PhD, MSc, and potential PDF positions in ecology at University of Ottawa

The Conservation and Macroecology research group at University of Ottawa, led by Jeremy Kerr, is offering fully funded PhD (preferred) and MSc positions to address questions related to how habitat and climate changes interact with species’ traits to alter the structure of butterfly and bumblebee communities across environmental gradients. This work includes collaborative opportunities with national and international research leaders and for interactions with policy processes uniquely available in Ottawa. Postdoctoral (PDF) applications will also be considered.

Research will integrate field research with broad-scale (macroecological) models. Projects include opportunities for advances in conservation biology, global change biology, integrating understanding from evolutionary ecology. Projects will fall within the scope of Kerr’s research program ( and are supported by an NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement.

Our research group embraces diversity and we maintain a welcoming and enriching atmosphere in all aspects of our work. Current and past lab members have enjoyed outstanding successes, finding careers in the professoriate, research scientists, and as conservationists.

Successful applicants will possess strong written and oral communication skills, have skills with R or a strong motivation to learn those skills, excellent capacity to work collegially and supportively with all members of the research group, and an interest in combining field research on butterflies and/or bumblebees and macroecological analyses. Applicants with interests in both pure and applied conservation questions are particularly welcome.

Ottawa is one of Canada’s most exciting and beautiful cities, with exceptional cultural and outdoor activities throughout the year.

For graduate students, preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. We will begin considering applications on June 26 and will continue doing so until all positions are filled. We are looking for successful applicants to begin as soon as possible.

Send electronic applications, including a brief and informative cover letter, CV, transcript copies (official or unofficial), and the names of two references to Jeremy Kerr (






A two-year postdoctoral fellow or term research biologist position is available to develop a quantitative stock-wide assessment of American Eel, funded by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ (DFO) International Governance Strategy. The research will be undertaken under the joint supervision of Dr. Xinhua Zhu of DFO’s Central and Arctic Region (Winnipeg, Manitoba), and Dr. David Cairns of DFO’s Gulf Region (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island), along with academic collaborators from the University of British Columbia and Acadia University.


The American Eel consists of a single panmictic stock that occupies the West Atlantic Ocean and inflowing waters between Greenland and northern South America. Because of its status as a single stock, assessments should be conducted range-wide. However, both science and management of the American Eel are currently geographically fragmented. Challenges to building an adequate pan-species assessment methodology include the presence of fisheries in some areas and their absence in others, a diverse array of non-fisheries population impactors (e.g. barriers to river migration, invasive parasites, toxic contaminants), and demographic parameters which are highly variable, but poorly known or unknown in large parts of the stock area.


The goal of this project is to construct a workable assessment framework for the American Eel stock. This will involve integration of fisheries-oriented assessment techniques with approaches that address unfished subpopulations and non-fisheries threats, to produce a species-wide understanding of American Eel population dynamics and status. The work will involve, but not be limited to, the application of existing statistical tools to integrate metadata, standardization of abundance and biomass against a set of associated biological, ecological and geographic variables, and geostatistical assessment of the habitat-oriented dependence of spatial distribution of abundance and biomass. The work will require testing the suitability and performance of a variety of conventional or Bayesian statistical toolboxes. Given the collaborative nature of this project, travel will be required to consult and communicate research progress with partners within Canada. This project will also very likely involve some international travel to benefit from recent progress on similar work in other jurisdictions (e.g. Europe and New Zealand). Additionally, through this process, we anticipate the development of collaborative partnerships with academic and government biologists from the US and the Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean Region, which might facilitate the implementation of range-wide assessment methodologies. 


Applicants will hold a PhD degree and have demonstrated expertise in advanced statistical modeling, computational analysis, and scientific programming. The successful candidate will be expected to conduct independent research and to collaborate effectively with academic and government scientists. The successful candidate will possess excellent verbal and written communication skills in English. Verbal and written communication skills in Spanish and/or French are assets.  Successful candidates will also have a proven capacity to publish in peer-reviewed journals.  


Salary: $55,000 CAD per annum.

Duration: 2 years with the possibility of extending if additional funding is available

Start date: preferably in the summer of 2017 but a start date in the fall 2017 is possible

Location: There is some flexibility with respect to the location but the candidate will be required to work at one of DFO’s science laboratories.


To apply, please send a brief cover letter summarizing your qualifications for the position, update curriculum vitae, and contact information of three references to Xinhua Zhu ( and David Cairns ( Applications will be considered immediately, and until the position is filled.

Post-doctoral Visiting Fellowship Opportunity on Recovery Strategies for Depleted Populations of Pacific Salmon

Canadian Government Laboratory Visiting Fellow program


We are seeking a Visiting Fellow to lead a research project on evaluating recovery strategies for depleted populations of Pacific salmon with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). The Principal Investigators of the project are Dr. Carrie Holt (PBS), Kendra Holt (IOS) and Ann-Marie Huang (Annacis Island); key collaborators include representation from DFO Science and Fisheries Management: Mike Hawkshaw, Jeff Grout, Sarah Hawkshaw, and Robyn Forrest.


