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OTMed Postdoc position

Title: Action and retroaction between climate and soil

07.02.2017 - CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence (France)

Expected skills: the applicant should have extended skills in statistics with a background in soil science, ecology, sciences of the environment or of climate.

Duration of the position: 18 months (starting date: spring 2017)

Net salary: ranging from 1974 to 2314 euros depending on the past experience duration

Please send a detailed CV and a motivation letter to the person responsive for the project: Sophie Cornu (INRA):, Tel: +33 (0)4 42 97 17 96

Deadline for application: 1st of March 2017

Project description:

Soils contribute to most of the main ecosystem functions defined by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, as organic carbon sequestration, water supply, erodibility or net primary production among others. They are composed of minerals, organic matter and voids, which nature and organisation in space evolve permanently through time under the action of climate. The ability of soils to provide different ecosystem services depends on several characteristics (texture, pH, CEC, etc.) and this characteristics are generally assume as constant in time whereas it is now clear that at decadal time scales such parameters may change in response to climate modifications. Thus, the role of soil as a climate driver may also change at decadal time scale. Therefore better evaluations of the soil evolution in response to climate change is necessary.

Based on this analysis, we propose, to evaluate the change in the main soil ecosystem functions mentioned above (organic carbon sequestration, erodibility) at the 2100 horizon for the Mediterranean basin. The proposed work is underlain by two hypotheses.

As a first assumption, we consider that soil is a function in time of parent material, relief, climate and living organisms. For a given location and on a several decades’ time scale, both parent material and relief can be considered as constant in time. Thus soil evolution is driven by climate change and living organisms (understood as land uses), both coevolving at least partially.

As a second assumption, we consider that at the global scale and most probably at the Mediterranean scale, spatial distribution of major soil classes is driven at a first approximation mainly by climate.

At first the work will consist in verifying this second assumption by answering the question “To which extend soil classes (of the WRB classification) have a climatic determinant at the global and Mediterranean scale?” To do so we will develop a statistical approach of the link between the WRB soil classes (or subclasses) and the climate.

Then the climate changes that will experience the soil class sensitive to climate at the 2100 horizon will be determined. This will be derived from the previous statistical analysis and conducted at both the Global and Mediterranean scale. On a few soil classes mechanistic modelling will also be used. Different scenarios of climate and consequences in terms of soil changes will be considered.

At last, the consequences of these soil class changes on soil ecosystem functions will be evaluated. These changes will be derived from the obtained soil projections and associated soil characteristics using either soil pedotransfer functions or simulations of vegetation and soil water by two land surface models LPJmL and ORCHIDEE.

An experience in managing and exploiting environmental databases at the global scale is welcome.