MSc IN EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY AND GENETICS OF ICELANDIC ARCTIC CHARR

Location: University of Guelph and Hólar University College, Iceland. Field work occurs in the lava caves around Lake Myvatn northern Iceland.

Advisors: Dr. Moira Ferguson, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON Canada and Dr. Camille Leblanc, Hólar University College, Iceland.

Numerous ecological and evolutionary processes contribute to the generation of biodiversity, and the complexity of their interactions has presented a challenge to our understanding of nature. Our knowledge of the roles of development, natural selection, genetic drift, and gene flow in shaping biodiversity is complicated by the spatial and temporal variability inherent in natural systems. A powerful approach to better understand such processes involves monitoring wild populations over generations and obtaining data including pedigrees, phenotype, and fitness, so that we can directly infer evolutionary parameters, particularly those describing selection and genetic variation. We are seeking a talented MSc student to apply such an approach to wild populations of Icelandic Arctic charr, in order to further our understanding of the complex interplay among genes, phenotypes, and ecology, in natural environments.

The successful MSc student will test important microevolutionary theories with individual-based phenotypic records, molecular genetic (SNP) data, and ecological data from 19 populations of Arctic charr residing in a spatially replicated system of lava caves in the Myvatn area of northern Iceland. The monitoring of these populations began in 2012 and provides an impressive long-term dataset for novel insights. Advanced analytical techniques will be used to understand spatial and temporal patterns of genetic variation, natural selection, and ecological covariates. The student will be based at the University of Guelph with Prof. Moira Ferguson but will spend time at Hólar University College with Dr. Camille Leblanc (including annual fieldwork). Our ideal candidate will have interests in evolution, ecology, and genetics, and will have strong quantitative skills – necessary for the advanced analytical techniques used in this field. The student will be able to work independently and as part of a larger team, both in the laboratory and in the field.

The project is part of a long term collaboration between the University of Guelph, Canada (Prof. Moira Ferguson), Hólar University College (Prof. Bjarni K. Kristjánsson, Prof. Skúli Skúlason and Dr. Camille Leblanc), the University of Iceland (Prof. Sigurður S. Snorrason, and Prof. Arni Einarsson), EAWAG, Switzerland (Dr. Katja Räsänen), and the University of St Andrews (Dr. Michael Morrissey). The project is funded by The Icelandic Science Foundation (Rannis) and NSERC (Canada). The position will be filled as soon as a good candidate is found (target date 1. May 2018). The funding for the graduate student positions is sufficient to cover living costs and University of Guelph tuition fees for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Applicants should send an application letter with a max. 1 page statement of research interests and relevant experience, curriculum vitae, copies of academic qualifications including copies of unofficial transcripts and the names and e-mail addresses of three referees, as a single pdf file to Dr. Moira Ferguson (mmfergus@uoguelph.ca).

For further information contact Dr. Moira Ferguson, Professor at the University of Guelph.

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PhD POSITION: AQUATIC INVASION ECOLOGY – McGILL UNIVERSITY

The Ricciardi Lab at McGill University (http://redpath-staff.mcgill.ca/ricciardi/) is recruiting a graduate student at the PhD level to investigate how physical environmental conditions affect the success and impact of zebra mussel invasions. This is a fully funded position for four years.

The zebra mussel has recently invaded a southern Quebec lake, Lac Memphrémagog (100 km southeast of Montreal) and threatens to spread to other lakes in the region. These lakes vary in water chemistry and other limnological conditions that likely mediate the maximum abundance, distribution, and impact of the zebra mussel. We are looking for a student to investigate these relationships by conducting lab experiments, field studies, and empirical modelling. Another major focus will be to investigate the effects of an expanding mussel population on invertebrate diversity and food webs in these lakes.

McGill has a field station on Lac Memphrémagog. Our students are members of an interuniversity research centre in Quebec (GRIL) and interact with limnologists and ecologists in the Biology Department at McGill, as well as national and international collaborators that have expertise in invasion ecology. Our students also have the opportunity to take a unique summer NSERC training program in lake and fluvial ecology (https://oraprdnt.uqtr.uquebec.ca/pls/public/gscw030?owa_no_site=4180) and a graduate-level course on invasion ecology at McGill.

