Post-Doctoral and Graduate Student Opportunities in Conservation Genomics

EcoGenomics is a national-scale collaborative research program based in Canada and focused on caribou conservation genomics. We are currently seeking post-doctoral fellows and graduate students to participate in a large-scale project funded by Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program and aiming at developing a national non-invasive monitoring approach for caribou.

Caribou is currently one of the most significant at risk species in Canada, attributable to its widespread distribution, its potential susceptibility to climate change, and its cultural and sustenance significance to Indigenous Peoples. Caribou population monitoring based on fecal pellet collection at feeding sites in winter has been proven as an effective sampling method for non-invasive long-term population monitoring. Host genetic information along with metagenomics data for diet and health indicators from fecal samples can gather a range of parameters needed to identify factors, including changing environmental conditions, affecting caribou populations across Canada. These positions will be supported by already generated data including a large number of whole-genome sequences of caribou representing populations of different evolutionary and demographic histories, targeted caribou-specific loci for Population Genomic surveys from a long-term database of samples (estimated at 40,000 across Canada) and metagenomics data (plant and microbiome). The large-scale national network supporting these positions, under the overall direction of Dr. Paul Wilson (Trent University) and Dr. Micheline Manseau (Environment & Climate Change Canada/Trent University), include partnerships with the Canadian Forest Service, Laval University and the University of Manitoba; the National Boreal Caribou Knowledge Consortium, Parks Canada, provincial and territorial jurisdictions; wildlife management boards; and industry.

The following positions and areas of research interest are being recruited:
Post-doctoral fellow in conservation genomics (Dr. Wilson and Dr. Manseau, Trent University) with advanced experience in landscape genetics/genomics to focus on areas such as factors affecting population structure and population demographic status, adaptive potential of different caribou ecotypes and populations. This work will inform management decisions including the identification of critical habitat and protected areas, permitting of industrial activities, landscape restoration efforts, translocation or captive rearing conservation efforts.

Post-doctoral fellow in metagenomics (Dr. Christine Martineau, Canadian Forest Service and Dr. Arnaud Droit, Université Laval) with experience in developing and applying a metabarcoding approach targeting multiple taxonomic marker genes to characterize the caribou diet and microbiome in fecal pellets and relate these results to population parameters and landscape attributes. Experience with the analysis of shotgun metagenomics dataset would be an asset. This work will contribute to best practices in the design of sampling schemes for diet and microbiome surveys across caribou ranges and provide new indicators to monitor the recovery of caribou populations.

PhD students are also being recruited for questions relating to of Landscape Genomics, Spatial Structure/Network analysis, Population modelling and Adaptive Genomics.

Applicants should submit a CV, a statement of research interests, and names and contact information for three references. The positions will be filled as soon as suitable candidates are found.

Please submit applications to:
Ryan Vieira
Research Program Manager, EcoGenomics, Trent University
1600 West Bank Drive, Peterborough, ON, K9J7B8
Email: ryanvieira@trentu.ca

PhD position in terrestrial toxicology

But first, you must love mites.  We are looking for a student with an MSc, who has published a paper and is interested in pursuing their Ph.D studying terrestrial ecotoxicology. We study Oppia nitens, an oribatid mite, and now a standard toxicity test species.  Oppia as we fondly call it, is found around the world and is one of the soils most abundant invertebrates. It’s critical to numerous ecological services, its adult can live up to 15 years, but little is known about Oppia nitens. Our lab was the first one to develop the initial reference toxicity test, develop the rapid avoidance test, and now we are just finishing sequencing the genome of Oppia.

We’ve developed a new toxicity test that tracks the colour change of their cuticle as a proxy for growth from young to mature adults. We hope to use this new endpoint to assess how Oppia nitens interact with singles and mixtures of toxicants in the soil and also link their biological performance to important ecological processes in the real world.
Our lab works closely with Dr. Juliska Princz at Environment Canada and has research links throughout Europe. This opportunity will allow you to network with government and industrial agencies, as well as open the door to international collaborations as well. If you are interested in terrestrial toxicology and want to do your Ph.D in Toxicology, at one of the top environmental toxicology departments in the world, please contact Dr. Alix Conway at alix.conway@usask.ca to submit your application. In your application, please let us know what your MSc was about, provide a copy of your published paper you are most proud of, describe your experience in R/python, as well as why you are interested in soil terrestrial toxicology. 

