Ph.D. Assistantship in Arctic Estuarine Ecology

A Ph.D. research assistantship is available (beginning summer/fall 2019) in Ken Dunton’s lab at the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute (https://utmsi.utexas.edu/). This position is part of an interdisciplinary program funded by the National Science Foundation to study the benthic ecology of Beaufort Sea lagoons within a newly established LTER located on Alaska’s northern Arctic coast. The student’s research would focus on the resilience of Arctic estuarine benthic communities, with emphasis on how intertidal and subtidal communities respond to extremes in ice, salinity, and hypoxia. This includes studies that examine seasonal and spatial patterns in invertebrate population structure to address mechanisms of persistence, migration, recovery, and trophic linkages with key consumers.  We seek applicants with a background in estuarine and/or marine science with a degree in biology, ecology, environmental science, or closely related fields. The student is expected to develop an integrative field and experimental project that incorporates fundamentally new and innovative approaches to questions of disturbance and resilience in benthic populations. Applicants should have a strong academic background, show evidence of independent work in the field and/or lab, and demonstrate a capacity to contribute to a collaborative research environment. For more information, please email a statement of interest/background and a copy of your CV to Ken Dunton (ken.dunton@utexas.edu).

Links:
Dunton Lab: www.utmsi.utexas.edu/staff/dunton
BLE-LTER website: https://ble.lternet.edu/
UTMSI graduate program:
https://utmsi.utexas.edu/academics/graduate/admission-information

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PhD opportunity in Ecology: Evaluating disturbance-mediated vegetation change and climate-change refugia potential in boreal forests

Organizations:
Dept. of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta (http://www.rr.ualberta.ca/)
Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta (https://www.ualberta.ca/biological-sciences)
Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre (https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/research-centres/nofc/13485)
Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (https://www.abmi.ca)

Position: Ph.D., University of Alberta (Renewable Resources or Biological Sciences Department)

Stipend: $26,500/yr

Apply by: 15 April 2019 (or until position is filled)

Start date: 1 May 2019 (preferable) to 1 Sept 2019 (latest)

Type: Study scope pre-determined. 3 years fully grant-funded. (NSERC Research funding will cover research expenses as well as three years of a Ph.D. student stipend. It is assumed that the student will be able to obtain a student scholarship or teaching assistantship to cover the fourth year.)

Description:
 The successful candidate will join a dynamic team of researchers on a 3-year, fully funded program studying the resilience of boreal forest landscapes to combined influences of drought and wildfire. This project will involve an analysis of field-collected and remotely sensed vegetation and soil data to evaluate (1) how drought (climate change risk) alters post-fire disturbance recovery dynamics and overall forest ecosystem function, and (2) which landscape factors are associated with enhanced forest resilience.

Fieldwork for this project will include summer vegetation and soil sampling, based out of remote field camps in northern Alberta. The PhD student will be involved in developing the study design; conducting field sampling activities; managing, analyzing and synthesizing data; communicating with government and industry partners; and disseminating results through peer-reviewed publications and presentations.

The four-year degree program will consist of coursework and a thesis containing three to four chapters intended for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Results will inform conservation and management priorities in a changing climate.

Supervisors:
Dr. Scott Nielsen (http://ace-lab.org/3G/scott.php)
Dr. Kevin Devito (https://devitogroup.squarespace.com)
Dr. Erin Bayne (https://www.ualberta.ca/science/about-us/contact-us/faculty-directory/erin-bayne)

Qualifications: M.Sc. in ecology or related field (e.g. biology, natural resources, geography, or forestry); min. 3.0 GPA for past 2 years of study, or equivalent.

Required: GIS and statistical skills; remote outdoor/field experience; initiative; dependability; ability to work in a team setting.

Assets: Familiarity with boreal forest ecosystems (plants and landforms) and responses to climate change; valid driver’s license; experience with all-terrain vehicles

Instructions: Please submit a cover letter describing your research interests, experience, and qualifications for this position, as well as a curriculum vitae, and contact information for three professional references to Dr. Scott Nielsen at scottn@ualberta.ca and Dr. Diana Stralberg at diana.stralberg@ualberta.ca. We thank all applicants for their interest; only selected applicants will be contacted for an interview.

