Graduate Student Opportunity in Stream Ecosystem Ecology

SUPERVISORS: Neil Rooney (nrooney@uoguelph.ca) and Merritt Turetsky (mrt@uoguelph.ca)

We are seeking an enthusiastic graduate student with a strong academic record to undertake an MSc or PhD in ecosystem ecology focusing on the effect of agricultural practices on the structure and functioning of wetland and stream ecosystems. PhD students are preferred. As part of the recently launched ‘Food from Thought’ initiative at the University of Guelph (http://news.uoguelph.ca/2016/09/u-g-receives-nearly-77-million-launch-food-thought/), this graduate project presents an exciting opportunity to participate in a large collaborative research effort that aims to quantify ecological effects of agricultural practices from individuals to ecosystems.

This project will take a field based approach to linking farming practices to hydrology, soil and stream nutrient cycling and metabolism across gradient of agricultural intensity. The results of the research will be essential in the development of crucial links among different scales of ecological organisation.

We are looking for a candidate who:

  1. Has a strong background in biogeochemical cycling and/or aquatic ecosystem metabolism (MSc preferred)
  2. Thrives in a collaborative environment and enjoys field work
  3. Has strong quantitative skills (i.e. statistics and/or programming)

Starting date: Fall 2017.

Stipend: Minimum funding of 20,000$/year for 4 years. There are also opportunities for TAships and scholarships through the School of Environmental Sciences, and the University of Guelph does offer competitive matching for exceptional students.

Applicants should provide a copy of their CV and transcripts, a short statement of research interests, and the contact information of two referees to: nrooney@uoguelph.ca. Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

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PhD project in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph – Closing date: January 1, 2018

Development of novel biotracers to understand the impact of agricultural practices on aquatic wildlife

A Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF)-funded PhD student position is available for a candidate interested in wildlife conservation and physiology. The candidate will seek to assess the cumulative impacts of human activity in fish exposed to gradients of agricultural runoff using physiological tools, both in field and laboratory settings. Individual measures of chronic stress and contaminant exposure will be combined with an analysis of physiological and ecological indicators of fish performance. This project aims to develop and validate new biotracers of the sublethal effects of pollution on aquatic wildlife, which could revolutionize our approach to aquatic environmental assessment and monitoring.

The overarching theme of the University of Guelph CFREF is precision agriculture and environmental sustainability. The selected candidate will join the CFREF ecology team composed of up to 25 collaborators across 4 Departments plus the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario. The primary objective of the ecology team is to understand, and mitigate against, the impacts of a range of agricultural practices on adjacent ecosystems. The development of novel efficient biotracers that can serve as early warning signals of agricultural impacts on aquatic ecosystems will be essential to inform wildlife ecologists and management.

Applications must consist of the following: (1) a letter expressing your interest; (2) an unofficial transcript; (3) names of at least two references; and (4) an example of your scientific writing.

The College of Biological Sciences at the University of Guelph currently has a number of major graduate scholarships available. Students with excellent academic records should visit the following website for further information: https://www.uoguelph.ca/ib/new_graduate_scholarships

Contact persons:
Nicholas Bernier (nbernier@uoguelph.ca) and Frederic Laberge (flaberge@uoguelph.ca)

PhD project in fire ecology in the eastern Canadian taiga

We are seeking an outstanding PhD candidate to conduct a thesis in fire ecology in the fire-prone eastern Canadian taiga. The project will be undertaken at the University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR; http://labdendro.uqar.ca) in collaboration with Laval University, the Canadian Forest Service and the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT). The thesis will be part of a larger multidisciplinary project funded by NSERC, the Ouranos consortium, Hydro-Québec and Manitoba Hydro, that will focus on mapping the fire risk and performing a cost-benefit analysis of fire mitigation scenarios.

The selected candidate will be responsible for reconstructing the fire regime of the last 200 years along a continentality gradient corresponding to a 200 km road transect. An important challenge will consist in combining several field approaches to reconstruct fire date, fire size and fire numbers as fire activity decrease inland. A second challenge will be to quantify the interactions and feedbacks between wildfire activity and forest composition along the fire activity gradient.

