center for synthesis
and analysis of biodiversity

A centre created and developed by the FRB

Postdoctoral position in macroecology and biogeography at the MNHN, Paris, France

The Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN, Paris) invites applications for a full-time 2-year postdoctoral position in macroecology and biogeography of phytophagous insects.

The MNHN is a world-class research institution that aims to document and understand global and local biological and ecological diversity, disseminate the results of these studies to a broad academic and non-academic audience, and contribute to high-level education at all stages of the curriculum. The position will be based within the Institute for Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity (ISYEB UMR 7205 CNRS, MNHN), a research unit hosting more than 90 researchers whose investigations address questions in systematics, evolutionary biology and ecology, biogeography and macroecology on a variety of non-model organisms in all kingdoms of Life.

The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Dr. Rodolphe Rougerie as part of the research program ACTIAS (, funded by the Center for Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB). One of the main objectives of the ACTIAS project is to carry out a global-scale macroecological analysis of two of the best-documented families of moths (Sphingidae & Saturniidae), highlighting areas where species diversity and evolutionary distinctness are concentrated and most threatened. It will represent the first such analysis on a global scale for a diverse group of invertebrates (>4500 species; see Ballesteros et al., 2016 [doi: 10.1111/ecog.02438] for an example of what has recently been achieved by members of our consortium on Old-World Sphingidae species), made possible by the wealth of existing diversity, distributional, ecological and phylogenetic information available for these moths, including an almost comprehensive species-level DNA barcode database.

The ACTIAS program is run by an international consortium of 12 researchers (see link above for a list) from five countries. Working under Dr. Rougerie at the MNHN, but in close collaboration with the other members of the ACTIAS consortium, the postdoc will: (1) develop and implement the pipeline for the construction of Species Distribution Models (SDMs) for all databased species; (2) carry out macroecological analyses of relevant measures of diversity (e.g., species richness, evolutionary distinctness, phylogenetic diversity); (3) compare these patterns with those already existing for plants and vertebrates; (4) analyze their fit to current conservation measures, rarely critically examined for invertebrates; and (5) contribute to a synthesis of macroecological patterns and eco-evolutionary analysis of diversification in these moths. The postdoc will lead the assembly of manuscripts in collaboration with members of the consortium and also participate in and contribute to the organization of four consortium meetings (two in 2017 and two in 2018) at the CESAB headquarters in Aix-en-Provence. The postdoc will be expected to participate in meetings organised by CESAB-FRB, such as joint postdoctoral workshops, data workshops and presentations to the community.


We are seeking applicants holding a PhD degree in ecology, macroecology, biogeography or related discipline (e.g., conservation biology, evolutionary ecology), with a solid theoretical background and a strong publication record in these fields, proven expertise in applied and spatial statistics, and with a keen interest in global patterns of insect diversity and in ecological modeling. The ACTIAS database will collate distribution records that have or lack DNA barcodes and will be hosted within the Barcode of Life Datasystems (BOLD; The postdoc will develop R scripts and pipelines that can be implemented within the BOLD API system. We thus expect applicants to have demonstrable skills in writing R scripts.

In addition, applicants should have:

• Expertise in the use of GIS for analysis and visualization;
• Fluency in English, excellent communication skills and a willingness to organize and lead workshops/meetings;
• Experience in presenting and communicating results at international conferences and through publications in high-quality peer-reviewed journals;
• An excellent understanding of biodiversity data management.

Desirable skills include an interest in insect diversity, experience in participating in research programs that analyze large datasets, and a broader coding aptitude (e.g., Python) that would facilitate the integration of analytical pipelines in the BOLD API system.

Conditions of employment

We offer a fully funded, two-year fellowship of 2500 euros/month (gross salary, health insurance included).

Application procedure

Send applications to, as a single searchable pdf file comprising the following sections:

1.     Cover letter

2.     Statement (1-page max.) of research interests and experience

3.     Detailed CV with list of publications and communications

4.     Names and contact information for up to three professional references

In addition, please attach reprints of your two most significant publications.

Consideration of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled, with priority given to applications received by September 1st, 2016.

The successful candidate would be expected to begin on either October 1st or November 1st of 2016, as appropriate.