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MSc Opportunity, Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta

Underlying causes for low seed yields in lodgepole pine seed orchards in Alberta

We are seeking a qualified MSc student to lead a two-year study on the effects of grafting and microsite conditions on cone development and seed production in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) seed orchards.

Seed orchards play a critical role in providing high-quality seed for reforestation. However, some orchards fail to meet production targets by as much as 80%. The student will monitor the development of newly emerged cones in three lodgepole pine seed orchards near Grande Prairie, AB in spring (May-July) of 2019 and 2020. Two of these orchards consist of grafted trees and suffer high conelet abortion rates, while the third orchard consist of trees grown from seed and has consistently low abortion rates. The student will use root data generated from ground-penetrating radar to assess if grafting had a negative effect on root development and if that in turn may be linked to high conelet abortion. The student will also collect data on microsite conditions (water availability, soil compaction, canopy microclimate) to examine their role in conelet abortion. This project is part of a broader study that aims to understand the underlying drivers of conelet abortion and the student will be working as part of a team of researchers.

Qualifications: Preference will be given to prospective students that have:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in forestry, plant genetics, ecology, or related field
  • An interest in forest genetics and ecophysiology
  • A valid class 5 driver’s licence (or equivalent), and eligibility to drive UofA vehicles
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English
  • Knowledge of experimental design and statistical programs would be an asset

Funding: This project is fully funded through an NSERC Collaborative Research and Development Grant in partnership with forest industry partners.

Start date: May 2019

ApplicationProspective students must apply through FGSR; however, those interested should first email Dr. Barb Thomas (bthomas@ualberta.ca and cc Morgan Randall mrandall@ualberta.ca) the following:

  • a letter of interest (1 page)
  • a CV describing qualifications and experience
  • unofficial transcripts
  • contact information for three references

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.  Informal inquiries to gain more information about the positions are also welcome.

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PhD or Postdoctoral Fellowship: Impacts of Multiple Stressors on Nearshore Aquatic Ecosystems in the Great Lakes

We are recruiting a PhD student or Postdoctoral fellow to participate in a multidisciplinary study on the impacts of multiple environmental stressors (nutrient pollution, invasive species, and climate change) on the Laurentian Great Lakes with a focus on nearshore water quality and proliferation of nuisance benthic algae. The study will involve 1) analysis of long-term data from lake and stream surveys in the Toronto region of Lake Ontario and sites throughout the Great Lakes, 2) conducting multi-factor nearshore mesocosm experiments, and 3) statistical modeling to test theoretical and applied hypotheses on nearshore ecosystem structure and function in the Great Lakes.

Preference will be given to candidates with experience (or strong interest) in:

  • aquatic ecology and biogeochemistry,
  • algal and invertebrate physiology or ecology,
  • aquatic mesocosm experiments, and
  • multivariate statistical modeling

Candidates should submit the following as a pdf-file to paul.weidman@uwindsor.ca:

  1. Research statement (< 1 page) showing relevant experience and interest
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. University transcripts (scanned into the pdf file)
  4. Names and contact information of two references
  5. One or two relevant peer-reviewed scientific publications

Funding is available for 4 years for PhD students or 2 years for PDFs. Applications will be considered until the position is filled. Start date: ASAP.