The candidate will actively contribute to the production and interpretation of data and to the writing of scientific manuscripts. He/she will be mainly under the supervision of Dominique Arseneault and Martin Simard and will benefit from the diverse expertise of our team members in the fields of taiga ecology, fire ecology, dendrochronology and remote sensing. The candidate will be awarded a financial support of $21,000 (Canadian dollars) per year for a period of three years.

We are looking for a candidate with a master degree (MSc) in a relevant field (forestry, biology, geography, environmental sciences). The successful candidate will possess an excellent academic record, as well as strong analytical and problem-solving skills. He/she must be interested to perform fieldwork in difficult conditions, be resistant and efficient in the field, and should be able to work with autonomy, curiosity, discipline, motivation and determination and have excellent writing skills. Knowledge of French is an asset but is not mandatory.

The project will begin as soon as possible, preferably in September 2017. We will accept applications as long as the position is not filled. Interested candidates must submit a letter of motivation, their academic transcripts, as well as the contact information of three references to Dominique Arseneault (dominique_arseneault@uqar.ca).

PhD project in fire spread modelling and fire risk mapping in the eastern Canadian taiga

We are seeking an outstanding PhD candidate to conduct a thesis in fire risk simulation in the fire-prone eastern Canadian taiga. The project will be undertaken at the University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR; http://labdendro.uqar.ca) in collaboration with the Canadian Forest Service, Laval University and the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT). The thesis will be part of a larger multidisciplinary project funded by NSERC, the Ouranos consortium, Hydro-Québec and Manitoba Hydro, that will focus on mapping the fire risk and performing a cost-benefit analysis of fire mitigation scenarios.

The selected candidate will be responsible for using a fire spread model (the Burn-P3 model) to map burn probabilities across a large hydroelectric complex (300 000 km2) in northern Québec. An important challenge will be to parameterize the simulations in order to generate realistic fire activity (number and size of fires), as well as to reproduce the negative feedback on burn rates due to the low fuel loads of young forest stands. The candidate will do a MITACS internship hosted by Manitoba Hydro to facilitate knowledge transfer and application of the methodology developed from the Quebec case study to Manitoba.

The candidate will actively contribute to the production and interpretation of data and to the writing of scientific manuscripts. He/she will be mainly under the supervision of Marc-André Parisien, Yan Boulanger and Dominique Arseneault and will benefit from the diverse expertise of our team members in the fields of fire ecology, fire spread modelling and statistical modeling. The candidate will be awarded a financial support of $21,000 (Canadian dollars) per year for a period of three years. Additional funding may be available.

We are looking for a candidate with a master degree (MSc) in a relevant field (forestry, biology, geography, environmental sciences). The successful candidate will possess an excellent academic record, as well as strong analytical and problem-solving skills. This person should be able to work with autonomy, curiosity, discipline, motivation and determination and to work effectively within a team and have excellent writing skills. GIS and R programming skills would also be precious assets. Knowledge of French is an asset but is not mandatory.

The project will begin as soon as possible, preferably in September 2017. Interested candidates must submit a letter of motivation, their academic transcripts, as well as the contact information of three references to Dominique Arseneault (dominique_arseneault@uqar.ca).

M.Sc. Position, University of Regina – Management and conservation of sharp-tailed grouse in Saskatchewan. Closing date: July 1, 2017.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and self-motivated student to lead a project examining factors related to Sharp-tailed Grouse ecology and management in Saskatchewan, Canada.  Using both a field component and statistical modelling, this project will address questions related to climate and habitat factors affecting lek counts and lek habitat
selection.  The successful applicant will be: (1) a motivated team player, (2) interested in a project with broad wildlife management applications, (3) willing to engage with local landowners, conservation and hunting communities in Saskatchewan, industrial partners, and Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment staff to support this research, (4) capable
of managing a 2-4 person field crew, and (5) willing to apply for various funding opportunities including a MITACS or NSERC scholarship. The project is fully funded, including a graduate student stipend, for the 2017-2018 year.