The candidate will have completed a BSc Honors or MSc degree by Dec 2018, and have independent research experience and field training in freshwater or marine ecology. Owing to funding requirements, we are directing this ad to Canadians (or permanent residents in Canada); however exceptional international candidates will also be considered, if they are deemed likely to qualify for a scholarship. Applicants must meet the requirements of the graduate program of the Department of Biology (http://biology.mcgill.ca/grad/gradstudies.html). The preferred start date is January 2019, but a later start date to begin field work before July 2019 might be possible.

Strong candidates should apply as soon as possible. The deadline for applications is September 10, or until a candidate is chosen. Applicants should provide:

  • An up-to-date c.v.
  • University Transcript(s) (e.g. a scanned copy)
  • Names and contact information of at least two referees,
  • A short (~1 page, single spaced) statement of research interests and relevant experience.

Send your application, as a single combined pdf if possible, to Prof. Anthony Ricciardi (tony.ricciardi@mcgill.ca). The student we select must apply to the Biology department by October 15 for admission into the graduate program in January 2019.

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Graduate student opportunity in Ecosystem Ecology at Memorial University

The Ecosystem Ecology Lab at Memorial University of Newfoundland is recruiting graduate (MSc and/or PhD) student(s) to study the impacts of consumers on ecosystem functioning at local and regional extents. Specifically, we are looking for a student(s) to i) develop spatial ecosystem ecology theory for consumer impacts within and across ecosystems and ii) conduct experiments and observational studies in our boreal study systems. Our lab is actively developing and testing predictions from spatial ecosystem ecology theory using moose (Alces alces) and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) as case studies. Moose were introduced to the island of Newfoundland in the early 1900s and now the island sustains ~120,000 individuals and the highest densities of moose on the planet. Moose are having large impacts on forest and small stream ecosystems in Newfoundland. Atlantic salmon are a native anadromous and iteroparous fish found in streams across the island of Newfoundland. Salmon are an important biotic vector for the flux of nutrients between freshwater and marine ecosystems. Please visit our lab website to learn more about our research (http://shawnleroux.wixsite.com/lerouxlab).

Memorial University of Newfoundland is the largest university in Atlantic Canada with ~18,000 students (~3,200 graduate students). The Department of Biology at Memorial is diverse with ~30 faculty and ~100 graduate students. You can find out more about the department, graduate studies application procedures and funding at: http://www.mun.ca/biology/graduate/. The position(s) come with a guaranteed stipend but interested students should also visit the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for information on postgraduate scholarships: http://nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Students-Etudiants/PG-CS/index_eng.asp.

Memorial’s main campus is in St John’s, a city of ~ 250,000 people on the Northeastern point of the island of Newfoundland. Newfoundland is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts with excellent access to cycling, trail running and hiking (http://eastcoasttrail.ca/), whale and seabird watching, cross-country skiing, fishing, etc.

Students interested in joining the lab starting in September 2019 should send a cv, transcripts and statement of research interest to: sleroux@mun.ca. We will begin considering applications on Sept. 15, 2018 until the positions are filled. Priority will be given to students with experience or a strong interest in mathematical modeling, spatial analysis, and/or field ecology.

Keywords: Atlantic salmon, community ecology, food web, meta-ecosystems, moose, nutrient cycling, subsidies, theoretical ecology

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FUNDED PhD POSITION IN THEORETICAL WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA [Vancouver and Kelowna, Canada]

Project description: We are recruiting a PhD student to conduct dissertation research on the mathematical basis underlying wildlife management and conservation. The application of mathematical modeling in ecological and evolutionary theory is well established (Otto and Day 2007), yet there remains significant room for the innovation of quantitative mathematical modelling in the applied realms of wildlife science. The student will explore the governing dynamics of topics such as:

  • eco-evolutionary outcomes of human-wildlife conflict;
  • consumer-resource models of hunter harvesting;
  • human-carnivore competition for ungulates;
  • commensal interactions between micro- and macro-predators;
  • decision-support tools to assist in management, conservation, and policy related to wildlife.