The study will be conducted in partnership with the following organizations, and the candidate may be able to hold the position at any of these locations (see links for more information):

  • Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), Toronto, ON
  • Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MOECP), Environmental Monitoring and Reporting Branch, Etobicoke, ON
  • Canadian Centre for Inland Waters (CCIW), Environment and Climate Change Canada, Burlington, ON
  • Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER), University of Windsor, Windsor, ON

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Paul Weidman, Adjunct Assistant Professor
Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER)
University of Windsor
Email: paul.weidman@uwindsor.ca
Web: http://www1.uwindsor.ca/glier/paul-weidman-0

&

Dr. Ken Drouillard, Professor
Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER)
University of Windsor
Email: kgd@uwindsor.ca
Web: http://www1.uwindsor.ca/glier/ken-drouillard

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MSc project on the anti-predator posture and colouration in Red-spotted newts

We are currently seeking an MSc student to evaluate variation in anti-predator defences within and across populations of Red-spotted newts (Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens). The project will involve pairing field studies that quantify variation in defensive colouration and behaviour in wild animals with field experiments that evaluate the efficacy of various strategies across predator guilds and habitat types. More broadly this work will test hypotheses which seek to identify proximate and ultimate explanations for standing variation in suites of defensive strategies both within and among populations.

The funding package includes a competitive stipend as well as coverage of all field-related travel and other expenses. Successful candidates will have a BSc in Biology or related field, experience conducting field work in remote locations, a strong work ethic, and interest in working collaboratively in a large and diverse research group. Additional desirable skills include amphibian field skills, and the ability to work independently. While not necessary, individuals that have experience with high performance liquid chromatography are encouraged to apply.

To apply, please send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, unofficial academic transcript, and contact information for 3 references to: Dennis Murray (murraylabapplicants@gmail.com). The successful candidate will begin enrolment at Trent University by May (preferably) or September 2019, and we will accept applications until a suitable candidate is found, so apply early. See www.dennismurray.ca for additional information.

 

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MSc project on snowshoe hare habitat ecology

We are initiating an MSc project on the spatial and habitat-related ecology of snowshoe hares near Kluane Lake, Yukon. Hares have been studied for >30 years on-site, and the project will assess hare habitat selection relative to landcover types, with emphasis on the spatial distribution of food and cover. Using GIS mapping and remote sensing products (LIDAR, NIRS and other technology), the project will assess how radio-collared hares select habitat through space and time. The work may also involve evaluating temporal shifts in landcover types, or modeling past or future landcover change based upon forest disease epidemics and/or climate change.

The funding package includes a competitive stipend as well as coverage of all field-related travel and other expenses. Successful candidates will have a BSc in Biology, Geography or related field, demonstrated experience working with GIS, LIDAR, NIRS, or other remote sensing products, a strong work ethic, and interest in working collaboratively in a large and diverse research group. Additional desirable skills include animal handling and working in remote field conditions.

To apply, please send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, unofficial academic transcript, and contact information for 3 references to: Dennis Murray (murraylabapplicants@gmail.com). The successful candidate will begin enrolment at Trent University by May (preferably) or September 2019, and we will accept applications until a suitable candidate is found, so apply early. See www.dennismurray.ca for additional information.

 

 

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Two PhD studentships in Aquatic Community Ecology

Biology, Concordia University, Fall 2019
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Applications are invited for two fully funded studentships on research towards understanding and predicting the structure of aquatic ecological communities.

We are seeking students interested in understanding the broad-scale processes structuring aquatic ecological communities.  Because aquatic ecosystems are widely recognized for providing many features valued by humans, the proposed research also aims at generating scientific knowledge to improve conservation and management strategies. The research will be largely based on quantitative developments that will be validated using existing large-scale empirical datasets.  The specifics of the project will be determined jointly by the successful candidate, supervisors and collaborators (see below).

PhD studentship 1 – The mechanisms underlying the co-existence of lake-fish.   Although there is much need to establish the links between different dimensions of biodiversity (such as species richness, functional diversity, phylogenetic diversity) and ecosystem services such as fish biomass that are important to human societies, this knowledge is still quite sparse.  The goal of this studentship is to study the linkages between variation in species attributes (traits, phylogenies, physiology) and environmental characteristics of lakes, to understand and predict patterns of species co-occurrence and biomass distribution.

