Description of the PHD thesis project:

The LaSeR-Med project aims at providing an integrated modelling of the Mediterranean socio- ecological system. The first objective of this project is to predict and analyze through relevant environmental indicators, the impact of climate change on key ecosystem services provided by the terrestrial and marine ecosystems. To achieve this objective, a forecast of changes in the agro- and marine ecosystems of the Mediterranean Basin for the next decades (typically 20-30 years) with the integrated model will be produced, in which the ocean physics and the land components will be forced by the same regional climate model derived from a RCP climatic scenario (IPCC, 2013), therefore providing consistent forcings (in terms of ocean circulation and river nutrients) to the ocean biogeochemical model.

The second objective aims at investigating the impact of combined climate and socio-economic (hereafter SE) scenarios on terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The generic term of SE scenarios here refers to individual as well as public policies and collective action. These scenarios will force the agro-ecosystem model and indirectly impact the oceanic model through rivers discharge and water runoffs. They will explore the behavior (in terms of agricultural practices and land-use management) that could ensure some level of food sufficiency for the Mediterranean populations while also minimizing their own ecological footprint.

The PhD we apply for will be at the heart of the oceanic part of the project. It will work in interaction with (and benefit from) the different post-doc fellowships and M2 internships funded by the OT-Med labex, and devoted to data collection, continental model development and run, comparison of model outputs with data, and elaboration of SE scenario. The PhD student will first have to add in the 3D ocean model NEMO-Med12/ECo3M-Med an explicit CO2 compartment as well as the carbonate chemistry, in order to provide CO2 sequestration fluxes as well as water pH. The PhD student will also have to analyze and assess the ocean 3D hindcast simulations (1979- 2013) in the light of all available data, namely in situ data (in collaboration with F. Carlotti, B. Queguiner, T. Moutin) and satellite data (in collaboration with J.M. André). The link between the stoichiometry of the nutrients inputs (i.e. NO3/PO4 ratios) and the structure of the marine trophic web will be focused on. At this stage, the PhD student will also have to work on the definition of relevant environmental indicators in relation with ecosystem services. To do this, a list of relevant ecosystem services provided by the terrestrial and marine ecosystems will be drawn up. This task will be based on a meticulous literature review. The list will be organized using The Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES) and key ecosystem services will be identified with the help of CICES. The link between environmental indicators and ecosystem services will be established through the “ecosystem service cascade” from Haines-Young and Potschin (2010). These various tasks on ecosystem services will be carry out with the expertise of Dominique Ami (GREQAM).

In the second part of the thesis, the phD student will have to run a first forecast simulation forced by a climatic regional scenario and by the water run-offs provided by the LPJmL continental model. This task will require a collaboration with K. Béranger & T. Arsouze for the implementation of the ocean physical forcings driven by RCP climatic scenarios (obtained in the frame of the ANR-funded project REMEMBER, PI P. Drobinski), and the assistance of the OT-MED labex engineer. The analysis of this forecast in the light of the ecological indicators already defined will provide a reference to be compared with the forecast simulations that will associate socio-economic (SE) scenarios to the RCP climatic scenario. These SE scenarios (that will primarily impact the agro- ecosystem continental model LPJmL and indirectly the marine model through nutrient runoffs) will be produced through post-doctoral research that should be funded by the Laser-Med project and supervised by D. Ami, C. Napoleone (INRA) and A. Bondeau (IMBE). In the frame of the present phD, D. Ami will help in the analysis of the impact of the SE scenarios on the marine ecosystem.

Expected profile of the candidate:

Applicants should hold a master degree in oceanography, and more specifically in biogeochemistry and/or marine chemistry. They should be familiar with coupled physical-biogeochemical ocean models and capable to further develop existing numerical ecosystem models. Programming skills (Fortran 90) and modelling experience are therefore mandatory. Knowledge of Unix/Linux environment will be an advantage. The candidate should have good written and oral communication skills. For work, good skills in the English language will be essential.

Supervisors and contact information:

  • Dr. Melika BAKLOUTI: melika.baklouti (at)
  • Dr. Dominique AMI: dominique.ami (at)

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