Applicants will be under the co-supervision of Dr. Chris Somers and Dr. Ryan Fisher (adjunct professor) in the Department of Biology at the University of Regina. To apply for this position please email a copy of your resume/CV, a short cover letter detailing previous experience and why you want to be considered for this position, transcripts, and a list of 2 references to  Chris Somers (chris.somers@uregina) and Ryan Fisher (ryan.fisher@uregina.ca).

Closing date is July 1, 2017 with the expected start date on September 1, 2017, but other arrangements (for earlier or later start dates) can be made.

PhD project on foraging behaviour and population ecology of Canada lynx in Yukon

Institution: Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada (www.trentu.ca)

Supervisors: Dennis Murray (http://www.dennismurray.ca) and Stan Boutin (https://www.ualberta.ca/science/about-us/contact-us/faculty-directory/stan-boutin)

We are seeking a PhD student to assess lynx foraging behavior and population ecology near Kluane Lake, Yukon. Our research on lynx and their prey in the Kluane region spans decades, and the current project builds on our recent re-analysis of the functional response of lynx to different prey types and how such relationships are more complex than previously thought (see Chan et al. 2017 Ecology DOI:10.1002/ecy.1828). Specifically, through lynx GPS telemetry and accelerometry, camera trap surveys, as well as assessment of prey distribution and abundance, we aim to understand the mechanisms underlying lynx interactions with their primary (snowshoe hare) and secondary (red squirrel) prey, and how such interactions affect lynx population ecology through space and time. To date, lynx have been studied intensively for 2 winters during a period of relative abundance of prey, with an anticipated crash in snowshoe hare numbers and corresponding changes in lynx foraging behavior, expected during the next 2 years. These anticipated changes set the stage for robust analysis of variation in lynx: 1) kill rates and movement patterns; 2) exploitation of prey habitat patches; and 3) interactions with conspecifics. The PhD student will have the opportunity to develop specific research questions within the scope of the larger project and be part of a dynamic group of researchers from 4 Canadian universities.

The funding package includes a competitive stipend, foreign tuition waiver (if the student is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident) as well as coverage of all research expenses. Successful candidates will have an MSc in Ecology, Conservation Biology, or related field, demonstrated evidence of peer-reviewed publications, strong field skills (preferably including carnivore radio-telemetry, chemical immobilization and winter fieldwork), and analysis of GPS telemetry datasets. The successful candidate must be competitive for scholarship funding and be excited about working in a remote field station in the winter for extended periods of time.

To apply, send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, unofficial academic transcript, and contact information for 3 references, to: Dennis Murray (dennismurray@trentu.ca). The successful candidate will begin enrolment by September 2017 or January 2018, and we will accept applications until a suitable candidate is found, so apply early.

PhD project on boreal forest responses to climate change

Institution: Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada (www.trentu.ca)

Supervisor: Dennis Murray (http://www.dennismurray.ca)

We are initiating a PhD project to assess responses to climate change among native species in Canada’s boreal forest. The boreal forest comprises Canada’s largest biome but its state is rapidly deteriorating, including due to climate change. Our recent findings (Row et al. 2012 Glob. Chan. Biol doi:10.1111/gcb.12526; Murray et al., PLoS (ONE), in press) forecast dire consequences to the boreal forest especially in the boundary region between Ontario-Quebec where disjunct east-west populations of native plants, birds, and mammals, and extensive loss of native biodiversity, likely will arise. Through field sampling, species distribution modeling, population viability analysis, and landscape genetics and adaptive genomics, the PhD student will determine: 1) the current and potential future extent of change in boreal species in the Ontario-Quebec region relative to less-impacted areas; 2) how boreal breakdown may affect population processes and viability of native species in the region; 3) whether invasives are colonizing the region disproportionately quickly compared to other regions; and 4) if native or invasive species in the region demonstrate genome-level evidence of stress or adaptation to environmental change. The PhD student will have the opportunity to develop specific research questions within the scope of the larger project.