PhD studentship 2 – Predicting abundance and biomass from presence-absence species distributions. There is a long history in ecology on predicting abundance from presence-absence data. Species abundances are central to understanding the more complex processes underlying ecological communities. Moreover, being able to predict patterns of species abundance and biomass across landscapes is central to conservation and managing ecosystem services. The goal of this studentship is to generate improved models for predicting species abundances and biomass, and to understand the ecological principles that allow to understand the conditions in which predictions are improved.     

Collaborative Research – The positions will be part of a collaborative research involving Dylan Fraser (Concordia Univ. Research Chair in Population Biodiversity and Conservation), Eric Pedersen (Fisheries and Oceans Canada), Pedro R. Peres-Neto (Canada Research Chair in Spatial Ecology and Biodiversity), Nigel Lester and Brian Shuter (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry), Ken Minns (Fisheries and Oceans Canada & University of Toronto) and Donald Jackson (University of Toronto.  Students will be members of the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Studies (https://qcbs.ca/) and be considered to become fellows of the NSERC-funded training program in Computational Biodiversity Science and Services.  

Requirements – Key requirements include a solid quantitative background, familiarity with programming using modern quantitative software (such as R, Python, or MATLAB), and strong understanding of community ecology or related fisheries and aquatic sciences pertinent to the research focus.

Application – If you are interested in graduate study within this exciting program please send a current CV, unofficial transcripts, and contact information for three academic/research references to Pedro Peres-Neto (pedro.peres-neto@concordia.ca).  We are recruiting for students to begin in September 2019, but flexibility may be possible.

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Gelada Monkey Research in the Ethiopian Highlands

Hiring Organization:
Dr. Peter Fashing & Dr. Nga Nguyen (California State University Fullerton)

Date Posted:
February 21, 2019

TWO field assistants are needed for a study of the behavior, ecology, and conservation of wild gelada monkeys (Theropithecus gelada) at a remote, long-term field site in north-central Ethiopia called Guassa. Field research assistants will participate in data collection during an intensive 13-month long field season as part of this study, now in its second decade. Assistant duties will include (but are not limited to) carrying out behavioral observations, fecal sample collection, and vegetation monitoring. Work will begin in mid-May 2019 and last until the end of June 2020. Applications will be accepted until both positions are filled.

POSITION DESCRIPTION
Two field assistants are needed for a study of the behavior, ecology, and conservation of wild gelada monkeys (Theropithecus gelada) at a remote, semi-permanent field site in north-central Ethiopia called Guassa. The study is being carried out by Dr. Peter Fashing and Dr. Nga Nguyen, professors of Anthropology and Environmental Studies at California State University Fullerton. The field assistants will be responsible for (a) collecting basic demographic and reproductive data as part of routine monitoring of the well-habituated study population, (b) conducting focal animal samples (c) recording GPS readings of gelada ranging locations, as well as (d) conducting vegetation monitoring and (e) walking census transects. The two field assistants will share a camp and research responsibilities while at Guassa.

The study area consists of 111km2 of hilly Afro-alpine grassland situated at 3,200-3,600 meters above sea level along the eastern edge of the Ethiopian highlands and affords spectacular views out over the Great Rift Valley nearly a mile below. A number of animals endemic to the Ethiopian highlands occur at Guassa including geladas, the critically endangered Ethiopian wolf (the world’s rarest canid), the blue-winged goose, and the thick-billed raven. Notable mammals not endemic to Ethiopia but also present at Guassa include hyenas, leopards, serval cats, and the recently discovered cryptic African wolf. The gelada population at Guassa has been studied on a near-daily basis since January 2007 and nearly all individuals in the main ~200-member study band are habituated to observers at distances of a few meters.

