MSc. Position in Arctic Marine Benthic Invertebrate Ecology

Supervisors: Drs. Patricia Ramey-Balci and Ken Jeffries, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Manitoba.

Marine Invertebrate Ecology Lab (

Start date: Program of study to begin in Jan 2025 (winter) or May 2025 (summer).

Project Summary: Arctic ecosystems are under stress from environmental and anthropogenic changes (e.g., air temperature increases, ice loss, ocean circulation, and contaminants) which have increased over the past several decades. A substantial knowledge gap exists regarding the biodiversity of coastal benthic invertebrate community composition and their habitat associations in the coastal environment. Graduate student research will aim to address this knowledge gap by 1) providing a baseline assessment of nearshore, shallow water benthic invertebrate community and functional (i.e., species traits) structure in relation to habitat in Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut, and 2) develop a comprehensive reference library of DNA barcodes to aid in the future application of environmental DNA. The information produced from this work will be used as a baseline to monitor future change near Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut, and in the Arctic in general.

The student will conduct fieldwork in an Arctic coastal ecosystem (2-3 week duration) and play an active role in the planning and execution of research in the field and laboratory. The student will gain experience in fieldwork planning, experimental design, community engagement, collection and fixation of invertebrate samples using grabs onboard boats, microscopic identification of macroinvertebrates using taxonomic keys, molecular lab techniques for gene sequencing/analyses, univariate and multivariate statistical analysis of species abundances and expression of functional traits, and communication through participation in seminars and scientific conferences.

Requirements: Four-year Bachelor’s degree in Biology (B.Sc.), GPA 3.0 or higher.

Prior experience: Only qualified applicants will be contacted. Applicants with strong scientific writing skills and experience in macroinvertebrate species identification, and/or molecular techniques (e.g., DNA extraction, PCR) will be given preference. We are committed to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive research environment that welcomes all applications from qualified persons contributing to the further diversification of ideas and experiences.

Funding: Two years of funding is available at the Master’s level. Salary is $21000/year. There is also the possibility to apply for Teaching Assistantships and grader/marker positions.

How To Apply:

Interested candidates can apply by emailing a single pdf that includes:

1. 1-page cover letter of interest stating their motivation to pursue a M.Sc. in Arctic ecology (and any relevant previous research experience)
2. Curriculum Vitae
3. Unofficial academic transcripts
4. Name and contact for two references by July 1, 2024

Application Email Address: