PhD position in wildlife parasitology and evolutionary ecology at the University of Calgary

I am seeking a motivated graduate student interested in evolutionary ecology of host-parasite interactions, quantitative genetics and wildlife biology to join my group at the University of Calgary. Research in my laboratory uses molecular and evolutionary ecology approaches to improve our understanding of the processes modulating variation in fitness-related traits and adaptive evolution in free-living wildlife populations.

I am currently recruiting a PhD student to study the genetic basis and fitness consequences of variation in complex gastro-intestinal parasitic nematode infections in natural environments using the Sable Island horse long-term population study as a model. The project, conducted in collaboration with Phulip McLoughlin (U of Saskatchewan), John Gilleard (U. of Calgary), and Alastair Wilson (U. of Exeter), will involve characterising complex strongyle infections in >500 horses over multiple years using DNA metabarcoding, and applying pedigree-based multivariate quantitative genetics and selection analyses to study the evolution of resistance to mixed infections. Interactions between nematode infections and the bacterial microbiome will also be investigated. For additional information about the study system see:

Debeffe et al. 2016. Negative covariance between parasite load and body condition in a population of feral horses. Parasitology 143:983-997.

Gold et al. 2019. Quantitative genetics of gastrointestinal strongyle burden and associated body condition in feral horses. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife 9:104-111.

Ideal candidates will have demonstrated skills or interest in parasitology, molecular ecology, quantitative genetics, wildlife biology or evolutionary ecology. The student will be based at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine or the Department of Biological Sciences, and receive a minimum stipend of $CA23,000/year. Start date is flexible but would ideally be between September 2019 and September 2020.

More information about the lab is available at Interested students should send a brief email outlining research interests, along with a CV and unofficial copies of transcripts to I also welcome inquiries regarding other potential projects in the laboratory.