We are recruiting an exceptional MSc student into a collaborative, diverse, and inclusive research community. The position is fully funded. We will support and encourage the successful applicant to compete for internal and external funding. Preference is for a September 2021 start date and the competition will remain open through Sept 25th, 2020. The position is based at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Our lab and the caribou studied within this project occur on the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk and Mi’kmaq peoples. The project will be a co-mentored by Eric Vander Wal (Memorial University of Newfoundland; weel.gitlab.io) and Hance Ellington (University of Florida; profile).
Project: Anthropogenic disturbance is increasingly prevalent on the landscape. Linear features are defined as cleared stretches of land and are distinct sources of habitat fragmentation. In addition to direct mortality from vehicle collisions, animals that regularly interact with linear features may have declining reproductive success. For caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in Newfoundland, population declines have been linked to nutritional stress of adult females and high levels of calf mortality associated with coyote (Canis latrans) and black bear (Ursus americanus) predation, both of which could be amplified in the presence of linear features. The goal of this research project is to ascertain precisely how caribou interact with linear features using integrated step selection analysis and assess the effects of linear features on individual reproduction and survival.
System and team: There is a long history of studying caribou in Newfoundland and Labrador. The project will leverage over a decade of caribou GPS collar data from several large herds on the island of Newfoundland to assess the effects of linear features on fitness. In addition, the student will be part our team studying caribou on Fogo Island, Newfoundland, where there will be opportunity to collect data in the field. We have been studying caribou on Fogo Island since 2016 and have a team studying movement, habitat selection, social behaviour, and predation of caribou in this system. In general, we are a dynamic, collaborative, question-driven research group that bridges fundamental and applied questions in evolutionary, behavioural, population ecology.
Training Opportunity: The project will provide excellent opportunities for training and developing skills for employment or further graduate studies. For example, (1) Fundamentals: critical thinking, experimental design, practicing and communicating science; (2) Field skills: biotelemetry; behavioural observation of caribou; (3) Analytical and lab-skills such as advanced GIS, programing statistical and spatial models; (4) Building a better community: learning about, and contributing to, the ongoing development of lab inclusivity practices through organized discussions, workshops, and seminars.
Qualifications: We seek an applicant with the following qualities. (1) A passion for ecological and evolutionary theory. (2) An interest, commitment and, aptitude for research in the field in all seasons. (3) Quantitative skills in GIS, statistical programing in R, and experience or interest in modeling. (4) A demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. (5) And foremost, evidence of kindness. Competitive applicants are encouraged to contact any past or present students in the WEEL group to obtain an informed opinion of the potential provided by this position and environment.
Memorial University’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity is reflected in its mission, code, and values. While everyone is responsible for upholding these values, we have a responsibility to lead and foster equity initiatives within our lab and department given the importance of inclusion in scholarship.
To apply, please email your applications to Hance (firstname.lastname@example.org) and me (email@example.com). We would appreciate if the application was a single *.pdf document. Please include a cover letter outlining your background, aspirations, interests, and any equity considerations you are comfortable sharing, and a current CV including the names of two references.
Thank you in advance.