster in France: optimising methodologies and assessing the emerging functionalities of restored reef populations (ECOREEF) (M/F)

Reference: PV-2024-1433/1


Duration in months :36

Start date:

Deadline for applications:15/04/2024



General areas of responsibility

Ifremer, the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, contributes through its work and expertise to knowledge of the oceans and their resources, observation of the marine and coastal environment and sustainable development of maritime activities. Within Ifremer, this PhD project will be carried out within UMR 6539 LEMAR ( This laboratory brings together biologists, ecologists and bio-geochemists working together and with other research laboratories to better understand the functioning of marine ecosystems in the context of global change and environmental crises (global warming, erosion of biodiversity, emergence of pathogens).


More specifically, the PhD student will be attached to LEMAR's Team 2 (DISCOVERY team). This team focuses its research on knowledge of the ecology and dynamics of marine species and populations of ecological and/or economic interest, the impact of environmental changes and anthropic pressures on these species and their habitats, and the adaptation solutions to be developed as part of the ecological transition (Conservation, Ecological Restoration, Nature-based Solutions, Sustainable Aquaculture, Fisheries Management...). He/she will also work closely with the Ifremer teams in the DYNECO and LITTORAL units.





Faced with the global crisis of biodiversity erosion, the ecological restoration of the marine environment is a relatively recent scientific theme, still in its infancy in France, which, in support of conservation, can provide real solutions to halt the decline of species. Among the various marine habitats in decline and in need of ecological restoration, bivalve reefs occupy a special place. In Europe, and particularly in France, a number of research and development projects carried out over the last ten years have demonstrated that the ecological restoration of the flat oyster and its habitat, once very present on our coasts, is becoming possible by applying and respecting a very precise methodology. Populations of flat oysters thought to be extinct are once again thriving, particularly in the bay of Brest (Rade de Brest), which is gradually becoming a pilot demonstration site for the restoration of this species.


In this context, the work proposed in this thesis will aim to further optimize the restoration methodology and estimate the new ecological functions and emerging ecosystem services provided by the populations undergoing restoration. Three sites will be studied: the Rade de Brest as a pilot restoration site, the Banc de la Rance as a reference site and the Baie de Quiberon as the first application site. The two main ecosystem functions and services to be analyzed in priority will be the biodiversity supply and filtration performance provided by these new populations. Various retrospective and prospective restoration scenarios will also be tested using numerical modeling approaches.


This work will form part of three ongoing restoration projects on a regional, national and European scale (REHPAR, REEFOREST and CLIMAREST) and will be made possible by the close collaboration of three Ifremer units and the supervision of various experts specializing in marine ecology, taxonomy, modeling and ecological restoration.



Key words


Ecological restoration - Benthic ecology - Biodiversity - Engineer species - Ostrea edulis




Required Knowledge, skills, and characteristics


We are looking for a candidate who is particularly motivated by issues of ecology, conservation and ecological restoration in the marine environment, with a Master II degree (university or engineering school) in the fields of biology, ecology and the environment.

Strong experimental management skills (in situ / in vitro) as well as numerical and statistical analysis skills are required. A pronounced taste for taxonomy is a real asset for this thesis, as is a professional diving qualification (CAH Class I or II - mention B). Fluency in English is required.



Specific working conditions


The frequent working conditions associated with this position are as follows:

  • Travel in the field and to other Ifremer laboratories (Brest, Dinard)
  • Monitoring in natural environments, on foreshore or at sea
  • Day trips to coastal environments (zodiac-type boats)
  • Dive experiments on study sites (subject to Professional Diver certification)
  • Experiments under controlled conditions
  • Laboratory analysis
  • Sitting at a computer for long periods
  • Analysis under binocular loupe and 3D microscope


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. 


How to apply for this position


Your application file must include:

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


Your application must be compiled into 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:


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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Location: France, Brest
Categories: biodiversity, Biology, Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Marine Biodiversity, PhD,


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