The funding package includes a competitive stipend, foreign tuition waiver (if the student is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident) as well coverage of all research expenses. Successful candidates will have an MSc in Ecology, Conservation Biology, or related field, demonstrated evidence of peer-reviewed publications, strong quantitative, genetics, and/or field skills, and an interest in working collaboratively as part of a larger group. The PhD student will join the Integrative Wildlife Conservation laboratory at Trent University (www.dennismurray.ca) and be part of an interdisciplinary team addressing innovative solutions to environmental change (www.create-enviro.ca).

To apply, send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, unofficial academic transcript, and contact information for 3 references, to: Dennis Murray (dennismurray@trentu.ca). The successful candidate will begin enrolment at Trent University by September 2017 or January 2018, and we will accept applications until a suitable candidate is found, so apply early.

PhD Positions in Fungal Evolutionary Genetics

The Corradi Lab is currently seeking motivated graduate students (MSc or PhD level).

Students will be supervised by Dr. Nicolas Corradi within a CIFAR (Canadian Institute for Advanced Research) – affiliated laboratory located in the Department of Biology of the University of Ottawa, Canada.

Lab Website: http://corradilab.weebly.com/

The selected candidates will pursue and expand work in one of several new exciting research areas in the lab:

1) Environmental genomics of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi

2) Metagenomics of eukaryotic intracellular pathogens (Microsporidia, Rozellomycota)

3) Genome and mating-type organization in the Arbuscular Mycorrhizal FungiEnquiries about specific projects can be sent to ncorradiATuottawa.ca.

Applicants are expected to have good background in one (or more) of the following areas:

Mycology, Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi, Plant-microbe interaction, Amplicon-sequencing analysis, Population Genetics/omics, Comparative genomics.

For international applicants, Fluency in French is desired (but not required). 

A complete application package includes 1) a CV, 2) a short description of past research accomplishments and future goals, and 3) the names and e-mail addresses of at least 2 references. Evaluation of applications starts immediately until suitable candidates are found.

The University of Ottawa is a large, research-intensive university, hosting over 40.000 students and located in the downtown core area of Canada’s capital city (http://www.science.uottawa.ca/fac/welcome.html). Ottawa is a vibrant, multicultural city with a very high quality of life (http://www.ottawatourism.ca/fr/)Complete applications can be sent to Dr. Nicolas Corradi (ncorradiATuottawa.ca).

Representative Publications:

  1. Corradi N. and A. Brachmann. Fungal mating in the most widespread plant symbionts? Trends in Plant Sciences 2017, 22 (2), 175–183
  2. Ropars J., Kinga Sędzielewska Toro K. Noel J., Pelin A., Charron P., Farinelli L., Marton T., Krüger M., Fuchs J., Brachmann, and N. Corradi. Evidence for the sexual origin of heterokaryosis in Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi. Nature Microbiology 1(6): 16033, 2016.
  3. Corradi N. Microsporidia: Intracellular Parasites Shaped by Gene Loss and Horizontal Gene Transfer. Annual Review of Microbiology 69 (1): 167-183. 2015
  4. Pelin A., Selman M., Laurent Farinelli, Aris-Brosou and N. Corradi. Genome analyses suggest the presence of polyploidy and recent human-driven expansions in eight global populations of the honeybee pathogen Nosema ceranaeEnvironmental Microbiology 17 (11): 4443-4458, 2015.
  5. Riley R.Charron P., Idnurm A., Farinelli L., Dalpé Y., Martin F. and Corradi. Extreme Diversification of the MATA-HMG Gene Family in the Plant – Associated Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi. New Phytologist 201(1): 254–268, 2014.

