Graduate student positions – Laurentian University

Our research lab is looking for three new graduate students, all funded.

PhD student – We are looking for a PhD student to work on questions related to the microbiome and captive populations, particularly endangered species of mammals. Funding for the student’s stipend is provided by the NSERC CREATE training program ReNewZoo (http://renewzoo.ca), and the project is a collaboration with Dr. Gabriela Mastromonaco at the Toronto Zoo. ReNewZoo is a training program for graduate students that involves a research thesis, internships at a zoo/aquarium, and a specialized on-line course. Students earn a certificate in Zoo Conservation recognized by Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA).

MSc student – As part of a long-term small mammal-monitoring program in Alqonquin Provincial Park, we are seeking an MSc student to test hypotheses related to host-parasite interactions (fleas and their rodent hosts). Funding for the student’s stipend is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF). The project is in collaboration with Dr. Jeff Bowman, Research Scientist at OMNRF.

MSc/PhD student – We have been investigating the evolutionary and physiological ecology of urban mammals, and are looking for a graduate student to continue this work. We have used eastern chipmunks and raccoons to examine phenotypic differences between wild and urban populations. Funding provided by the Canada Research Chair in Applied Evolutionary Ecology.

Our lab (http://appliedevoeco.org) is a dynamic group that is part of the Centre for Evolutionary Ecology and Ethical Conservation (CEEEC – http://ceeec.ca) at Laurentian University. Our students benefit from a highly collaborative atmosphere, where graduate students will integrate their own work with other researchers, both at Laurentian and beyond. We work on questions of both applied and theoretical interest, mostly on mammals.

Please contact Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde (aschultehostedde@laurentian.ca) if interested.

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Ph. D. position with Jeff Houlahan’s lab in the Department of Biological Sciences/The Canadian Rivers Institute, University of New Brunswick Saint John (UNB Saint John). Application deadline: 1 July, 2017.

The Houlahan lab is looking for a Ph.D. student interested in fundamental questions in population and/or community ecology to begin in the fall of 2017 (although later start dates could be negotiated). We are happy to hear from students with a wide range of interests – some examples of topics include (i) the relationship between diversity and stability, (ii) the relative importance of density dependent effects on population dynamics, and (iii) the stability of competitive hierarchies in nature but we are less concerned about the question than the approach. The approach would involve developing theoretical and/or statistical models that would then be tested on new data (see Houlahan et al. 2017 in Oikos) to assess the predictive ability of those models and how predictive ability changes over time and space. The successful applicant will have strong quantitative skills, and more particularly, be somebody who is comfortable analyzing data and modeling in something like R or Python. Students will have an opportunity to improve their analytical and modeling skills, become better grounded in basic ecology theory, and improve writing, logical thinking and problem-solving abilities. We are interested in ecology, environmental science, computer science and/or mathematics students. Funding of at least $21,000/year is guaranteed for 4 years and comes from TA’ships, RA’ships and scholarships.

The University of New Brunswick is a comprehensive university with campuses in Saint John and Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada with approximately 10,000 students. The Houlahan lab is part of the Department of Biological Sciences and The Canadian Rivers Institute at the Saint John campus. This is a vibrant department with a focus on aquatic and marine biology and more than 50 graduate students. Saint John is a small (pop – 68,000) attractive, coastal city in southern New Brunswick.

If you are interested in the position drop me a note at jeffhoul@unb.ca and attach your cv, transcripts (unofficial or official) and 3 references with contact info.

Expiry date: July 1, 2017.

Fully funded MSc Position: Modeling post-fire forest cover by linking species traits with fire severity

A fully funded MSc position with Dr. Azim Mallik in the Department of Biology, Lakehead University is available examining the changes in forest cover type after wildfires and prescribed burning in Pakaskwa National Park. This will be achieved by linking fire survival and regeneration traits of dominant species with fire severity. The research project is supported by the Parks Canada. The student will work closely with another MSc student performing experimental work on abiotic trait filtering by different levels of fire severity leading forest composition change. I am looking for an HBSc Forestry, Biology or Geography graduate with experience in remote sensing and GIS and interest in modeling plant regeneration traits with habitat conditions. You will link environmental variables created by high and low severity fires with species traits and predict changes in species composition.

Salary/stipend: Up to CND$25,000 per year for two years including GA

Requirements

– A thesis based (research) BSc. degree in Biology/Forestry/Geography with experience in GIS and remote sensing.
– Experience in managing and analyzing large plant and environmental data sets.
– Experience and/or willingness to learn about climate change models and use of plant traits and fire severity to predict forest cover change by climate change scenario analysis.

Apply asap via e-mail to Dr. Azim Mallik (amallik@lakeheadu.ca) with

i)  a cover letter describing your background and research experience

ii)  an up-to-date CV,

iii)  unofficial transcript(s),

iv)  example(s) of your writing (e.g. extract from your thesis, or a class project).

Graduate Student Opportunity in Evolutionary Ecology at the University of Pittsburgh

The Turcotte Lab at the University of Pittsburgh is looking for PhD students to experimentally test the dynamic interplay between rapid evolution and community ecology in the field. Using various plant and insect study systems and complementary approaches, including experimental evolution, modeling, and genetic analyses, we test cutting-edge hypotheses in Evolutionary Ecology. We are especially interested in testing how rapid phenotypic changes, both plastic and evolutionary, impact concurrent ecological dynamics and species interactions. The aim of the lab is to disentangle and quantify how ecological and evolutionary processes reciprocally impact each other and understand their importance in nature.

Please visit the lab webpage for more information www.martinturcotte.net

I am also presenting at CSEE 2017. If you would like to meet please send me an email (turcotte@pitt.edu).

The University of Pittsburgh is a leading research university and the Department of Biological Sciences is a dynamic and growing team of enthusiastic researchers and educators. The department also runs the Pymatuning Lab of Ecology, which is equipped with lab space and housing to facilitate field-based research in northwestern Pennsylvania. The City of Pittsburgh is a vibrant and beautiful place to live (info). It is often voted the ‘Most Livable city in the U.S.’ (info). All graduate students in the department are provided with a competitive stipend and benefits for 5 years through a combination of fellowships, TAships, and research assistantships. Although funding from the lab itself is available, I expect all prospective students to apply for external funding.

Prospective students should email me turcotte@pitt.edu with a short paragraph stating why you are interested in the lab and describe your past research experience. Please include your C.V., any publications, and contact information for a few references.

Mart

Graduate Research Opportunities in Adaptation Across Species’ Ranges

We are recruiting two graduate students (MSc or PhD) to work on the ecology and genetics of adaptation and geographic range limits in flowering plants endemic to the wonderful Pacific coastal dunes of California and adjacent Oregon and Baja California. The students would be co-supervised by Chris Eckert (Queen’s U) and Karen Samis (U Prince Edward Island) and based in the Biology Department at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Our research programs provide opportunities for diverse graduate student projects, and PhD students, especially, are encouraged to develop their own research directions. Here are some examples:

(1) Using experimental evolution to investigate constraints on adaptation at and beyond geographical range limits.
(2) Contribution of hybridization to adaptation across geographic ranges.
(3) Does geographic variation in metapopulation dynamics yield stable range limits?
(4) Reproductive isolation during diversification of the mating system and life history across species’ ranges.

All projects will involve considerable field work in California, Oregon and Mexico, field experiments and genomic analyses.

Here’s some background reading:

Samis, K.E., A. López-Villalobos & C.G. Eckert. 2016. Strong genetic differentiation but not local adaptation toward the range limit of a coastal dune plant. Evolution doi: 10.1111/evo.13047
Hargreaves, A.L., K.E. Samis and C.G. Eckert. 2014. Are species’ range limits simply niche limits writ large? A review of transplant experiments beyond the range. American Naturalist 183: 157–173.
Samis, K.E. and C.G. Eckert. 2009. Ecological correlates of fitness across the northern geographic range limit of a pacific coast dune plant. Ecology 90: 3051–3061.
Eckert, C.G., K.E. Samis & S.C. Lougheed. 2008. Genetic variation across species’ geographic ranges: the central-marginal hypothesis and beyond. Molecular Ecology 17: 1170-1188.
Darling, E., K.E. Samis & C.G. Eckert. 2008. Increased seed dispersal potential towards geographic range limits in a Pacific coast dune plant. New Phytologist 178: 424-435.
Samis, K.E. & C.G. Eckert. 2007. Testing the abundant center model using range-wide demographic surveys of two coastal dune plants. Ecology 88: 1747–1758.

For more details and recent publications, please check out our web sites:
http://post.queensu.ca/~eckertc/Eckert_Lab/
http://people.upei.ca/ksamis/Samis_Homepage/

The Biology Department at Queen’s University (https://biology.queensu.ca) includes active research groups in diverse areas, including plant ecology & evolution, behavioural ecology, molecular population genetics & systematics, paleolimnology, and plant physiology & molecular biology. Our large community of graduate students provides a stimulating & friendly academic environment. Graduate students are guaranteed financial support of $22,000/year from scholarships, research stipends & teaching assistantships (2 years for an MSc, 4 years for a PhD, https://biology.queensu.ca/academics/graduate/).

The position is open to all students who are Canadian citizens. Acceptance of international students is contingent on successful application for a tuition waiver or independent funding to cover foreign student tuition fees.

If you are interested, please send a CV and contact information for at least 2 academic references plus a covering letter.

Informal inquiries are also welcome.

Dr. Christopher G. Eckert        and      Dr. Karen Samis
chris.eckert@queensu.ca                   ksamis@upei.ca

PhD POSITION IN FOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT

We are seeking an enthusiastic candidate to undertake a PhD in ecosystem modelling to compare the long-term and large-scale impact of even and uneven-aged management on forest sustainability

Project summary: Uneven-aged management (i.e. partial logging) is gaining strong public support due to numerous finding showing that in the first few years following logging, at the stand scale, it provides more habitat for biodiversity, store more carbon, and are better for recreational and touristic purposes than are even-aged management (i.e. clearcuts). However, few studies have examined the large-scale, long-term effects of uneven-aged management on forest sustainability. Because uneven-aged management practices usually require the construction of more roads they may also lead, on large spatial and temporal scales, to increase forest loss and fragmentation, as well as carbon emission. As part of this project, the student will use a spatially explicit model of forest dynamics to investigate the impact of harvesting strategies with different levels of retention and spatial distributions on available wood volume, road construction and landscape connectivity for biodiversity.

The candidate will enroll in PhD program in biology or environmental sciences at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and will join the Center for Forest Research under the supervision of Élise Filotas (TÉLUQ) and Christian Messier (UQAM-UQO).
Starting date: summer 2017 or fall 2017.

Stipend: 20,000$/year for 3 years.

Expertise/ Profile required

  •   MSc in biological sciences or related discipline *AND* good knowledge and skills in computer modelling and quantitative analysis.OR

    MSc in mathematics, physics or computer science *AND* a high motivation to learn forest ecology.

  •   Familiar with computer programming (R, matlab, C or python).
  •   Independent, rigorous and excellent skills in analysis and problem solving.
  •   Be able to work and write in French and English (or motivation to do so).Applicants should provide a copy of their CV and transcripts, a short motivation letter (max 1 page), and the contact information of two referees to: elise.filotas@teluq.ca. Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

MASTER’S POSITION IN THEORETICAL COMMUNITY ECOLOGY

We are seeking an enthusiastic candidate with a strong academic record to undertake a master’s research project on the effect of landscape connectivity on the diversity and trophic structure of forest ecological communities.

Project summary: Anthropogenic transformations of landscapes impact ecological community in complex ways. Understanding the relationship between spatial and temporal biodiversity patterns and the processes of habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation constitutes an important challenge for preserving the functioning and structure of forest ecological communities. As part of this project, the student will be in responsible for developing a dynamical model to study the influence of habitat connectivity and species dispersal on diversity and trophic structure within forest metacommunities.

The candidate will enroll in the Master’s program in biology and will join the Center for Forest Research under the supervision of Élise Filotas (TÉLUQ) and Daniel Kneeshaw (UQAM).
Starting date: summer 2017 or fall 2017.
Stipend: 15,000$/year for 2 years.

Expertise/ Profile required

  •   BSc in biological sciences or related disciplines *AND* good knowledge and skills in modelling and quantitative analysis.

    OR

    BSc in mathematics or physics *AND* a high motivation to learn community ecology.

  •   Familiar with computer programming (R, matlab, C or python).
  •   Independent, rigorous and excellent skills in analysis and problem solving.
  •   Be able to work and write in French and English (or motivation to do so).

