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Biology of microalgae from the Alps

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Published on 17 December 2020
The Cell and Plant Physiology Lab (LPCV), Grenoble, is recruiting a post-doctoral fellow for a period of 30 months, from April 1, 2021. The research work will be carried out within the framework of the ANR ALPALGA project (Alpine Microalgae), and concerns the study of microalgae strains collected in different mountain habitats, including algae growing in the snow, in order to characterize their responses to environmental conditions at high altitudes. Algae are indeed at the base of the food networks in ecosystems, and are however largely unknown in certain terrestrial environments. However, this knowledge is essential to understand the current upheavals that mountain ecosystems are undergoing, in the context of climate change, marked by the shortening of the winter seasons, the lowering of lake levels, and the irreversible retreat of glaciers.
The microalgae strains that will be studied include several lines already isolated during previous collection campaigns carried out in the snow cover in 2017, 2018 and 2019, in the Col du Lautaret region. These strains correspond to different species of green algae (Chlorophytes). Some of these algae form blooms in the snow, and become pigmented by the accumulation of carotenoids, thereby coloring the snow in red. Part of the project will include new on site collections of live samples, with logistical support from the Lautaret Garden, at > 2,000 m altitude. A first objective will be to select a limited number of strains representative of high mountain environments, and to characterize their development under laboratory conditions at the LPCV in Grenoble. Preliminary work made it possible to retain an initial list of five species. The genome of several strains has already been sequenced. Cultures will be carried out on the LPCV microalgae culture technical platform, which has all the necessary expertise. The physiological analyzes will benefit from the scientific and technological environment of the laboratory. The lipidomic analyzes will be performed with the help of the LIPANG platform (Lipid Analysis in Grenoble) of the LPCV. The post-doctoral project will aim to identify and characterize the responses of microalgae to extreme conditions in mountain environments, including strong exposure to UV, low temperatures, nutritional stress, etc. The transcriptomic response will also be studied. All of this will allow us to return to the field to assess certain hypotheses deduced in the laboratory.
The project is part of a larger program called ALPALGA.

Cell and Plant Physiology Laboratory (Laboratoire de Physiologie Cellulaire et Végétale), Grenoble, France

Eric Maréchal

length - Start
30 month, starting 2021, April 1st
Please, send your application (resume, motivation letter) using the CNRS platform.