The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment. It is a community of 12,000 people with more than 200 research units and 42 experimental units located throughout France. The institute is among the world leaders in agricultural and food sciences, in plant and animal sciences, and is 11th in the world in ecology and environment. INRAE’s main goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. In the face of the increase in population, climate change, scarcity of resources and decline in biodiversity, the institute develops solutions for multiperformance agriculture, high quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.

Work environment, missions and activities

Climate change threatens our forests and the multiple services they provide. Hybridization is one of the possible genetic mechanisms for resilience and adaptation of natural and plantation-based forest stands to this threat. We propose to model the adaptive impacts of hybridization of the native silver fir (Abies alba Mill.) in mainland France, a species vulnerable to climate change (Figure 1a), by more drought-resistant species of the genus Abies (Figure 1b). To this end, we will modify a physio-demo-genetic model (PDG) developed at INRAE, simulating tree growth, survival, reproduction, migration and genetic evolution at the population level, to integrate gene flow between “sister” species of different adaptive potentials.

We will focus on tree traits related leaf phenology (budbreak date) and response to water stress (stomatal closure and xylem vulnerability to cavitation). These traits determine drought and late frost susceptibility, which are the two main climatic risks affecting Mediterranean fir trees.

The thesis will contribute to the development of a generic modeling tool, allowing to evaluate the evolutionary consequences of hybridization between sister species. The thesis will also address the possible positive consequences of hybridization (genetic enrichment, mitigation of the risk of decline), but also its potential negative consequences (risk of maladaptation, of loss of local genetic diversity) associated with climate change.

INRAE’s life quality

By joining our teams, you benefit from (depending on the type of contract and its duration):

– up to 30 days of annual leave + 15 days “Reduction of Working Time” (for a full time);
– parenting support: CESU childcare, leisure services;
– skills development systems: training, career advise;
– social support: advice and listening, social assistance and loans;
– holiday and leisure services: holiday vouchers, accommodation at preferential rates;
– sports and cultural activities;
– collective catering.

How to apply

I send my CV and my motivation letter to: Thesis supervisors : Hendrik Davi (, Caroline Scotti-Saintagne (,
Socio-economic partnership: Office National des Forêts (ONF)
Budget contributors: INRAE, SUD PACA Region, ONF
Duration: 3 years (end 2022 – end 2025)

Duration: 3 years Beginning: 03/10/2022 Remuneration: 1975 euros gross salary per month Reference: OT-14932 Dealine: 15/07/2022

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