Ph.D. & M.Sc. Positions – Fisheries productivity in northern boreal lakes

Enthusiastic, team oriented, and self-motivated students are encouraged to apply for a Ph.D. and MSc positions to conduct research on fisheries productivity in boreal freshwater ecosystems. This project is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between the University of Alberta, industry, government and other sponsors. The main project goals include: i) community assembly in boreal lakes, ii) modelling food-web dynamics, iii) effects of climate change on fish production, iv) determining best practices in monitoring and measuring, v) primary production in lakes, and vi) developing field based studies to determine causative relationships between age and growth and other life history characteristics in relation to differing lake environments. These research projects are fully funded and will provide key insights into how to develop habitat offsets for fisheries, a new and emerging field in restoration and conservation biology. Applicants will be under the supervision of Dr. Mark Poesch, but will interact regularly with scientists and team members in industry, provincial and federal governments.

Ph.D. applicants must have a graduate degree in Biology, Ecology, Zoology, Evolutionary Biology, or a related field. Ideally, the same would be an asset for MSc applicants. Applicant must have a high overall GPA (especially in related courses). Experience with ecological modeling, freshwater fish ecology, database management, and programming skills are considered an asset. Applicants should clearly articulate how this research will build on your existing experience, specific skills and provide a date of availability. Applicants interested in this position, please send an email to Dr. Mark Poesch (poesch(at)ualberta.ca) with a cover letter identifying research interests, CV, transcripts (unofficial accepted), writing sample, and a list of three references.

Please note review of applications will commence on May 1, 2017 and the competition will remain open until the position is filled. The ideal start date is September 1, 2017, but other arrangements (for earlier or later start dates) can be made.

The University of Alberta was recently rated as Canada’s fourth best university, and 86th across universities worldwide. Located in Alberta’s capital city, Edmonton (population of 1.2 million people), the University of Alberta provides a dynamic mixture of a large research intensive university, urban culture and recreation. More than 39,000 students from across Canada and 144 other countries participate in nearly 400 programs and 18 faculties.

Contact Information:

Dr. Mark Poesch
Assistant Professor, Conservation Ecology
University of Alberta, Department of Renewable Resources
751 General Services Building, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2H1
Ph: 780-492-4827
Email: Poesch(at)ualberta.ca
Website: www.markpoesch.com

Graduate (MSc or PhD) Student Opportunities at the University of Alberta: Response of Soil Microbial Communities to Grazing Management

Grasslands provide valuable ecosystem services such as forage, wildlife habitat, and decreased soil erosion and are responsible for storing 30% of all soil carbon. Soil microbial communities comprise a large fraction of underground biomass in grasslands and mediate ecosystem functioning by facilitating nutrient cycling and energy flow. These microbial communities are the major drivers of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling, and are responsible for associated losses from the soil system, mainly as greenhouse gases (GHGs). Specific rangeland management practices, such as adaptive multi-paddock grazing, may promote soil carbon sequestration and offset greenhouse gases produced by beef production. Grazing imposes a significant impact on grasslands by defoliating plants, altering the plant community, reducing plant litter, and changing water and nutrient cycles; repeated defoliation may favour specific grass species that alter biochemical inputs to the soil and influence soil microbial community composition.

We are looking to hire 2 to 3 motivated graduate students (MSc or PhD) to work on a project examining soil carbon storage and greenhouse gas emissions from soil microbial communities in prairie ecosystems under adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) grazing management. The students will work in grasslands throughout AB, SK and MB through a large-scale project funded through the Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Program and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Candidates should have a keen interest in studying soil microbial communities via phospholipid (PLFA) and molecular methods (DNA/RNA extractions, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), qPCR of taxonomic and functional gene and transcripts, illumina miseq amplicon library preparation, bioinformatics). Students will be supervised by Cameron Carlyle and/or Edward Bork at the University of Alberta and will work with an interdisciplinary group of researchers (range management specialists, plant ecologists, soil scientists, bio-geochemists, microbial ecologists), and individual ranchers across Canada and the USA. A large portion of research will require students to work on field sites throughout the Canadian prairies. A willingness to work extended hours while in the field is required. Experience in soil and molecular analyses are strong assets. A full (non-probationary) driver’s license is required. Students could begin as early as May 2017, but no later than September 2017. If interested, please submit a cover letter and CV detailing relevant interests and experiences to Karen Thompson at karen4@ualberta.ca.