Doctorat en prévision écologique de la dynamique de la végétation dans les Territoires du Nord-Ouest, Canada

Un poste de doctorat de 3 ans est disponible au laboratoire de Steve Cumming à l’Université Laval à Québec. Le poste, entièrement financé par Polar Knowledge Canada, est offert grâce à une collaboration entre les laboratoires Cumming, Baltzer, McIntire et Turetsky ainsi que NASA Arctic–Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE). L’objectif du projet est de développer des prévisions spatialement explicites de la distribution et de l’abondance des lichens terrestres et autres plantes fourragères, en tenant compte des changements du climat, du régime des feux et du pergélisol. Les applications de ce projet incluent la conservation et la gestion du caribou des bois et de la forêt boréale ainsi que l’évaluation de la sécurité alimentaire humaine. D’autres membres de cette équipe interdisciplinaire appliquent des méthodes de mise à l’échelle statistique pour modéliser la distribution de ces plantes à partir de données de parcelles de végétation et d’images télédétectées. Le candidat ou la candidate retenu a) intégrera ces modèles statistiques dans des outils de simulation spatiale; b) élaborera en collaboration des scénarios de gestion et des indicateurs écologiques / économiques; et c) évaluera ces scénarios par expérience de simulation. Le candidat ou la candidate peut également contribuer à la modélisation statistique et aux projets associés. Les modèles de prévision seront mis en oeuvre dans SpaDES, une nouvelle suite de progiciels R pour la simulation spatiale et la science reproductible, qui est maintenant largement appliquée à travers le Canada.

Les qualifications essentielles sont de bonnes compétences quantitatives et un intérêt pour la simulation spatiale, indépendamment du contexte disciplinaire. La maîtrise de la communication écrite en anglais est également essentielle. Une expérience en programmation, notamment en R, sera évidemment un atout, mais les compétences nécessaires peuvent être acquises grâce à des cours et des ateliers. L’étudiant ou l’étudiante sera également encouragé à passer au moins une session avec le Dr McIntire et l’équipe de développement SpaDES au Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria, C.-B. (les frais de déplacement seront couverts).

Le poste doit commencer le 1er septembre 2021. Plus tôt, et si la pandémie le permet, le candidat ou la candidate retenu participera également à la saison sur le terrain cet été, de juin à août, dans les Territoires du Nord-Ouest. Les candidats et candidates doivent soumettre une brève déclaration d’intérêt, un échantillon de leur rédaction scientifique, un CV à jour et les noms de trois références à Steve Cumming par courrier électronique avant le 30 mars.

Un soutien pour les frais de déménagement est disponible.

Steve Cumming
Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt,
Université Laval
Centre d’étude de la forêt

PhD opportunity: species distribution and abundance models of Canadian owls

A PhD position, with three years partial NSERC funding, is available in the Cumming lab at Laval University, Québec City. The position will be instrumental to a new collaboration between two long-standing Canadian research groups in avian ecology, the Boreal Avian Modelling Project and Birds Canada, and researchers in the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Using a new compilation of long-term nocturnal owl survey data from across Canada, the successful applicant will develop species distribution models to explain and predict the occupancy or density of owl species within the Canadian boreal region, and to estimate their total population sizes. Examples of the statistical techniques we have previously used for forest songbirds and waterfowl can be consulted here and here. The applications are to avian conservation and population assessment in Canada’s managed forest lands. Depending on the interests of the applicant, the thesis could also include elements of spatial simulation and forecasting e.g. of owl responses to climate change, or of population ecology.

The critical qualifications are strong quantitative skills coupled with an interest in avian ecology and conservation in general, independent of disciplinary background. Proficient written communication in English is desirable. This is a lab-based position, but there will be opportunities to take part in nocturnal owl surveys in Québec and/or Ontario. The student will be encouraged to spend a term with Dr. Danielle Ethier at the Birds Canada National Headquarters in Port Rowan, Ontario (expenses will be paid).

The position begins September 1st, 2021. Applicants should submit a short statement of interest, a sample of their scientific writing, a current CV, and names of three referees to the undersigned, by email. Applications received by March 15th will receive full consideration.

Support for relocation expenses is available to qualified applicants

Steve Cumming
Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt,
Université Laval
Centre d’études de la forêt

Danielle Ethier
Birds Canada
Port Rowan, Ontario.

Philip Dewit
Wildlife Monitoring Program Lead
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Projet de doctorat en écologie animale à l’Université Laval, Québec, Canada – Date limite pour soumettre sa candidature: 28 février 2021

Dans le cadre des travaux du partenariat de recherche sur les relations Tique-
Orignal-Climat (www.albipictus.com), nous sommes à la recherche d’un(e)
candidat(e) intéressé(e) à entreprendre des études de doctorat dans le
domaine de l’écologie animale.

Plus précisément, il s’agit d’un projet sur les interactions spatio-temporelles
de l’orignal (Alces alces) et de la tique d’hiver (Dermacentor albipictus) et la
susceptibilité des orignaux aux infestations par la tique d’hiver.

Problématique : Les connaissances sur les changements dans la sélection de
l’habitat et le budget d’activité des orignaux en lien avec le degré
d’infestation par la tique sont essentielles pour étudier les mécanismes
comportementaux susceptibles d’affecter le recrutement et la survie de l’orignal.
La réutilisation des mêmes sites par l’orignal au printemps, lorsque la tique adulte
quitte son hôte, et à l’automne, lorsque la larve cherche un hôte à coloniser,
pourrait favoriser le développement des épizooties. Certains aménagements
forestiers pourraient favoriser la tique en multipliant les habitats propices à ce
parasite et en y concentrant les orignaux.

