Bayi Glacier in Qilian Mountain, China (Credit: Xiaoming Wang, distributed via

Job advertisement PhD candidate in forest microclimate data analysis and modelling

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European Geosciences Union

PhD candidate in forest microclimate data analysis and modelling

PhD candidate in forest microclimate data analysis and modelling

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The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment. It is a community of 12,000 people with more than 200 research units and 42 experimental units located throughout France. The institute is among the world leaders in agricultural and food sciences, in plant and animal sciences, and is 11th in the world in ecology and environment. INRAE’s main goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. In the face of the increase in population, climate change, scarcity of resources and decline in biodiversity, the institute develops solutions for multiperformance agriculture, high quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.


Bordeaux, France


Relevant divisions
Atmospheric Sciences (AS)
Biogeosciences (BG)
Climate: Past, Present & Future (CL)


Student / Graduate / Internship

Following the official PhD salary pay scale in France (about 22,000€/year for a research-only position)

Required education

Application deadline
1 June 2021

2 May 2021

Job description

PhD in forest microclimate data analysis and modelling

The microclimate in the understory is an essential component of many services provided by forests. This is because forest canopies are able to buffer climate extremes; in particular, the understory microclimate temperature is usually cooler than the macroclimate temperature during the day and in summer, and warmer at night and in winter. Several recent studies show that this buffering capacity is essential for understanding forest biodiversity dynamics because understory communities (plants, insects, fungi, etc.) respond to microclimate more than macroclimate change. This capacity of forest canopies to buffer climate extremes is equally important for explaining the dynamics of forest regeneration and thus their resilience to climate change. It is also important for recreational activities, especially during heat waves in urban areas.
Forest management practices impact these different services, for better or worse, by modifying forest structure and composition and thus important factors governing understory microclimate. Today, however, forest managers have a limited toolkit to quantify the impact of their practices on understory microclimate. Recommendations to fight against biodiversity loss (leave stumps and residues in place, create islands of deciduous trees, maintain tree species diversity, etc.) remain rather qualitative. These recommendations are not necessarily well followed because they seem to work against other management objectives such as wood production or fire prevention. To provide better guidance to forest managers, we need tools that can quantify the impact of management on understory microclimate now and in a future climate.
The objective of this PhD project is to develop observation-based tools to identify the main factors influencing forest understory microclimate, and biophysical and ecological models to anticipate the impact of forest management (density, fragmentation, thinning, choice of species, understory removal, etc.) on forest microclimate and understory vegetation, notably in terms of climate extremes (drought, heat wave, late frost, flooding, etc.) under future climate change scenarios. These tools and models will be key to help forest managers increase the resilience of forests and foster their ecological, recreational and climate services in a warming world.
Start date: 1st October 2021 (with scope for flexibility)
Fixed-term: 3 years
Salary: following the official PhD salary pay scale in France (about 22,000€/year for a research-only position).
Working hours: full-time (currently 38h/week)
Place of work: Bordeaux, France

Your responsibilities:

  • carrying out analysis on large datasets;
  • developing and evaluating biophysical microclimate models;
  • updating regularly your codes and model developments on the team’s distant repository;
  • presenting your results at team meetings, international conferences and in scientific publications.

Your qualifications:

  • a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Ecology, Climatology, Forestry or other related sciences;
  • fluent in spoken and written English;
  • a positive attitude, excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to work independently and within a team;
  • good command of scientific programming software (R, python, git, Fortran,…);
  • prior experience in environmental data analysis and/or numerical modelling is beneficial but not essential.

What we offer:

  • ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment;
  • state-of-the-art equipment;
  • public service benefits;
  • extensive training opportunities and professional career advice;
  • flexible working hours and conditions, and support with finding a good work-life balance;
  • institute on-site child care centre and financial parenting support (CESU childcare, leisure services…);
  • quality on-site collective catering;
  • sports and cultural activities;
  • working place easy to access from Bordeaux city centre by tram, bus or cycle path.

How to apply

Did we pick your interest?

If so, please send a CV to Dr. Jérôme Ogée: before 1st June 2021 and apply online at: