M.Sc. or Ph.D. position on integrative biology of wild hibernating Columbian ground squirrels

I am currently advertising one graduate student (either M.Sc. or Ph.D.) opening in the Evo-Eco-Energetics Lab (PI: Dr. Jeffrey Lane) in the Department of Biology, at the University of Saskatchewan. Start dates of May or September, 2022 are possible, with an earlier start being preferred. There is also the potential for a student to complete a field season as part of the field crew prior to enrolling in the graduate program at the UofS. The student will need to be successful in either external (e.g., NSERC post-graduate scholarships for Canadian citizens) or internal funding competitions (scholarship or teaching assistantship).  

The Project: Integrative biology of hibernating Columbian ground squirrels.  

Since 2008, we have been developing a wild population of hibernating Columbian ground squirrels in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains as a system in which to integrate energetic physiology, ecology and evolutionary biology. Individuals in this population hibernate for 8-9 months each year, and we have learned that hibernation is phenotypically plastic, heritable and associated with fitness. Current, graduate student-led, work on the project is investigating energy allocation to reproduction, abiotic (e.g., weather) and biotic (e.g., food abundance) influences on hibernation biology, and between-population variation in energetics and phenology. We are excited to advance these lines of investigation over the coming years, and are looking to recruit at least one student with interests in: climate change biology, evolutionary ecology, life history evolution and/or energetic physiology.  

To support this project, the student will have access to dedicated research infrastructure, including a mobile laboratory trailer (housing a quantitative magnetic resonance analyzer (to measure body composition) and a field portable respirometry system (to measure metabolic rates), necessary field equipment (e.g., live traps and handling equipment). We have recently refined protocols for individual food-supplementation, enabling targeted feeding experiment. The student will have access to those protocols and equipment. The student will also have full access to the 14 year data set to address their research questions. All fieldwork will be based out of the University of Calgary’s R.B. Miller Research Station (https://research.ucalgary.ca/biogeoscience-institute/facilities/rb-miller-station). 

The successful applicant will have a GPA > 80 % (converted to the UofS’ 1-100% scale) over the past two years of schooling, and a degree in a relevant discipline (e.g., ecology, environmental biology, physiology, evolutionary biology or zoology). In addition, a passion for fieldwork, wildlife ecology, and academic research as well as excellent scientific communication skills (both written and oral), statistical proficiency (or a willingness to gain it) and the ability to work productively as a member of a team (both in the field and office) is necessary. Evidence of scientific productivity (manuscripts published or in preparation, conference attendance and presentations) will be viewed favourably. This position is open to both Canadian and international students. We believe equity, diversity, and inclusion strengthen the community and enhance excellence, innovation and creativity. We, therefore, encourage members of the underrepresented groups in STEM (e.g., women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities, and diverse sexual orientation and gender identities) to apply. 

If you are interested in applying, please submit a cv (including names and contact details of references), a short (< 1 pg) description of research interests and a copy of your transcripts to (unofficial or official) to Jeffrey.lane@usask.ca. Applications will be evaluated as they’re received. To ensure full consideration of your application, therefore, please submit ASAP. Any questions can also be directed to the same email address.  

Thank you in advance for your interest in this position, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. 

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Ph.D. position(s) on conservation biology of endangered bats on the prairies

We are currently advertising one (potentially two) Ph.D. student opening(s) in the Department of Biology, at the University of Saskatchewan. Start dates of May or September, 2022 are possible, with an earlier start being preferred. There is also the potential for students completing a field season as part of the field crew before enrolling in their Ph.D. Full funding ($22,500k CAD/yr for 4 years) is guaranteed, but the successful student will be expected to apply for stipend supports for which they may be eligible (e.g., NSERC post-graduate scholarships for Canadian citizens).   

The Project: Conservation biology of endangered bats on the prairies.  

In 2021, the fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans) responsible for the emerging disease of bats, white-nose syndrome (WNS), was first identified in Saskatchewan. Introduced to New York in 2006, it has since spread across much of the eastern and central parts of North America. The catastrophic population declines of bats affected by WNS have led to three species in Canada being emergency listed as endangered (two of which are found in Saskatchewan). As WNS spreads across the prairies, conservation efforts for bat populations are likely to encounter new challenges. Agricultural intensification and landscape simplification can both affect the food resources (insects) and habitat quality (e.g., maternity roost sites) for bats. Pesticide exposure is also a looming threat, and has had well documented detrimental effects in ecologically similar birds (i.e., aerial insectivores). Our understanding of the ecology of bats in prairie landscapes also lags behind that for forested environments. This project will directly address these challenges and research needs. Specifically, we are interested in meeting three core objectives: 

  1. Determine how agricultural intensification in the northern Great Plains affects foraging activity by, and body condition of, little brown bats; identify landscape features most likely to benefit bats through habitat enhancements and conservation initiatives.  
  2. Determine how variation in pesticide exposure influences body fat dynamics of little brown bats.  
  3. Evaluate the influence of post-hibernation body condition on the likelihood of reproduction in female little brown bats, and whether habitat augmentation can ameliorate the predicted detrimental consequences for poor-condition survivors. 

