Multiple PhD and MSc opportunities available for CRADLES: Conservation and Restoration of Aquatic Diversity in the face of Legacy and Emerging Stressors

In response to the United Nations call to action to restore the productive capacity of degraded ecosystems and to help halt continued global biodiversity losses, we have initiated a collaborative, multi-institutional research network aimed at developing novel, holistic approaches for biodiversity assessment in freshwater systems and their surrounding catchments. These will be used to establish restoration targets, evaluate the benefits of pollution control, and help inform the creation of networks of protected areas.

To conduct research in support of this work, we are seeking 2 PhD and 4 MSc domestic students (i.e. Canadian citizens or permanent residents). Students will be hosted at one of Lakehead (M. Rennie), Laurentian (B. Edwards, J. Gunn, T. Johnston, J. Litzgus) or Queen’s (J. Smol) University, depending on the particular project. Supervision of projects will include PIs from more than a single institution, and will reflect the collaborative, team-based approach to the research, both in lab and field environments. Field work will begin in spring of 2025, and will be conducted in the Sudbury area. As such we are recruiting students interested in starting September 2024 (PhD students especially) and no later than Spring of 2025. Ideal candidates will have a strong background in aquatic ecology and an interest in benthic and/or pelagic bioindicators from invertebrates up to fish and amphibians, molecular techniques, and population and community responses to environmental change. Quantitative skills in statistical analysis are desired but can be provided through training programs at the respective institutions.

PhD1 will focus on developing novel paleoecological methods incorporating eDNA for the reconstruction of past communities of anuran, fish and macroinvertebrate taxa to inform recovery targets. MSc 1-4 will focus on temporal and spatial assessments of the recovery trajectories and contemporary environmental drivers of invertebrate, fish, anuran and avian communities, respectively. PhD2 will develop and test rapid bioassessment techniques as well as food-web and multi-trophic indicators of ecosystem integrity and functional biodiversity.

Interested students should send a CV, cover letter expressing interest, relevant skills and project(s) of interest, as well as a copy of unofficial transcripts to Jackie Litzgus ( Please include “CRADLES graduate interest” as the subject line. Review of applications will occur as they are received, but only those selected for an interview will be contacted. While the positions are targeted at domestic students, we encourage all qualified applicants from diverse cultural backgrounds and gender identities, Indigenous persons, women and visible minorities to apply.