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La FRB a été créée en 2008 et réunit les organismes publics de recherche, les associations de défense de l’environnement, les gestionnaires d’espaces et de ressources biologiques, ainsi que les entreprises.
Elle constitue un point de convergence entre la science et la société, autour des défis que doit aujourd’hui relever la recherche sur la biodiversité.


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Post doctoral position - An angiosperm-wide analysis of breeding system evolution and associated traits

Job information


Location: FRB – CESAB, 5, rue de l’École de Médecine, 34000 Montpellier, France

Salary: 2250€ per month

Contract: 2 years fixed term, full time

Closing date: 31 August 2019

Starting date: 1 November 2019


The project


The CESAB project “DiveRS” is looking for a motivated candidate for a two-year postdoctoral position on angiosperm breeding system evolution. The project is a collaborative effort of 15 researchers* from different parts of the world to understand how breeding system evolution in plants is linked to the evolution of other traits, as well as speciation and extinction. So far, several patterns have been observed and described, such as the “selfing syndrome” or the correlations of sexual systems with life-history traits, and these have been used to try to understand the effect of breeding systems on evolutionary success. However, many traits that are associated with breeding systems are also thought to influence diversification through other ways. To better distinguish causes and effects, this project seeks to define integrated  evolutionary strategies among these traits and then to investigate how these strategies evolve and shape the diversification process in flowering plants. This will be done by gathering and analyzing complementary databases on breeding systems and other plant traits with large-scale phylogenetic information.


* DiveRS members are : Bruce Anderson (Stellenbosch University, South Africa), Sylvain Billiard (University of Lille 1, France), Concetta Burgarella (CIRAD Montpellier, France), Hugo de Boer (University of Oslo, Norway), Mathilde Dufaÿ (University of Montpellier, France), Sylvain Glémin (PI, CNRS Rennes, France), Emma Goldberg (University of Minnesota, USA), Jos Käfer (co-PI, CNRS Lyon, France), Sarah Otto (University of British Columbia, Canada), Marcos Méndez (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain), John Pannell (University of Lausanne, Switzerland), Denis Roze (CNRS Roscoff, France), Daniel Schoen (McGill University, Canada), Jürg Schönenberger (University of Vienna, Austria), Mario Vallejo-Marin (University of Stirling, UK).


More information about the project DiveRS here. 


Postdoctoral position


The role of the postdoctoral researcher will be central in this project, as he/she will work directly on a database of angiosperm breeding systems and possibly associated traits. He/she will combine information from several published databases and currently private data collections of the project participants. He/she will conduct multivariate analyses on these data, and put these in a phylogenetic context. Further questions studied will depend on the researcher’s interests and skills, but could include diversification analyses, study of genome architecture, and developing or adapting mathematical models.

The postdoctoral researcher will be based at CESAB in the Montpellier city center. He/she will be assisted by CESAB’s data-analyst, and will have frequent interactions with the project coordinators Sylvain Glémin (PI, Rennes) and Jos Käfer (co-PI, Lyon). The researchers participating in the project will meet twice a year in  Montpellier, and the postdoctoral researcher can perform short-term visits to some of their labs.




The candidate should have a background in evolution and ecology. As the researcher will directly deal with large datasets of plants and their traits, at least some knowledge of botany and plant systematics is essential. Furthermore, the candidate should have experience with the informatic and statistical treatment of large datasets. Previous experience with database management is a plus. Finally, the candidate is expected to have an interest and experience in at least one of the following fields: phylogenetic comparative methods, ancestral state reconstructions, diversification analyses, evolutionary genetics, mathematical modeling. Good  communication skills in English are required, and at least some knowledge of French (or the motivation to learn some) would be beneficial.


Host Structure

About FRB


The Foundation for research on biodiversity (FRB) was created in 2008. It gathers public research institutions, environmental NGOs, land and genetic resources managers and the private sector. It provides a forum where science meets society in order to address the current challenges related to biodiversity research. Launched in 2008 after the “Grenelle de l’Environnement” by the Ministries for research and for ecology, it was created by eight public research institutions (BRGM, CIRAD, CNRS, IFREMER, INRA, IRD, IRSTEA and MNHN), joined in 2014 by LVMH and in 2017 by the University of Montpellier.




The Centre for Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB) is FRB’s main program and a leading research organization in Europe, with an international reputation. Its aim is to implement innovative work of synthesis and analysis of existing data in the field of biodiversity. Advancing knowledge, developing culture and collaboration, facilitating links between scientific disciplines and with the stakeholders, are the main objectives of CESAB, which welcomes every year a large number of researchers from all continents.


More information about CESAB here. 


Application instructions

Send a cover letter, your curriculum vitae and contact information of two references to Sylvain Glémin (sylvain.glemin@univ-rennes1.fr) and Jos Käfer (jos.kafer@univ-lyon1.fr).


Applications must be sent no later than 31 August 2019. A first selection will be made based on the written documents, and job interviews through videoconferencing will be proposed to selected candidates. The final decision will be communicated no later than 30 September 2019.