Movement and habitat use of Greenland halibut (MSc position)

Position: This is a fully funded two-year MSc position based within the Earth & Geospatial Science Lab (EarthGS) at Memorial University of Newfoundland, in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Newfoundland and Labrador (DFO-NL).

Program of study: The successful candidate will register for the MUN Department of Geography MSc program (https://www.mun.ca/geography/programs/graduate/).

Start date: Commencing spring/summer 2024.

Location: St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.

Project description: The EarthGS Lab and DFO-NL Science are recruiting a student to study the movement and habitat use of Greenland halibut. This work is supported by the Fisheries and Oceans Competitive Science Research Fund.

Through this project we aim to better understand the movements of Greenland halibut (aka “Turbot”, Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) to support stock assessment and the provision of science advice. Greenland halibut are an important commercial resource in Newfoundland-Labrador and the eastern Canadian Arctic, and this information is critically important to understanding habitat use in the context of changing climatic conditions. The prospective student will analyze acoustic telemetry and satellite tagging data to study halibut movements within stock areas (e.g., seasonal behaviour, habitat use, migration), and to detect movements across stock boundaries. These data will inform assessment of the Greenland halibut fishery; the project has great potential to support sustainable management of this important resource, and to investigate the potential implications of changing climate on the habitat use of the Greenland halibut population.

This project will utilize both existing and novel datasets collected in collaboration with DFO-NL. Tagging data have been acquired since 2022 and a student in this position will have the opportunity to participate in additional ship-based fieldwork in 2024. The successful candidate will analyze these data using GIS and open source statistical/analytical software. In addition to a competitive full-time graduate stipend, funding is available to fully support student participation in an international science conference, and to receive marine vessel safety training.

The candidate: The successful candidate will have a Bachelor of Science degree in one of biology, ocean science, geography, environmental science, or similar. An honours degree will be preferred. The skills necessary to complete this project include GIS and spatial data analytics, scientific writing, and marine field work. Training will be provided through the program. Additional experience related to statistical analysis, remote sensing, telemetry, oceanography, and marine biology will be beneficial.

How to apply: To apply, please forward a transcript to Dr. Benjamin Misiuk (bmisiuk@mun.ca). Qualified candidates will be invited to submit a full application through the Department of Geography.