12-month Post doc position on the BiodivAquArt project. Aquatic Biodiversity in Art

Posted 4 months ago

Contract: temporary post-doctoral position (12 months) starting January 1st, 2023

Employer: Aix-Marseille Université

Gross salary: depending on the professional background: the first year ranging from 2466 to 2891 €/month.


Historical Ecology, Aquatic Ecology, Human-Nature Relationships, Popular Science


Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme, Aix en Provence, France ; Secondary Affiliation at Mediterreanean Insitute of Oceanography, Marseille, France.

  • PIs of the BiodivAquArt project

T. Changeux [thomas.changeux@ird.fr]

D. Faget [daniel.faget@univ-amu.fr]


This postdoc position is part of the BiodivAquArt interdisciplinary project, which aims to study works of art to enrich historical and ecological knowledge of past aquatic ecosystems (particularly in the Mediterranean), with the aim of aquatic biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of fisheries resources. The project also includes a section on the potential of works of art as a mediating lever for the conservation of aquatic biodiversity.

The Project is coordinated by Daniel Faget (Historian at Aix-Marseille University) and Thomas Changeux (biologist at the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanology). The team also includes a doctoral student, Thomas Richard (ends end of 2023).

This project is funded by the Mediterranean Institute for the Environmental Transition (A*Midex), an interdisciplinary initiative aiming understand the global change on society and natural resources.

The BiodivAquArt project is composed of three different axes:

– historical ecology: consists of the analysis of the taxonomic composition of aquatic biodiversity as represented in ancient art, using the statistical tools of numerical ecology. The geographic and temporal variations of the biodiversity represented in art are interpreted according to environmental and cultural parameters. The doctoral project focuses on early modern paintings in the Mediterranean (16th-18th), while the post-doctoral project focuses on Roman-era mosaics. The post-doctoral research associate will

will have available a corpus of 334 roman mosaics whose taxa represented will have been identified (data collection in progress), and will be in charge of analyzing these data from ecological and historical point of views.

As part of the collection of works of art, a participatory website has been set up (www.biodivaquart.fr). The post-doc will be responsible for updating and developing this participatory tool.

– art and nature connectedness: this axis is based on the assumption that art prior to the 19th century represents an opportunity to connect with nature while enhancing historical and cultural heritage. This axis aims to quantitatively studying the interrelations between aesthetic experience, connection with nature (especially with aquatic ecosystems) and behaviors, through the examination of aquatic nature in pre-19th century paintings as a study case. For this, a psychometric questionnaire has been set up, and the postdoc will be in charge of analyzing the data from this questionnaire (data collection in progress).

– scientific mediation: in 2023, the project plans to write a popular science book intended for the general public. The objective is to share the main results of the BiodivAquArt project, as well as transcriptions of interviews with fishermen and cooks on the themes of fishing and sustainable food in the Mediterranean. Finally, the project is regularly represented at scientific animation events, and plans workshops with schools.

The post-doctoral research associate will focus on:

– analysis of the taxonomic identification dataset of Roman mosaics (multivariate analyzes of spatial and temporal variations), cross-referencing with archaeological literature (cultural and symbolic meanings of the aquatic fauna represented), writing of the scientific article.

– analysis of data from psychometric questionnaires on the links between the reception of works of art and the connection to nature (psychometric analyzes and structural equation models) and writing of the scientific article.

– participation in the writing and the edition of the book for the general public.

– maintenance and updating of the participatory website: www.biodivaquart.fr

– scientific mediation activities (Fête de la Science, European Researchers’ Night, Journée de l’Europe, etc.) and workshops with schoolchildren (Lycée hôtelier de Marseille, Lycée de la Mer de Sète, Collège Marseilleveyre).

The recruited person will benefit from the expertise of the teams involved into the BiodivAquArt project including statistical skills, marine and freshwater fisheries (Thomas Changeux) and Mediterranean fishing history (Daniel Faget).

Last, the post doc will interact with art historians (Céline Texeira-Ventura, Magalie théron, Pierre Pinchon, Aix-Marseille University), archaeologist (Véronique Blanc-Bijon, Aix-Marseille University), and specialists in historical ecology and ichthyology (Samuel Iglésias, Gaël Denys, Philippe Bearez, MNHN).


Fluent in French and English

Interdisciplinary profile in ecology and human sciences

Good knowledge and programming practice of quantitative and statistical analyzes with R

Knowledge in community ecology and ichthyology

Knowledge of participatory science and scientific mediation

Knowledge in psychometry and environmental psychology

Knowledge in aesthetic science and notions about Art History

Good writing and communication skills


September 15th, 2022


To apply, candidates should send a CV, names and contact of at least 2 referees and a research statement letter (less than 2 pages including references) to Thomas Changeux [thomas.changeux@ird.fr] and Daniel Faget [daniel.faget@univ-amu.fr].

The selected candidates will be interviewed (remotely) in November/early December for an expected start in January 2023.

Job Features

Job CategoryPost doc

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