Principaux objectifs : 1) évaluer le budget d’activité et la sélection de l’habitat de l’orignal en fonction de la charge de tiques, 2) évaluer la sélection de l’habitat par la tique d’hiver, et 3) déterminer les conditions qui favorisent la cooccurrence de l’orignal et de la tique d’hiver.

Directeur : Steeve Côté (Département de biologie, U. Laval) ; Co-directeurs : Christian Dussault (Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs) et Joe Nocera (Département de la foresterie et de la gestion environnementale U. du Nouveau-Brunswick)
Début : Mai ou Septembre 2021
Financement : Bourse de 24 000$/an pendant 3 ans (MITACS) et une année supplémentaire à 21 000$/an (CRSNG)
disponibles

Compétences recherchées :

  • Posséder un très bon dossier académique ;
  • Avoir de l’expérience en écologie animale et analyses spatiales ;
  • Posséder des aptitudes et de l’intérêt pour l’analyse statistique de bases de données volumineuses et l’épidémiologie ;
  • Être rigoureux, autonome et avoir des aptitudes pour la communication orale et écrite ;
  • Bonne connaissance des langues française et anglaise ;
  • Avoir déjà publié au moins un article scientifique comme premier auteur dans une revue avec comité de lecture.

Pour soumettre votre candidature, veuillez faire parvenir une lettre de présentation expliquant brièvement vos intérêts, un cv et une copie de vos relevés de notes universitaires accompagnés des coordonnées de trois références avant le 28 février 2021 à :
Steeve Côté, Département de biologie, Université Laval, Québec (Québec) Canada
steeve.cote@bio.ulaval.ca; (418) 656-2131 poste 403490

Graduate student opportunities in Ecosystem Ecology and Conservation Biology at Memorial University 

The Ecosystem Ecology Lab at Memorial University of Newfoundland is recruiting graduate (MSc and/or PhD) students to study the impacts of animals on ecosystem functioning at local and regional extents with implications for natural resource management and conservation. Specifically, we are looking for students that are interested in one or more of the following key research themes: spatial ecosystem ecology, food web ecology, zoogeochemistry, animal ecology, biogeography, restoration ecology, and conservation planning. Our lab is actively developing and testing theories at the intersection of these themes using moose (Alces alces), spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), and boreal ecosystems as case studies. Our group integrates mathematical modelling, field experiments and observations, and big data synthesis. We are particularly interested in candidates that have or wish to develop quantitative skills in mathematical modelling, big data analysis, and spatial analysis (e.g., GIS). Please visit our lab website to learn more about our research (http://shawnleroux.wixsite.com/lerouxlab).

A major strength of our lab lies in our diversity which includes BSc, MSc, PhD, and post-docs with varied interests and backgrounds. Research questions range from the impacts of animals on ecosystem elemental cycling to the drivers of the spatial distribution of terrestrial, freshwater and marine food webs and ecosystems. We work closely with diverse partners to use scientific evidence to inform environmental policy. Our lab fosters a supportive environment and values work-life balance. More broadly, Memorial hosts a diverse and engaging group of scientists studying ecology and evolution in the departments of Biology, Psychology, Geography, and Ocean Sciences. Departmental and inter-departmental events include regular discussions, workshops, and seminars from invited speakers. These intra-and inter-lab events encourage an important cross-fertilization of emerging ideas in ecology and evolution and exciting opportunities for collaboration.

Memorial is the largest university in Atlantic Canada with ~19,000 students (~3,200 graduate students). The Department of Biology at Memorial has ~25 faculty and ~60 graduate students. You can find out more about the department, graduate studies application procedures and funding at: http://www.mun.ca/biology/graduate/. The positions come with a guaranteed stipend.

We value equity, diversity, and inclusion and we encourage all interested applicants to apply. We will evaluate applications as we receive them until the positions are filled. Please email your application to Shawn Leroux (sleroux@mun.ca).

Graduate student positions – integrative ecology of white-footed mice

Graduate-level applications are being accepted for the Functional Ecology lab at the University of Ottawa, Ontario. We are seeking graduate students interested to work at the interface of eco-physiology, animal behaviour, and quantitative genetics. In addition to being involved in cutting-edge research, students will learn techniques in field ecology, animal capture and manipulation, metabolic and behavioural sampling, multivariate statistics, and scientific communication. The project is part of a study on white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) conducted at the Queen’s University Biological Station. We use nest boxes and traps to quantify relatedness, reproductive success, and survival in hundreds of individuals. Each mouse is temporarily brought back to a laboratory where we measure a variety of metabolic, behavioural, and performance traits. The project will exploit data collected since summer 2016 which, in addition to those collected by the students during the summers of 2021 and 2022, will be used to study the causes and consequences of individual variation in survival (modeling of trapping data), home range (telemetry tracking), agility (performance tests), anti-predator behavior (personality tests), and cost of locomotion (respirometry). The exact topic will be suited to match the level (MSc or PhD), interests, and skills of the student. Interested students should visit the Functional Ecology lab webpage (see the “join the lab” page) for more information why and how to apply (http://vincentcareau.weebly.com/)