    Applicants should provide a copy of their CV and transcripts, a short motivation letter (max 1 page), and the contact information of two referees to: elise.filotas@teluq.ca. Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

FUNDED PHD OR MSC POSITION AVAILABLE AT CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY: THE DYNAMICS OF SMALL, PERSISTING POPULATIONS

We are seeking a dynamic student to investigate a significant yet understudied aspect of conservation biology: mechanisms that may allow some small, isolated populations to persist in the face of environmental change. Core topics on natural fish populations would include:

(i) Effectiveness of purging of inbreeding depression

(ii) Epigenetic maintenance of genetic diversity via DNA methylation

(iii) Population persistence  despite maladaptation

This is a collaborative research project between Dr. Dylan Fraser (Concordia U.) and Dr. Louis Bernatchez (Laval U.) with funding for 4 years (PhD) or 2 years (MSc). Stationed out of Concordia U. (Montreal) with additional research training at Laval U. (Quebec City), the student will benefit from the expertise of two leading conservation genetics laboratories. The student will conduct field, common-garden and genomic work on a series of small, isolated brook trout populations from Cape Race, Newfoundland. Interested candidates should have: a keen interest and background in conservation genetics and genomics, quantitative skills (e.g. R stats), effective oral and written communication, and autonomy; experience with fish husbandry is an asset. Speaking French is not required but is encouraged. The start date is May 2017.

Interested applicants should send (electronically) a cover letter, CV, unofficial transcripts and the names of two academic or research references to:

Dylan Fraser, Associate Professor
Department of Biology, Concordia University
Email: dylan.fraser@concordia.ca
Tel: (514) 848-2424 ex. 8729
Lab website: www.dylanfraser.com

FOUR FUNDED PHD AND MSC POSITIONS AVAILABLE AT THREE CANADIAN UNIVERSITIES (CONCORDIA, CALGARY, UQAM): THE GENE-TO-ECOSYSTEM CONSEQUENCES OF FISHERIES-INDUCED EVOLUTION

We are seeking highly motivated PhD and MSc students to investigate the eco-evolutionary consequences of different harvesting practices in natural fish populations, from genes to ecosystems. This is an unprecedented opportunity to conduct experimentally-replicated depletion of natural populations of a socio-economically important fish (brook trout) in closed ecosystems where the species is invasive and the target of removal efforts, in exceptionally beautiful places (Rocky mountain alpine lakes). The research offers an outstanding opportunity for student training in applied conservation and fisheries science research as a collaborative NSERC Strategic Project between three universities (Concordia University, UQAM, Calgary), Parks Canada, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and Fisheries & Oceans Canada. The four student projects (*location) are:

Project1 (PhD): Does FIE affect population-productivity relationships? (Calgary)
Project2 (PhD): Does FIE cause genomic changes to functional phenotypes?(Concordia or Calgary)
Project 3 (MSc): What are long-term population genomic consequences of FIE? (Concordia or Calgary)
Project 4 (PhD): Does FIE alter ecosystem functioning linked to fisheries productivity? (UQAM)

Applicants should be team-oriented, autonomous, and have demonstrated oral/written communication skills and quantitative skills (e.g. R stats). Applicants should also have a keen interest and/or background in evolutionary ecology (project 1), conservation genetics/genomics (projects 2,3) or aquatic community and ecosystem ecology (project 4). Field experience is an asset for all projects; french is not required but is encouraged for projects based at Concordia/UQAM. The project start date is May 2017.

Interested applicants should send (electronically) a cover letter, CV, unofficial transcripts and the names of two references to Dylan Fraser, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Concordia University; Email: dylan.fraser@concordia.ca, Tel: (514) 848-2424 ex. 8729. Lab website: http://www.dylanfraser.com

Other professors involved in this research:

John Post, Professor Email: jrpost@ucalgary.ca
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Calgary
http://bio.ucalgary.ca/bio_info/profiles/john-robert-post

Sean Rogers, Associate Professor Email: srogers@ucalgary.ca
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Calgary
Lab website: http://people.ucalgary.ca/~srogers/

Alison Derry, Associate Professor Email: derry.alison@uqam.ca
Département des sciences biologiques, UQAM
Lab website: http://aquaticecoevo.uqam.ca/English/Homepage.html
http://aquaticecoevo.uqam.ca/Francais/Bienvenue.html

Graduate Research Opportunities in Tree Improvement, University of Alberta

Seedlings produced from tree improvement programs in Alberta currently account for ~15% of all reforestation in Alberta. Erosion of the forested land base through expansion of the energy sector, agricultural and urban development combined with climate change, signals an increasing demand for fast growing, well-adapted trees. The main goal of this research is to fill knowledge gaps in both hardwood and softwood tree improvement programs needed to, for example, support the selection of parent trees for seed orchards, develop clonal deployment standards, and assist with integration of genetic gain into operational growth and yield models. Ultimately, the findings from this research will provide industry and the Alberta government with the information required to make science-based decisions in their operational programs and also assist with both economic and policy decisions.