These topics may focus on systems associated with people, large carnivores, and ungulates in British Columbia, including wildlife species such as wolves, cougars, black and grizzly bears, elk, mule and white-tailed deer, and big horn sheep.

Minimal qualifications: include a demonstrated interest in quantitative modelling in the life sciences and willingness to develop models to answer applied questions. This project is primarily computer lab based, with opportunities for stakeholder engagement and field visits to better understand system dynamics. Completion of a MSc is strongly preferred.

Timeline: Start date negotiable (2018 or 2019), applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled.

Setting: The student will form a nexus between the research labs of Dr. Sarah Otto (UBC Point Grey Campus, Vancouver, BC) and Dr. Adam T. Ford (UBC Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, BC), who will co-supervise the student. We anticipate will spend the early part of their PhD degree in the Otto Lab in Vancouver [http://www.zoology.ubc.ca/~otto/] to shore up their skills in mathematical modelling. The student will then transition to the Wildlife Restoration Ecology Lab [http://atford.weebly.com/] in Kelowna to further develop and apply their modelling work. The PhD Student will have the opportunity to engage with faculty members of, and facilities managed by, the Kelowna-based BRAES Institute (http://braes.ok.ubc.ca/) and the Vancouver-based Biodiversity Research Center (https://biodiversity.ubc.ca/).

Application instructions: Please email [adam.ford@ubc.ca] a single PDF [formatted as: LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME.pdf] that includes: (1) 1-2 page cover letter indicating (a) past experiences in mathematical modeling in ecology, evolution, or life sciences; (b) areas of interest/growth for your PhD topic(s); (c) broader goals of your PhD; (d) your anticipated fit with the PIs and their labs; (2) a recent CV; (3) copies [unofficial is fine] of undergraduate and graduate transcripts; (4) contact information for 2-3 references. Please use the subject header “Quantitative Modelling PhD Application”.

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PhD opportunity: Temperature variation and risk modelling of endangered aquatic species, UWaterloo 

In collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Natural Resources Canada, the candidate will analyze variance of temperature data for North America and use this information to access risks for endangered aquatic species. We will examine the probability of autocorrelated temperature extremes and relate these probabilities to the risk of extinction as predicted by structured population models (matrix or IPM models) The student will develop computationally efficient methods of dealing with the climate data, and will also develop methods for incorporating information regarding temperature variation and autocorrelation into population models

The position will commence Sept 2018 or Jan 2019. The successful candidate will be funded for 4 years by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada (www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca) and the University of Waterloo (uwaterloo.ca). Work will occur both at the Center for Inland Waters in Burlington, Ontario and the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario. Direct inquiries to Kim Cuddington at the University of Waterloo (kcuddingATuwaterlooDOTca). Applicants must meet the standards for entry into the Biology (uwaterloo.ca/biology/graduate-studies/admissions), or Applied math graduate program (uwaterloo.ca/applied-mathematics/graduate-students/applying)

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PhD opportunity: Optical recognition of Bythotrephes, UWaterloo

In collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the successful candidate will use a Laser Optical Plankton Counter (LOPC) data stream to identity plankton species in samples from the Great Lakes. A single tow may contain images of 30+ million particles.

The initial focus will be to identify one species of management interest, the invasive spiny water flea, Bythotrephes longimanus. The student will use computationally intensive machine-learning techniques, such as neural networks, in order to classify images. The student will train the algorithm using species from both single and mixed species laboratory populations run through the LOPC, and from lake tow data streams where positive identifications can be made.

The position will start Sept 2018 or Jan 2019. The successful candidate will be funded for 4 years by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada (www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca) and the University of Waterloo (uwaterloo.ca). Work will occur both at the Center for Inland Waters in Burlington, Ontario and the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario. A quantitative or computational background will be strongly preferred.

Direct inquiries to Kim Cuddington at the University of Waterloo (kcuddingATuwaterlooDOTca). Applicants must meet the standards for entry into the Biology (uwaterloo.ca/biology/graduate-studies/admissions), or Applied math graduate program (uwaterloo.ca/applied-mathematics/graduate-students/applying).

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