The Swanson Lab is recruiting two PhD students for exciting, multi-disciplinary work in Canada’s north. Students should have a BSc or MSc degree in aquatic ecology, fisheries ecology, or a related field, and be independent, self-motivated. A strong work ethic is required. These projects would be based out of the Biology Department at the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
Graduate Project #1: Arctic fish ecology and contaminant accumulation
Northern Water Futures (Dehcho Region, NWT)
This project will assess interactions of life history, trophic ecology, and mercury concentrations in northern fishes used in subsistence and commercial fisheries. Both field work in the north, as well as lab work will be required for this project. The student will examine fish movements (telemetry) by tagging live fish with acoustic tags. The health and life history of fish will be examined by collecting tissue and bone samples to examine chemical tracers (stable isotopes). The student will also be trained in science communication skills, such that they can successfully present their work to multiple stakeholders, including Indigenous peoples.
Graduate Project #2: Arctic fish genetics and habitat use
Coastal Restoration Fund-Fisheries and Ocean Canada (Kugluktuk, NU)
Isostatic rebound and climate change are affecting the ability of anadromous fishes, such as the SARA-listed (“special concern”) species Dolly Varden Char (Salvelinus malma malma) and Arctic Char (Salvelinus alpinus) to successfully migrate between spawning, rearing, and overwintering habitats in coastal freshwater systems and summer feeding habitats at sea; low flows in migratory streams can result in fish stranding, and subsequent declines in productivity of fisheries. The student will use genetic samples to identify if the fish in these streams are only Arctic Char, or if SARA-listed Dolly Varden are also present. The student will also use chemical tracers or radio tags to examine fish movement in coastal streams.
Experience desired: BSc in biology, MSc preferred. Valid Canadian driver’s licence. Students should have taken undergraduate courses in statistics/experimental design. Experience in aquatic sample collection, ecotoxicology, use of field multi-meters, stable isotope analysis, mercury analysis, and/or otolith microchemistry would be considered assets.
These projects will involve rewarding field experiences in remote northern communities in Canada. Students would ideally have some experience in travel, backwoods camping, hiking, fishing, operating boats with small outboard motors, driving large trucks with trailers. If you lack this experience, then a good attitude, and the ability/desire to learn these skills will be required.
Interested students should send a CV to Dr. Heidi Swanson by Oct 27, 2017.