MSc position at Carleton University working to minimize the spread of HPAI

A Eurasian strain of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) emerged in North America in December 2021. This strain of HPAI is highly infectious and often fatal in domestic poultry and can also cause mortality in wild birds and mammals. The virus infected numerous commercial flocks in 2022 and 2023 with high risk periods for commercial flocks occurring during the spring and fall coinciding with wild bird migration periods. During these outbreaks, it became clear that more work was needed to understand wildlife and domestic poultry interactions and the internal commercial interactions leading to these HPAI infected premises.

We are looking for an MSc student to join an exciting, collaborative team of scientists at Carleton University and Environment and Climate Change Canada. The student will lead a study exploring wild bird communities and their habitats on poultry farms that were infected with H5N1 during the 2022 and 2023 outbreaks. The project will involve examining geospatial data on bird and land use across a large number farms, as well as acoustic recordings and transect count data collected in collaboration with partner farms in southern Ontario. Some field work in southern Ontario may be a part of the study. The study will help understand how wild birds may contribute to the movement of HPAI onto farms and inform a set of recommendations to minimise wild bird-poultry farm interactions, and thus the spread of the virus to agricultural lands. The position start date is flexible but September 2024 would be ideal. The student will be supervised by Dr. Rachel Buxton ( and Dr. Jennifer Provencher.

Essential Skills and Qualifications: BSc degree in ecology, conservation science, environmental science, geography, applied statistics, or a related field; strong research, leadership, and communication skills; enthusiasm and kindness; a desire to make the world a better place for people and nature.

Desirable Skills: GIS/mapping; coding in R;   bird identification; experience analyzing acoustic recordings

Application details: Applicants should send the following to Rachel Buxton ( and Jennifer Provencher ( by March 15: 1) Letter of interest summarizing your experience; 2) Curriculum Vitae; 3) Contact details for three references; and 4) University transcripts (unofficial are fine). Please use the subject line Birds and farms application.

About Carleton University: Carleton University is committed to fostering diversity within its community as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our university including, but not limited to: First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples; women; visible minorities; persons with disabilities; and persons of any sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression. Carleton understands that career paths vary. Legitimate career interruptions will in no way prejudice the assessment process and their impact will be taken into careful consideration.

Carleton University is a dynamic and innovative research and teaching institution with a national and international reputation as a leader in collaborative teaching and learning, research and governance. With over 29,000 students, 950 academic faculty, and 2,000 staff and more than 100 programs of study, we encourage creative risk-taking enabling minds to connect, discover and generate transformative knowledge. Carleton University is located in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, which has a population of almost one million and reflects the country’s bilingual and multicultural character.