Postdoctoral position «Origins of terrestrialisation in early tetrapods: a multi-isotope approach»

Postdoctoral position «Origins of terrestrialisation in early tetrapods: a multi-isotope approach»

France 01 Apr 2021


In 2011, Lyon Institute of Origins (LIO) LabEx was selected following the first Laboratory of Excellence call for projects, part of the Investissement dAvenir program for forward-looking research.
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01 Apr 2021
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Short description

The LIO Laboratory of Excellence (LabEx) proposes a 2-year post-doctoral position.

Starting date: November the 1st, 2021

The net salary (+social benefits) will depend on experience. A €3,000 annual package for travels and equipment will be allotted.

Research project (1/2 page – 1 page)

Terrestrialisation, i.e. the establishment of complex continental ecosystems, stands as one of the most significant evolutionary events in the history of life on Earth. It started in the Ordovician (ca. 460 Myr) with the invasion of land by plants and continued into the Devonian (ca. 400 Myr) with the rise of several new groups of animals such as continental arthropods and tetrapods (four-legged vertebrates). The origin of tetrapods predates the early Middle Devonian (395 Ma) but their complete terrestrialisation is only recorded by the Carboniferous. As a result, the Late Devonian represents the ideal period to understand processes related to tetrapod terrestrialisation.

The project we propose for the “LIO Post-doc Programme 2021” will investigate the trophic relationships and paleoenvironmental context within key Devonian vertebrate localities worldwide containing early tetrapods together with a well-known vertebrate assemblage. This project will rely on a multi-isotope approach (d44Ca, d34S, d18O) to obtain reliable inferences on the paleoecology of Late Devonian vertebrates and on their palaeoenvironments and palaeoclimates. As recent trophic networks provide a comparative basis for understanding past ecosystems, modern freshwater and estuarine ecosystems will also be studied in the scope of this project.

Research field(s)

Isotopic Ecology, Vertebrate Paleontology, Oxygen, Sulfur and Calcium isotopes

Supervisor and contact

Name: Martin, Jeremy

Laboratory: LGL-TPE (UMR 5276 CNRS)


Working environment

Job location and description

Part of the project (Ca isotope measurements of bioapatite, under the supervision of J. Martin) will take place on the «TIMS+Proteus» platform of the LIO. Those measurements will be conducted on the Neptune Plus ICP-MS as well as on a new generation ICP-MS available on the LGL-TPE platform located at ENS Lyon (Lyon). Oxygen and sulfur isotope measurements will be conducted on the LGL-TPE platform « GISEL » at Université Lyon 1 (Villeurbanne) under the supervision of R. Amiot and C. Lécuyer.


The project involves a collaboration with three researchers at the LGL-TPE:

-Jeremy Martin (Chargé de recherche CNRS, ENS Lyon, currently supervising 2 PhD students) will supervise Ca isotope analyses;

-Romain Amiot (Chargé de recherche CNRS, Univ. Lyon 1, currently supervising 3 PhD students) ;

-Christophe Lécuyer (Professeur, Univ. Lyon 1), currently supervising 3 PhD students) will supervise O and S isotope analyses.

Allocated resources (technical facilites, computing…)

Clean laboratories, GC-MS, ICP-MS. The LIO provides an allowance of 2000€ for a personal computer.

Recent publications of the team

Goedert, J, R Amiot, D Berthet, F Fourel, L Simon, and  Lécuyer. 2020. Combined oxygen and sulphur isotope analysis—a new tool to unravel vertebrate (paleo)-ecology. The Science of Nature 107, no. 2 (2020): 10.

Goedert, J., Lécuyer, C., Amiot, R., Arnaud-Godet, F., Wang, X., Cui, L., Cuny, G., Douay, G., Fourel, F., Panczer, G. and Simon, L., 2018. Euryhaline ecology of early tetrapods revealed by stable isotopes. Nature, 558(7708), pp.68-72.

Linglin, M., Amiot, R., Richardin, P., Porcier, S., Antheaume, I., Berthet, D., Grossi, V., Fourel, F., Flandrois, J.-P., Louchart, A., Martin, J.E., Lécuyer, C., 2020. Isotopic systematics point to wild origin of mummified birds in Ancient Egypt. Scientific Reports 10, 15463.

Martin, J.E., Tacail, T., Adnet, S., Girard, C. and Balter, V., 2015. Calcium isotopes reveal the trophic position of extant and fossil elasmobranchs. Chemical Geology, 415, pp.118-125.

Martin, J.E., Tacail, T., Braga, J., Cerling, T.E. and Balter, V., 2020. Calcium isotopic ecology of Turkana Basin hominins. Nature communications, 11(1), pp.1-7.

Description of LabEx LIO

In 2011, The Lyon Institute of Origins LabEx was selected following the first “Laboratory of Excellence” call for projects, part of the “Investissement d’Avenir” program for forward-looking research. It is one of 12 LabExes supported by the University of Lyon community of universities and establishments (COMUE). LIO brings together more than 200 elite researchers recruited throughout the world and forming 18 research teams from four laboratories in the Rhône-Alps region, all leaders in their fields, under the auspices of the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCBL), the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, and the CNRS. LIO’s goal is to explore questions about our origins, operating in a broad field of study that ranges from particle physics to geophysics, and includes cosmology, astrophysics, planetology and life.

Selection process

Qualifications / Skills / Education & Research requirements

The candidate must hold a PhD and have previous experience in the clean lab and measuring isotope ratios on various mass spectrometers. Experience in non-traditional isotope systems would be a plus. Also, the candidate is expected to write research articles in paleontology/paleocology-oriented journals and an experience in vertebrate paleontology is viewed as a strength for this project. Because of existing cross-disciplinary bridges, we will also consider candidates with a background in isotopic archeology and isotopic ecology. Finally, fieldwork and museum visits to collect samples are also to be considered in the frame of the project.

Application deadline

April the 1st, 2021

Requested documents for application

Applicants must email a CV, a statement of interest, a letter of recommendation and contact details for 2-3 references before April the 1st, 2021.

Candidates on the short list will be informed by the end of April. They will be interviewed in May.

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