Master’s thesis grant (M2) on Biodiversity Refugia Modeling under Climate Change.

Current trends on extinction rates have led to characterize nowadays as the 6th mass species extinction. Combined effects of climate change and habitat destruction are challenging the survival of many plant species ́ populations, which may cause the demise of many services that ecosystems provide.

Lessons from past climatic changes, however, have shown that species are able to cope with climate change, shifting its distributions to adapt to new climates. During
periods of unsuitable climate, paleoecological evidence shows that plant species have survived in small areas that have served as refugia of biodiversity. Today, there is large evidence that species are shifting their distributions poleward and/or upwards thus reacting to warming climate. We thus expect – in line with past climatic changes— that mountains will be home to many refugia harboring many species during the 21st century as climate continues to warm.

The proposed research internship aims to identify potential future refugias of plant biodiversity under climate change in the Pyrenees Mountains, a key mountain chain dividing two distinctive floras. In order to do so you will be able to apply up-to-date biodiversity modeling of species distributions and big data biodiversity analysis, and perform a geospatial analysis of the potential of these refugium in the 21st century. These will respond to the overall research aim: will climate change refugia safeguard 21st century biodiversity of southern Europe?

Keywords: big data, biodiversity, climate change. 

Desired skills

  • Good knowledge of R programming language
  • Experience with Geographic Information Systems and topographic analysis.
  • The Current project may require field work and botanical knowledge.

Any question?

Feel free to contact me to discuss this work, the research question is large enough to be crafted for students wanted to develop a particular skill.

Josep M Serra-Diaz (

Supervisor: Josep M Serra-Diaz

Location: Nancy, France

Dates: January to May/June 2021 (5 or 6 month internship).

Lab: UMR SILVA, équipe EcoSilva.

Websites: UMR SILVA here, Supervisor’s webpage here

Languages used during the internship: English with supervisor (French also possible) , French in the Lab.

Previous students (e-mail if any question): Adrien Noirault <adrien.noirault@ens-