Our goal is to create a framework for developing recovery plans for Pacific salmon that evaluates trade-offs between conservation objectives and other fisheries management objectives. Within Canada, there are approximately 450 Conservation Units (CUs) of Pacific salmon, of which a large proportion have been assessed or are expected to be assessed with poor status below conservation thresholds. However, progress on implementing recovery strategies has been limited by a lack of tools to evaluate management actions. Our specific objectives are to identify management approaches (e.g., target exploitation rates, harvest control rules) to achieve recovery, and develop tools to identify CU-specific management actions. This will include exploring how to achieve targets in the context of multiple mixed-stock fisheries. The successful candidate will develop a simulation model within a Management Strategy Evaluation, MSE, context to evaluate a range of management strategies for achieving recovery and will consider environmental forcing of population dynamics that may impact productivity and confound recovery efforts. The project will work closely with fisheries management to link tool development with priorities for decision-making through a series of meetings and workshops.


Applicants must have completed a PhD in fisheries science or a related discipline within the past five years. Experience using R programming language is essential. Candidates with experience in simulation modelling of population dynamics on marine fish species and evaluating impacts on fisheries and management will be given priority. Successful candidates will have a proven capacity to publish in peer-reviewed journals. Those who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada must satisfy Canadian immigration requirements.

LOCATION OF TENURE FLEXIBLE: Pacific Biological Station (PBS), Nanaimo, BC; Institute of Ocean Sciences (IOS), Sidney, BC; or Annacis Island, Delta, BC. The west coast of Canada, and Vancouver Island in particular, is well known for its rainforests, beaches, and mountains. It is a destination for kayaking, hiking, surfing, skiing, diving, biking and camping.


This fellowship is available to start October 1, 2017 and will be completed September 31, 2019 with a salary of $62,000 CAD per annum. The Canadian Government Laboratory Visiting Fellow program is administered by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). More details about the program can be found at: All candidates must meet NSERC eligibility requirements


Interested applicants should email: 1) CV; and 2) cover letter outlining the experience and skills they bring to the project to: Carrie Holt,

Short-listed applicants will be invited to develop a full application through the NSERC system. CVs will be accepted until the position is filled.


We seek a quantitative ecologist and modeller to join an NSERC-funded project on avian conservation in managed boreal forests. In partnership with industry and government, our goal is to forecast bird species responses to the landscape changes that occur through forestry activities at local, regional, and national extents. The successful candidate will work with a team of avian ecologists, forest scientists, statisticians and technical staff to forecast the consequences of alternate forest management and conservation plans and identify forest management practices that best support conservation goals. The forecasting tools will be implemented in SpaDES, a new system for spatial simulation in R ( The major component of the work will be designing simulation experiments and ecological indicators to evaluate alternate forest management plans, estimate model forecast error, and design sampling regimes to reduce such errors.


  • Ph.D. in ecology, forestry, environmental sciences, applied mathematics, computer science, statistics, or a related field;
  • High-level programming skills (e.g., R, Python);
  • Experience with statistical modelling;
  • Experience with spatial simulation modelling;
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills, in English.
  • Experience with any of the following are valuable assets: forest management planning methods and tools; conservation planning methodologies; wildlife-habitat or species distribution modelling; GIS; Remote Sensed data; workflow automation tools; French.

The direct supervisors will be Eliot McIntire (Pacific Forestry Centre, expertise in applied ecology, conservation and ecological forecasting) and Steven Cumming (Université Laval, expertise in forest landscape dynamics, avian habitat modelling, and spatial simulation). Additional collaborators include Erin Bayne (University of Alberta), Fréderic Raulier (Laval), and Marcel Darveau (Laval), post-doctoral fellows and graduate students across Canada, and government research scientists. The successful candidate will be team member of the Boreal Avian Modelling Project (BAM), a long term research program in the ecology and dynamics of avian populations and their habitats in the boreal forest of North America (see

Location of tenure: The position will be located in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, at the Pacific Forestry Centre, with travel to Quebec City (Université Laval) and/or Edmonton (University of Alberta) to work with collaborators. No field work is required.

Start date, duration, & compensation: The position will start as soon as possible. The duration is one year, renewable once based on performance. The annual salary is $53,161 Cdn plus benefits.

 To Apply: Please provide a letter of interest, your CV, and an example of your writing skills in the form of a peer-reviewed manuscript. Your letter should indicate how you meet each of the criteria, and state when you are able to start and when you can relocate to British Columbia. We will accept applications until a suitable candidate is found, but will begin reviewing as soon as the first is received. Send application packages to:

Nicole Barker, BAM Coordinating Scientist,

Post­doctoral Research Opportunity – Modelling Atlantic Salmon Life Histories

A two-year postdoctoral position is available for a highly motivated individual to model the life history of Atlantic salmon. The research will be undertaken under the supervision of Jeffrey Hutchings in the Department of Biology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Confirmed funding sources for the project include the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation ( and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (

The over-arching goal of the project is to construct a stochastic, dynamic model that can be used to address fundamental questions pertaining to population viability of Atlantic salmon. The work will involve, but not be limited to, analyses of per capita population growth, life-history elasticity, model sensitivity, and patterns of density dependence (including Allee effects) at different spatio-temporal scales. The model parameters will be based on a review, undertaken by the successful applicant, of data throughout the geographic range of the species, updating one undertaken in 1998.

Applicants will hold a PhD and have demonstrated expertise in modelling animal population dynamics. The successful candidate will be expected to conduct independent research, to collaborate effectively with academic and government scientists, to collate and analyse large data sets, and to be competent in statistical modelling.

Salary: $50,000 CAD per annum. Funding for the postdoctoral position has been secured for two years.

To apply, please send a brief cover letter summarizing your qualifications for the position, a curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references. Review of applications will begin 15 April 2017. The anticipated start date is 15 May 2017 or shortly thereafter.

Address application materials to (+1 902 494 2687) to whom any questions can also be addressed.