PhD project on foraging behaviour and population ecology of Canada lynx in Yukon

Institution: Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada (www.trentu.ca)

Supervisors: Dennis Murray (http://www.dennismurray.ca) and Stan Boutin (https://www.ualberta.ca/science/about-us/contact-us/faculty-directory/stan-boutin)

We are seeking a PhD student to assess lynx foraging behavior and population ecology near Kluane Lake, Yukon. Our research on lynx and their prey in the Kluane region spans decades, and the current project builds on our recent re-analysis of the functional response of lynx to different prey types and how such relationships are more complex than previously thought (see Chan et al. 2017 Ecology DOI:10.1002/ecy.1828). Specifically, through lynx GPS telemetry and accelerometry, camera trap surveys, as well as assessment of prey distribution and abundance, we aim to understand the mechanisms underlying lynx interactions with their primary (snowshoe hare) and secondary (red squirrel) prey, and how such interactions affect lynx population ecology through space and time. To date, lynx have been studied intensively for 2 winters during a period of relative abundance of prey, with an anticipated crash in snowshoe hare numbers and corresponding changes in lynx foraging behavior, expected during the next 2 years. These anticipated changes set the stage for robust analysis of variation in lynx: 1) kill rates and movement patterns; 2) exploitation of prey habitat patches; and 3) interactions with conspecifics. The PhD student will have the opportunity to develop specific research questions within the scope of the larger project and be part of a dynamic group of researchers from 4 Canadian universities.

The funding package includes a competitive stipend, foreign tuition waiver (if the student is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident) as well as coverage of all research expenses. Successful candidates will have an MSc in Ecology, Conservation Biology, or related field, demonstrated evidence of peer-reviewed publications, strong field skills (preferably including carnivore radio-telemetry, chemical immobilization and winter fieldwork), and analysis of GPS telemetry datasets. The successful candidate must be competitive for scholarship funding and be excited about working in a remote field station in the winter for extended periods of time.

To apply, send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, unofficial academic transcript, and contact information for 3 references, to: Dennis Murray (dennismurray@trentu.ca). The successful candidate will begin enrolment by September 2017 or January 2018, and we will accept applications until a suitable candidate is found, so apply early.

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