Predoctoral researcher in Community Ecology

The Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), offers a full-time predoctoral researcher position to support the research activities in the context of the European Research Council (ERC) project GorBEEa (ID: 101086771), led by Dr. Ainhoa Magrach. This is a 5-year research project funded by the ERC that will be developed at the ‘Global change impacts on ecosystem functioning’ lab, and within the framework of the Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Line (RL3).

About the project:

This position is part of the ERC Consolidator Grant GorBEEa “Understanding biodiversity-ecosystem function and biodiversity-stability relationships across spatial and organizational scales” led by Ainhoa Magrach. The project seeks to understand the drivers of functional stability at different levels of organization, to understand the feedback loops that enable biodiversity to be maintained. GorBEEa combines multiple disciplines, from the use of theoretical network developments to predictive models, experimental approaches and empirical observations integrated in a framework to predict the consequences of different perturbations for natural communities and to provide input for future policy actions aiming at the conservation of functional landscapes. To this end, the project used plant and pollinator communities and their interactions as model system. For more information on the project, click here.

Job description:

The applicant will work on the effects of honeybee introduction for plant and pollinator abundances, their interaction frequencies as well as the composition and functionality of wild bee gut microbiomes.

The predoctoral researcher will work collecting and analyzing data on plant and pollinator interactions from Gorbea Natural Park to investigate the role of biodiversity in maintaining ecosystem functioning and stability. The predoctoral researcher will participate in the analysis of the gut microbiome composition and functional diversity of the wild pollinator species Bombus pascuorum and how this composition changes through a time depending on the diversity of floral resources consumed by individuals of this species, as well as how it is impacted by the introduction of managed honeybee hives. Generally, the researcher will support the PI and the rest of the team to achieve the scientific objectives of the project, publish and disseminate project findings.

Key responsibilities:

Sampling species (plants, insects) and ecosystem functions
Laboratory work: sorting and process samples, ID, DNA isolation, handling samples for sequencing, etc.
Analyse and visualize ecological and genomic data
Write manuscripts and disseminate results
Develop experimental design and analyses to study microbiomes and metagenomes to characterize bacterial and fungal communities in wild pollinator guts.
Apply molecular biology expertise in a lab-based setting and integrate traditional microbiology with bioinformatic and genomics analyses.
Develop expertise in pollinator microbial communities and contribute new knowledge and ideas to this area of research.
Develop and apply bioinformatics tools and approaches to identify communities, relevant taxa and associations.
Contribute to written and oral communication, including peer-reviewed manuscripts, blog posts, outreach through social media, and the public.
Archive data and maintains databases and contribute to budget management.
Support the organization of project meetings and conferences across the project.

Main requirements/skills:

Candidates who have completed a MSc/master’s degree in a relevant field (e.g. Biology or Environmental Sciences, Molecular Biology, Microbiology) will have an advantage.
Strong analytical skills, good knowledge of statistics, and programming experience.
Proficiency in laboratory practice, experimental design, laboratory safety procedures. Proven wet lab experience (e.g. DNA and RNA isolation, PCR amplification, etc.)
Proficiency in bioinformatics. Knowledge of a scripting language (Bash, Python, Perl, etc.) and R.
A high level of computer literacy
Ability to read and interpret safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.
Excellent written and oral communication skills and ability and interest in communicating with diverse groups.
Ability to work collaboratively.
Ability to write reports, correspondence, and peer-reviewed manuscripts
Ability and interest in contributing to outreach activities.
Ability to contribute to a positive work environment built on trust and transparency that values different perspectives and backgrounds.
Drivers license and previous experience driving a four-wheel drive vehicle
The applicant must have good interpersonal and communication skills, as well as excellent written and oral command of English is required.
Desirable skills

Previous experience with liquid nitrogen and dry ice manipulation.
Ability to work with a high degree of independence.
Good command of Spanish and potentially Basque is not indispensable but desirable because the fieldwork will be carried out in a rural area in the Basque Country.
IMPORTANT: Applications including links to previous works/projects/initiatives that show how the applicant meets these requirements will be given priority.

Benefits and work environment:

Interdisciplinary and inspiring work environment
Quiet and spacious workspaces
Possibility of participating in internal training and academic activities of the center
35-hour week work calendar
30 days of vacation per year