For more information on the project, please see the following website:
http://anthro.fullerton.edu/gelada/

QUALIFICATIONS/EXPERIENCE
Applicants should have a B.S. or B.A. in Biology, Biological Anthropology, or a related field. Good physical fitness and a willingness to walk long distances (6-12 km) each day are essential to working at Guassa where the terrain is hilly, the air thin (due to the high elevation), and the geladas wide-ranging. Experience with winter camping and life in cold climates is preferred since the successful applicants will be living in (spacious) tents at a location where nights are sometimes below freezing (as low as 19ºF though 33-36ºF is more typical) and days are often chilly (45-60ºF) and windy (10-40 km/hour) as well. Our campsite is situated on an isolated patch of ecologically pristine alpine grassland far from human habitation and applicants must be highly self-sufficient (the nearest town, Mehal Meda, is 22 kilometers away from camp, we do not own a vehicle, and contact with other English-speakers is rare). Field assistants will live in a semi-permanent campsite with 2 Ethiopian staff members with limited English language skills. Prior travel and/or field experience in Africa or mountainous regions of Asia or South America preferred. Applicants must be fluent in English and eager to learn Amharic (the national language of Ethiopia).

After Guassa, former field research assistants have all (n=22) co-authored one or more peer-reviewed journal articles with us. Most have gone on to pursue graduate studies (Ph.D. and/or Master’s, including at Yale, Dartmouth, Penn State, Minnesota, Massachusetts-Amherst, Toronto, Saskatchewan, UC Santa Barbara, Oxford, UC London, and Georg-August [Göttingen], among others) or additional research opportunities in biological anthropology, animal behavior, or ecology. Several assistants have returned to Guassa to conduct graduate or postdoctoral research.

For an example of media coverage of a recent (February 2017) scientific paper (in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology) involving past and current Guassa Gelada Research Project assistants, please see…

http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2017/02/02/512990553/a-new-view-into-the-primate-birthing-process

Our research site was also recently featured in the April 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. The article featured stunningly beautiful photographs of Guassa and its geladas made by Jeff Kerby, a former GGRP field assistant who subsequently earned his PhD at Penn State and is now a postdoctoral researcher at Dartmouth. For more details, please see…

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/04/gelada-monkeys-grass-eating-guassa-ethiopia-bleeding-heart/

SALARY/FUNDING
None.

SUPPORT PROVIDED FOR INTERNSHIP/VOLUNTEER POSITIONS
Research assistants will be provided with basic accommodation, food and other basic supplies while at the field site. In addition, we will pay each assistant’s $1,000USD research fee (directly to the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority) for permission to conduct research in Ethiopia. However, applicants must pay their own international travel to Addis Ababa ($1,500-$2,000USD from the USA, less from Europe), including the cost of a tourist visa (~$70USD), and are responsible for any additional expenses incurred while traveling in Ethiopia, including travel to and from the field site and Addis every few months (to buy supplies, see a movie, etc.). Buses to Addis (300 km from Guassa or 6-8 bumpy hours travel) are inexpensive ($10 each way) and run almost daily from Mehal Meda. Camp is located a few miles walk from the road where you can catch the bus after a one or more hour wait. Luxury food items such as chocolates, cookies and canned tuna may be purchased in Addis at the volunteer’s expense. Our semi-permanent camp is remote but comfortable, with large walk-in tents with beds, solar electricity for the lights, a laptop computer, and small electronics, as well as mobile telephone service for international calls and calls within Ethiopia, and regular email service. Travel health insurance is strongly recommended; volunteers are required to acquire the necessary vaccinations prior to entry to Ethiopia. Volunteers are required to provide their own winter/alpine condition clothing, footwear and sleeping bag. Advice about what items are necessary for life at Guassa will be provided upon request.

TERM OF APPOINTMENT
13 months beginning mid-May 2019 and ending late June 2020. Because the training process requires ~2 months, assistants must be willing to work for a minimum of 13-months. We work in teams of twos and each researcher typically spends two to three days in the field with the geladas and one day at camp helping with camp chores and data entry and checking (we download and proof each day’s data onto the camp computer at the end of each field day). We expect successful applicants to be keen observers and diligent and conscientious students of animal behavior. Volunteers must be willing to work in a small team setting and have demonstrated a willingness to follow instructions/protocols closely in the past. We expect detailed updates from the field at least twice each week by email to keep us updated on conditions/progress in the field.

APPLICATION DEADLINE
Positions will remain open until filled.

