Postdoctoral position in Tree Ecophysiology

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One-year postdoctoral research position in Tree Ecophysiology

A one-year postdoctoral fellowship is available at the INRA Nancy-Lorraine Center (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) in France. This position is being offered within the framework of the INTERDROUGHT project funded by LabEx ARBRE and conducted in partnership with researchers from INRA (Nancy), the University of Lorraine (Nancy) and WSL in Switwerland.

Context — Extreme events induced by climate change will have drastic consequences on forest functions and services and may lead to more drought-induced die-off events. It is well know that biodiversity can promote forest ecosystem productivity. Furthermore, depending on local environmental conditions and species composition, it has been demonstrated that mixed species forests can be, but are not necessarily, more resistant to drought stress than pure stands.

Objectives — The main objective of this project is to characterize the soil water uptake dynamics and carbon allocation patterns of tree seedlings growing under different species interaction conditions an different soil water regimes (drought vs. well-watered). These characterizations are crucial to understanding the mechanisms for positive biodiversity effects previously observed in natural forests.

Approaches — To address the mechanisms leading to diversity and interaction effects, we plan to assess above- and below-ground biomass allocation, characterize photosynthetic activity and water use efficiency on Pine and Oak seedlings to be grown in mesocosms under controlled greenhouse conditions at INRA in 2015-2016. Moreover, we will conduct a double labelling experiment (13C in ambient CO2 and 2H for water) to assess the ability of plants to partition new assimilates and exploit soil water resources when exposed to varying water availability and interaction. Complementing the main experiment in Nancy, C-allocation (13C pulse labelling) will be characterised under different drought intensities (gradient of soil water content) in Pine and Oak monocultures in an experimental set-up at WSL.


The position :

We are currently offering a postdoctoral research position for a period of 12 months (fixed term contract). The position will integrate into a top-level research group (UMR EEF – Joint Research Unit for Forest Ecology and Ecophysiology within the LabEx ARBRE and WSL-Zürich). The candidate will be based in Nancy, France and will occasionally be required to travel to Zürich, Switzerland.

Responsibilities include :

  • Running the above-mentioned experiments in collaboration with partners from INRA, the University of Lorraine and WSL,
  • Preparing 1-2 manuscripts based on these experiments,
  • Preparing a larger project to be submitted jointly to ANF/SNF, in order to transfer the respective mechanisms to field settings in Switzerland and France (mature plantations or forests) for which an additional 2-3 year postdoctoral research position will be included.

Salary level will correspond to “Chargé de Recherches, 1ère classe” level.

Requirements : Candidates should hold a PhD in Plant Ecophysiology, and should have strong experience in Stable Isotopes. They should have excellent written skills as illustrated by their publication record.

The deadline to apply is November 15, 2015.
The position will begin on February 1, 2016.

To apply —  Please contact Damian Bonal ( — Tel. +33 383 39 73 43) and Marcus Schaub ( by email and include the following :

  • A detailed CV
  • A letter of motivation
  • A list of publications