The Alpine Marmot Project

Welcome to the Alpine Marmot Project

Working with us


We welcome applications to join the research group from potential post-docs at any time, but cannot provide funds so post-docs visiting the group will need to make their own plans to fund their time in Lyon. We will be happy to provide support in writing up applications. Prospective post-docs should initially write a letter, enclosing a CV, telling us where their research interests lie. Please send us CV’s or other material  as attached e-mail files in an e-mail entitled “post-doc”.

PhD Students

Prospective PhD students should apply before the end of February. We usually enter one candidate in the doctoral school competition for studentships open to members of all countries, having discussed their prospective projects with them first. We seek to finalize who we are entering for the competition by 30 April. Final decision is done by the doctoral school the first week of July after writing up of the PhD project and an interview. Phd student starts the following September. We are also glad to consider applications for PhD places from qualified students from non-EU countries, but students will not be accepted unless they can guarantee their own funding for the duration of their period as a student. Prospective students should initially write a letter, enclosing a CV, telling us where their research interests lie. We may follow this up by asking them to produce a two-page outline of a project that they would like to do. We may then ask them to come into Lyon for an initial interview since we are seldom prepared to support applications unless we have met the people involved.

Anyone applying to join the research group should realize that the group has no formal secretarial support. Consequently, we cannot help with raising funds, finding accommodation and making travel arrangements. Please send us CV’s or other material  as attached e-mail files in an e-mail entitled “phd student”.

Field assistant positions

We are looking for field technicians to assist with fieldwork that will run from June 1 to July 31 (with an optional extension to August 15). We are looking for technicians for the two months (June and July) or two months and a half (June to mid-August).

The positions are part of a long-term study of Alpine marmot (Marmota marmota) ecology, evolutionary biology and physiology. As a member of the study, technicians will be involved with monitoring the reproduction and survival of individual marmots. Fieldwork will involve live-trapping and handling of marmots, behavioural observation, and locating young in their nests. This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience working with a collaborative research team on a long-term study of a wild mammal.

All fieldwork is carried at the Col du Lautaret, France. We will be staying at the Station Alpine Joseph Fournier (SAJF) located at the Col du Lautaret. All food and accommodation are provided once technicians will met the full team in Lyon / Grenoble / Briançon. Training will be provided and no experience is necessary but English for oral communication is required.

Candidates should have an interest in a number of the following (the more the better!): ecology, evolutionary biology, wildlife, field biology, and animal behaviour. The field camp is remote and low tech (internet limited), so successful applicants must enjoy the outdoors and be able to remain a positive and responsible team member under relatively isolated and demanding conditions. Candidates must be in good physical condition, have an enthusiasm for learning and a strong work ethic.


The project employs 6 to 9 field assistants per year, each of who spend two months in the French Alps monitoring and collecting detailed data on our study population.

Field assistants should be prepared to work hard! The typical day of a field assistants start at 7:30 am with the waking up of the marmots and end up at 10:00 pm with the marmots going to bed. Of course marmots are not aware of Saturdays or Sundays. Initial training will be provided, and field assistants usually work alone or by two.

How to Apply

If you are interested in a field assistant position, please contact Mariona Ferrandiz with an e-mail entitled “field assistant” sent to the following e-mail address: with a letter explaining your motivations and a CV as attachments.

Once selected

The selected field assistants will be asked to send as quickly as possible:
– a convention of stage from their university (if you are not anymore a student you should fill a volunteer acceptance form).
– a copy of their ID card (two sides)
– a copy of their social security card
– a copy of their civil insurance
– a copy of their driving license (two sides)
– electronic copies in an e-mail entitled “marmot student” to: (with copy to

– hard copies in a letter for Aurélie Cohas sent at the following address:

“Biométrie et Biologie Évolutive”
UCB Lyon 1 – Bât. Grégor Mendel
43 bd du 11 novembre 1918
69622 VILLEURBANNE cedex


We are always glad to welcome academic visitors to the group for periods of up to a year, but cannot provide funding to cover their visits.