COMMENTS
To apply, please submit (1) a letter of interest stating how and why this position satisfies your interest and future educational or career goals, explaining your suitability for this project, plus a time frame during which you are available to work, (2) a CV or resumé detailing relevant experience, (3) a summary of college courses taken and the grades received, to be followed later by an official transcript, and (4) contact information for at least two references, preferably at least one academic reference as well as one person who has worked closely with you or who has closely supervised your work. The subject heading of the email message should read: “Application for field research position”. Please email the application materials to Dr. Peter Fashing at peterfashing@gmail.com. 

Contact Information:
Peter Fashing, Ph.D.
Dept. of Anthropology
California State University, Fullerton
800 N. State College Blvd.
Fullerton, CA  92834-6846
USA
Phone: 657-278-7144

Email
peterfashing@gmail.com

Website:
http://anthro.fullerton.edu/gelada

For more information about the project directors:
http://anthro.fullerton.edu/pfashing/
http://anthro.fullerton.edu/nganguyen/

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MSc project on the development of chorus frog monitoring and assessment protocols

In collaboration with Blazing Star Environmental and the Canadian Wildlife Service, we are designing a long-term monitoring program to estimate changes in the distribution of the western chorus frog across its Canadian range. Western Chorus frogs are highly cryptic and are listed as Threatened in Canada, it is therefore essential that robust monitoring protocols be developed to document population status, distribution and trends. The project will involve conducting field surveys and assessing factors affecting species occupancy and detectability in their natural habitat. Ultimately, the project will involve development of protocols for chorus frog monitoring as well as models predicting their habitat suitability and detectability, for broader use in long-term population monitoring.

The funding package includes a competitive stipend as well as coverage of all field-related travel and other expenses. Successful candidates will have a BSc in Biology or related field, familiarity with and quantitative skills in occupancy and habitat modeling, a strong work ethic, and interest in working collaboratively in a large and diverse research group. Additional desirable skills include amphibian field skills and working independently.

To apply, please send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, unofficial academic transcript, and contact information for 3 references to: Dennis Murray (murraylabapplicants@gmail.com). The successful candidate will begin enrolment at Trent University by May (preferably) or September 2019, and we will accept applications until a suitable candidate is found, so apply early. See www.dennismurray.ca for additional information.

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M.Sc. opportunity in forest ecology and modelling

Title: Effect of intra-stand spatial structure on succession dynamics in a mixed boreal forest

Context and project overview: Understanding the succession dynamics of a forest following a major disturbance, such as a fire or harvest, is essential for developing management plans that maintain the forest’s biodiversity and ecosystem functions. In the mixed boreal forests of northwest Québec, this succession follows well-known general patterns, but multiple outcomes are possible depending on stand and landscape-level factors. This project aims to determine to which extent the spatial organization of the different species and age classes at the stand level (i.e. one or a few hectares) affects the long-term composition and productivity of the stand.

This project will use the data from permanent census plots at the Lake Duparquet Research and Teaching Forest (FERLD). The student will simulate stand dynamics with the SORTIE-ND forest model, with initial conditions matching empirical stand structure, and compare the composition and structure of the simulation outputs with that of census plots measured at different times since fire.

Location: The student will be based at the Institut de recherche sur les forêts (IRF) at the Rouyn-Noranda campus of the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, under the supervision of Philippe Marchand. The IRF offers a dynamic research environment, with 10 faculty members and over 60 graduate students working on a variety of topics with direct applications to sustainable forest management. IRF students also benefit from resources and professional development opportunities offered through the Québec Center for Forest Research (www.cef-cfr.ca).

Financial support: A scholarship of 18 000 $ per year for two years is provided.

Required profile: A good or excellent academic record, an interest in ecology and forestry research, and experience with (or interest in) computer programming for simulations or statistical analyses.

Start date: Fall 2019

To apply: Send a curriculum vitae, a cover letter, an academic transcript and the contact information for two references to Philippe Marchand (philippe.marchand@uqat.ca). The position will be open until filled, with priority given to applications received before March 8, 2019.

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