Project title: Wetland bioindicator development in Alberta’s wetlands in the oil sands region for long-term wetland monitoring.
Stipend: $65,000 CND/yr guaranteed for 2 years
Start date: 5 January 2018 or as soon as a suitable candidate is found
This project represents a unique opportunity for a post-doctoral student to analyse a large existing dataset to help develop a long-term wetland monitoring program. The successful applicant will delve into the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute’s (ABMI) biodiversity dataset on plants that spans the entire boreal region of Alberta (~700 sites) to identify candidate wetland sites that span a gradient in human activity (mining, logging, oil and gas development). This will include bogs, fens, swamps and open water wetlands. The PDF will use this database to identify potential vegetation indicators of oil sands development impacts on regional wetlands and propose monitoring tool(s) for application in a long term monitoring program. The PDF will test an existing Driver – Pressure – Stressor – Impact – Response (DPSIR) model of how wetland plant communities respond to oil sands mine activities.
The PDF will then validate the tool(s) and DPSIR model through field work carried out at a combination of synoptic and intensive sites, where collaborators are directly measuring the influence of oil sands mine activity on probably pathways of biological impact: e.g., mine dewatering, reduced hydrologic connectivity, aerial deposition of N and other contaminants. This will support a mechanistic understanding of how biological indicators from the plant (bryophyte and vascular) communities respond to oil sands mining.
The successful applicant will be based at the University of Waterloo, in the lab of Dr. Rebecca Rooney and will be co-supervised by Alberta Environment and Parks scientist Dr. Danielle Cobbaert, who is leading wetland monitoring program development in Alberta. S/he will collaborate extensively with ecohydrologists (e.g., Drs Rich Petrone & Jon Price) and peatland ecologists (e.g., Drs Kelman Weider & Dale Vitt) and remote sensing scientists (Drs. Laura Chasmer and Chris Hopkinson, U. Lethbridge) who are studying the hydrologic and aerial deposition mechanisms driving biological change in response to oil sands exploitation.
To be eligible, the applicant must have received a PhD degree prior to commencing the fellowship. S/he must have a background in wetland ecology, with experience in botany and field ecology. Experience working with large ecological datasets in R is an asset. The PDF will be expected to prepare manuscripts and reports, thus English proficiency is required. Must also be willing and able to carry out field work in remote locations in northern Alberta during the summers of 2018 and 2019.
Application packages should include a cover letter, C.V., unofficial transcripts, and the contact information of three references, and two recent publications. All documentation submittedmust be assembled in a single PDF file and sent to: Dr. Rebecca Rooney at email@example.com with PDF-RWM-YourName in the subject line.