PhD offer – Vent Shrimp Lifecycle (France)

PhD title: “Life cycle of the vent shrimp Rimicaris exoculata, from embryos to the recruitment of juveniles: development, larval dispersal and role of symbiotic bacteria” (Rimilife)

Deadline for application: May 31st 2016

A PhD position is proposed under the supervision of two researchers of two laboratories of Ifremer: the Laboratoire de Microbiologie des Environnements Extrêmes (LM2E, UMR 6197 UBO/CNRS/Ifremer), and the Laboratoire Environnement Profond (Deep sea Lab).

We are looking for a dynamic, motivated young researcher with a Master’s degree, to study the life-cycle of the deep-sea vent shrimp Rimicaris exoculata and its symbiotic microorganisms. Host and symbionts will be jointly investigated at different life stages of the host, including brooding females, embryos and larvae, in order to identify symbiont transmission mechanisms through generations, the potential effects of symbionts on embryonic and larval development of the host and their role in settlement and recruitment of post-larval shrimps in adult populations.

Understanding the life-cycle of organisms remains a critical gap in the fundamental knowledge required to evaluate the impact of anthropic activities on deep-sea living communities. The vent endemic shrimp Rimicaris exoculata, is found on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where it forms dense aggregates at vent fields located near potential deep-sea mining sites. The shrimp hosts two very diverse epibiotic bacterial communities. While some aspects of this symbiosis are becoming well known, the way the holobiont (the host and its symbionts) is maintained throughout the life cycle of the shrimp, and how this might impact on its dispersal and colonisation abilities is poorly understood. Information on reproduction location and seasonality, modalities of larval release and dispersal are also critical to understand functioning of these deep-sea ecosystems, and their resilience capacity.

The goal of this PhD project is to gain knowledge on the life-cycle of R. exoculata, and how interactions with symbiotic bacteria are maintained through the early life-history stages. Specifically, it will seek answers to the following questions: 1) What are the environmental conditions associated with embryonic development and how does that influence the release of larvae in the plankton, 2) How do larvae disperse (how long and where?), 3) Which bacteria are associated with early life stages of the shrimp, and how are the influencing embryonic development and larval release, the transition of larvae between plankton and benthos, and the transition of juveniles from nursery to adult aggregates?  (for additional scientific background information, see publications : Guri et al 2012 (ISME J), Hernandez et al 2015 (PlosOne)).
Key words: Life cycle, reproduction, larval ecology, symbiont transmission, hydrothermal vents, resilience, deep-sea mineral resources.

Location: The PhD will take place in the LM2E and Deep-Sea lab at Ifremer Brest. Cruise at sea to complete sampling is envisaged.
Doctoral school : Ecole doctorale sciences de la mer, IUEM/UBO, Brest (France)
Funding : Co-funding obtained from Ifremer and Labex Mer.

Applicant profile :
Application to this program is open for all students, whatever their nationality, with the equivalent of a master’s degree either in biology, microbiology, marine ecology or biological oceanography. Experience in molecular biology techniques (DNA extraction, PCR, in situ hybridization) and microscopy (SEM, FISH) appreciated, as well as interest for multidisciplinary research involving biology, microbiology and geochemistry. Experience at sea valued, and deep-sea ecological background a real plus.

Applicants must apply through the following web site (doctoral school) :

For additionnal information please contact:
PhD supervisor : Marie-Anne Cambon-Bonavita,, Laboratoire de Microbiologie des Environnements Extrêmes, Ifremer
Co-supervisor : Florence Pradillon,, Deep-Sea Lab, Ifremer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *