Graduate student opportunity in Hotwater Physa at Liard River Hotsprings Provincial Park

We are seeking potential graduate students (MSc preferred) to work on projects that address natural history knowledge gaps, the life history, food requirements, threats, captive rearing, taxonomy, systematics and relatedness to snails in other thermal springs. Fieldwork may be a component of the project.

Hotwater Physa (Physella wrighti) is a small freshwater snail endemic to thermal springs within Liard River Hotsprings Provincial Park situated in northeast British Columbia. The species was assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in 1998 as Endangered, a status that was re-examined and confirmed in 2000 and 2008. Hotwater Physa was listed as Endangered under the federal Species At Risk Act in 2003. The University of Regina, Royal Saskatchewan Museum, British Columbia Ministry of Environment and federal Fisheries and Oceans Canada are collaborating on the species’ recovery actions.

Natural history and biological information on Hotwater Physa is limited. The species was first noted in 1973 and taxonomically described in 1985. The initial COSEWIC status report is the earliest information on population estimates, and water quality data such as temperature, pH, conductivity and dissolved oxygen. Further work completed in 2000 and 2001 provides additional water quality data (temperature and conductivity) and estimated snail abundance along a portion of Alpha Stream. Additional field studies were completed in 2007, 2008, 2012-2016.

These graduate positions will be based out of the University of Regina, in collaboration with the BC Ministry of Environment, and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Travel costs between sites, including field work at Liard hotsprings, and to international conferences will be covered.

To apply, please send: 1) a CV; 2) unofficial copies of academic transcripts; and 3) a brief description of your research interests to: kerri.finlay@uregina.ca. Applications will be evaluated as soon as they are received. Start dates are flexible, but preference will be made for students who can begin in Sept 2017 or Jan 2018. For more details on graduate applications see: https://www.uregina.ca/gradstudies/. More detail on Dr. Finlay’s lab can be found at http://kerrifinlay.wixsite.com/kerri.

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