Students will collaborate and learn from scientists, professional foresters and government officials from various organizations including Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Weyerhaeuser Canada, West Fraser Mills Ltd., and more.

Project 1: Understanding patterns and mechanisms driving clone size and gender performance in trembling aspen in Alberta (PhD)

I am seeking a highly motivated PhD student who is interested in genetics, ecology, ecophysiology and their interaction on the landscape. The goal of this project is to describe the patterns of aspen clone size and gender distribution in active aspen forest management regions in Alberta, while also using genetic markers to understand recent declines in aspen health due to drought.

Qualifications:

  • A background in forestry, ecology, quantitative genetics, or plant physiology is an asset.
  • Familiarity with an IRGA or other ecophysiological equipment would also be an asset.
  • Preference will be given to Canadian students with experience in field work and must have a class 5 driver’s licence.

Funding: This project is fully funded ($22000 – $24000/year) through an industrial research program for 3-years with additional scholarship funds available with a GPA of 3.7 or greater.

Start date: Summer or Fall 2017

Project 2: Parental selection and assessing the potential impacts of elite breeding in white spruce (PhD)

I am seeking a highly motivated PhD student to test the hypothesis that gene expression of gibberellic acid in seedlings can be used as an indicator of trees with superior growth characteristics. Faster growing parents will be selected based on growth data and physiological markers for gibberellic acid and gene expression based on greenhouse trials. With identification of elite parents, an advanced breeding strategy will be designed and implemented using tools such as a differential evolution algorithm developed from animal breeding.

Qualifications:

  • Previous degree in forest genetics or related field and familiarity with ecophysiology.
  • An advanced understanding of breeding strategies will be needed to undertake exploration of an elite breeding strategy approach in white spruce using a differential evolution algorithm developed for animal breeding.
  • Preference will be given to Canadian students with experience in field work, tree breeding and must have a class 5 driver’s licence.

Funding: This project is fully funded ($22000 – $24000/year) through an industrial research program for 3.5 years with additional scholarship funds available with a GPA of 3.7 or greater.

Start date: Summer or Fall 2017

Project 3: Flower induction in a lodgepole pine seed orchard (MSc or 1-year PDF)

Seeking a highly motivated MSc student (2-years) or a PDF (1-year) to complete a project initiated in summer 2015. This project aims at understanding the mechanisms underlying the unprecedented loss of conebuds in one of Alberta’s key lodgepole pine seed orchards. A gibberellic acid flower induction treatment was applied in the summer of 2015 with considerable data already collected including 2-years of cone and seed harvest, and conelet abortion counts on ~ 320 trees.

Qualifications:

  • Familiarity with forest genetics, conifer breeding and plant physiology with a strong interest in seed and cone development would be an asset.
  • Preference will be given to Canadian students with experience in field work, tree breeding and must have a class 5 driver’s licence.

Funding: This project is fully funded ($22000 MSc/year, $44000 PDF, 1-year) through an industrial research program with additional scholarship funds available with a GPA of 3.7 or greater for an MSc student.

Start date: Immediate

Project 4: Evaluation of early establishment growth and survival in genetic realized gain trials of spruce and pine.

We are seeking a field-oriented MSc student to work with industry and provincial government partners in studying results from newly established genetic realized gain trials associated with several provincial tree improvement programs. After initial establishment, the student will measure and assess paired plots of improved and unimproved seedlots planted on operational reforestation sites throughout Alberta.

Qualifications:

  • Preference will be given to Canadian students with a background in forestry and experience in field work and tree breeding an asset. The student must have a class 5 driver’s licence.

Funding: This project is fully funded ($22000 – $24000) through a FRIAA funded project for 2-years with additional scholarship funds available with a GPA of 3.7 or greater.

Start date: Summer or Fall 2017

To apply for any of the above positions: please send 1) a brief letter stating your interest, 2) your curriculum vitae, and 3) the names of two references to Barb Thomas (bthomas@ualberta.ca) and CC: Morgan Randall (mrandall@ualberta.ca). Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Informal inquiries to gain more information about the positions are also welcome.

Barb Thomas
Associate Professor
NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Tree Improvement
Chair, Resilient Forests (RES-FOR): Genome Canada LSARP
University of Alberta, Department of Renewable Resources
442 Earth Sciences Building, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – T6G 2E3
Ph: 780-492-8016 – Fx: 780-492-1767
Email: bthomas@ualberta.ca
http://people.ales.ualberta.ca/barbthomas