Project description: We are recruiting a PhD student to conduct dissertation research on the mathematical basis underlying wildlife management and conservation. The application of mathematical modeling in ecological and evolutionary theory is well established (Otto and Day 2007), yet there remains significant room for the innovation of quantitative mathematical modelling in the applied realms of wildlife science. The student will explore the governing dynamics of topics such as:

  • eco-evolutionary outcomes of human-wildlife conflict;
  • consumer-resource models of hunter harvesting;
  • human-carnivore competition for ungulates;
  • commensal interactions between micro- and macro-predators;
  • decision-support tools to assist in management, conservation, and policy related to wildlife.

These topics may focus on systems associated with people, large carnivores, and ungulates in British Columbia, including wildlife species such as wolves, cougars, black and grizzly bears, elk, mule and white-tailed deer, and big horn sheep.

Minimal qualifications: include a demonstrated interest in quantitative modelling in the life sciences and willingness to develop models to answer applied questions. This project is primarily computer lab based, with opportunities for stakeholder engagement and field visits to better understand system dynamics. Completion of a MSc is strongly preferred.

Timeline: Start date negotiable (2018 or 2019), applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled.

Setting: The student will form a nexus between the research labs of Dr. Sarah Otto (UBC Point Grey Campus, Vancouver, BC) and Dr. Adam T. Ford (UBC Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, BC), who will co-supervise the student. We anticipate will spend the early part of their PhD degree in the Otto Lab in Vancouver [] to shore up their skills in mathematical modelling. The student will then transition to the Wildlife Restoration Ecology Lab [] in Kelowna to further develop and apply their modelling work. The PhD Student will have the opportunity to engage with faculty members of, and facilities managed by, the Kelowna-based BRAES Institute ( and the Vancouver-based Biodiversity Research Center (

Application instructions: Please email [] a single PDF [formatted as: LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME.pdf] that includes: (1) 1-2 page cover letter indicating (a) past experiences in mathematical modeling in ecology, evolution, or life sciences; (b) areas of interest/growth for your PhD topic(s); (c) broader goals of your PhD; (d) your anticipated fit with the PIs and their labs; (2) a recent CV; (3) copies [unofficial is fine] of undergraduate and graduate transcripts; (4) contact information for 2-3 references. Please use the subject header “Quantitative Modelling PhD Application”.