Location: University of Saskatchewan, in partnership with University of Calgary
Principal Supervisor: Dr. Philip McLoughlin, University of Saskatchewan http://mcloughlinlab.ca/lab
Deadline to Apply: Contact by Oct 1, 2019
Salary: Dependent on internal scholarship (U of S Dean’s Scholarship Opportunity) or successful application for an NSERC Ph.D.-level scholarship
Start date: January 1st 2020 or May 1st 2020 (negotiable).
Project: We are looking to recruit a PhD student to contribute to our long-term, individual-based study of feral horses on Sable Island (Nova Scotia, Canada) initiated in 2007, with a particular interest in the ecological relationships underpinned by body size variation in horses at different life-history stages (e.g., dispersal, mate choice, survival, reproduction). As funding is limited, this advertisement is directed only at students eligible for applying to NSERC for a doctoral scholarship this fall. We are particularly looking for mature M.Sc. students that are interested in developing a Ph.D. program that can make use of and lead the archiving of long-term data the lab is collecting on body size and life histories of the horses on the island (>1200 life histories in the database, which is now one of the largest for a large vertebrate in the world). Sample sizes are large, with ~500 horses alive on the island as of Aug 2019. Next summer will be the 14th year of data collection, which includes summer censusing and identification of all individuals on the island using digital photography and body size estimation using parallel-laser calipers, and documentation of individual life histories with access to pedigree data. Molecular ecology and quantitative genetics questions would be addressed with collaborator Dr. Jocelyn Poissant, at the University of Calgary (https://vet.ucalgary.ca/contact-us/faculty-members/full-time/jocelyn-poissant). The student’s overall program will be a collaborative project benefiting from close interaction with the Poissant lab, with other opportunities to collaborate on campus or at other universities (e.g., Alastair Wilson at University of Exeter https://wilsonaj.wordpress.com/about/research/).
The student will spend up to 2 months on Sable Island each summer for fieldwork. Daily tasks, shared by the entire research team, will include walking censuses and photography of horses, collection of samples, laboratory work, identification of individuals from digital photographs, and database management. Students visiting Sable Island must work well in teams, deal well with life in a remote research station, be able to travel by small airplane, fishing trawler, helicopter, or frigate, and be reasonably fit as walking censuses require lots of hiking. Courses on first aid and driving all-terrain vehicles will be provided prior to fieldwork.
This position is scholarship-dependent; hence, preference will be given to Canadians who are competitive for a U of S Dean’s Scholarship and/or an NSERC scholarship. This will require M.Sc. publications and exceptionally good grades (GPA > 3.9) and a track record of past awards.
To apply send an email titled SABLE ISLAND PHD 2019 to email@example.com:
- A short summary of research interests
- Copies of your publications and description of role in these papers
- A current CV
- PDFs of undergraduate and graduate transcripts
- The names and email addresses of 2 or 3 potential references