To support this project, the student(s) will have access to dedicated research infrastructure, including a mobile laboratory trailer (housing a quantitative magnetic resonance body composition analyzer and other energetic physiology equipment), autonomous bat detectors, necessary field equipment (e.g., mist nets and handling equipment) and lab equipment/access for pesticide analyses. Preliminary acoustic data is also available from the previous two years. The students will be co-supervised by Drs. Christy Morrissey (https://christymorrissey.driftchamber.com/) and Jeffrey Lane (www.lanelab.ca), and be an active participant in both wildlife biology research labs. 

The successful applicant will have a GPA > 80 % (converted to the UofS’ 1-100% scale) over the past two years of schooling and a degree in a relevant discipline (e.g., ecology, conservation biology, environmental science). In addition, a passion for fieldwork, bats and wildlife conservation, as well as excellent scientific communication skills (both written and oral) and statistical proficiency (or a willingness to gain it) is necessary. Evidence of scientific productivity (manuscripts published or in preparation, conference attendance and presentations) is also expected. This position is open to both Canadian and international students. We believe equity, diversity, and inclusion strengthen the community and enhance excellence, innovation and creativity. We, therefore, encourage members of the underrepresented groups in STEM (e.g., women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities, and diverse sexual orientation and gender identities) to apply. 

If you are interested in applying, please submit a cv (including names and contact details of references), a short (< 1 pg) description of research interests and a copy of your transcripts to (unofficial or official) to Jeffrey.lane@usask.ca. Applications will be evaluated as they’re received. To ensure full consideration of your application, therefore, please submit ASAP. Any questions can also be directed to the same email address.  

Thank you in advance for your interest in this position, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. 

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Graduate Student Position in Metabarcoding of Soil Invertebrates

Soil mesofauna (including mites, springtails, and nematodes) are incredibly diverse and play an
important role in maintaining healthy and functioning soils in terrestrial ecosystems. However due to
their small size and cryptic habitat, these fascinating animals are often overlooked or underrepresented
in ecological research. The Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM, Department of Biological Sciences,
Montréal, Québec) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Ottawa Research and Development Centre,
Ottawa, Ontario) invite applications for a motivated MSc or PhD graduate student to conduct research
using metabarcoding molecular techniques to survey soil mesofauna in a newly-initiated large-scale
comprehensive soil biodiversity survey in Québec and Ontario. The research will be part of a larger
project designed to characterise microbial, fungal, and faunal soil biodiversity and to assess its
relationship with soil physico-chemical parameters and changing land use patterns in agroecosystems
and adjacent natural areas. The selected candidate will integrate with a dynamic, collaborative research
team that values a respectful and inclusive work environment in the labs of Dr. Tanya Handa (UQAM),
Dr. Marla Schwarzfeld (AAFC, Ottawa) and Dr. Benjamin Mimee (AAFC, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu). The
candidate will also have the opportunity to become a student member of the Québec Center of
Biodiversity Science.

  • Candidates must meet the admission criteria of the Department of Biological Sciences graduate
    program at the Université de Québec à Montréal
  • Candidates must have a valid driver’s licence and be willing to travel between Ottawa and
    Montréal on regular basis, as well as to sites around Ontario and Québec for field sample
    collection.
  • Preference will be given to applicants with demonstrated prior experience with scientific
    writing, community ecology, statistical analyses, molecular technique skills (e.g. DNA
    extractions, PCR, next-generation sequencing), bioinformatics and scripting, and/or entomology.
  • The student should be ready to start in May-June 2022.

Applicants should send a letter of motivation, CV, copy of academic transcripts and the names of three
references to Marla Schwarzfeld (marla.schwarzfeld@agr.gc.ca), by January 28, 2022.

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Weston Family Conservation Science Fellowship – Master’s/PhD: Habitat Management for Endangered Butterfly Recovery

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading private land conservation organization. Since 1962, NCC has helped conserve 14 million hectares, coast to coast to coast. Research by Weston Family Conservation Science Fellows supports conservation of important natural areas and biological diversity. Learn more on our Fellowship Program webpage.

Project summary

The objective of this project is to examine the effectiveness of disturbance-based prairie management activities (fire, grazing, mechanical brush control) in improving and maintaining habitat suitability and population recovery for Poweshiek Skipperling and Dakota Skipper in Manitoba. Fieldwork will involve visits to various sites for vegetation, soil, landscape feature, and skipper population surveys. Research may also include GIS/remote sensing and habitat distribution modelling. The student will work with Dr. Nicola Koper (University of Manitoba) and Dr. Richard Westwood (University of Winnipeg) and will be supported by NCC’s Weston Family Science Program. The student will register in the Master or PhD in Natural Resources and Environmental Management program at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, under the supervision of Dr. Koper. This internationally renowned interdisciplinary graduate program is designed to prepare graduates for solving complex conservation and management problems in a changing world.

Fellowship details

The Fellowship will begin in May or September 2022 and consist of two (master’s) or four (PhD) years of support with a minimum $20,000 annual stipend. Fellows will also be allocated up to $5,000 annually to cover costs associated with professional development opportunities and periodic Fellows meetings. Fellowship funding is not intended to be used for research costs; these costs, including field accommodation, will be covered separately.

Fellowship requirements

A bachelor’s (master’s applicants) or master’s (PhD applicants) degree in science or a related field is required. Successful applicants must have a strong, demonstrated interest in and knowledge of ecology and conservation. Preference will be given to applicants with experience and interest in insect ecology and prairie ecology/management. Expertise in GIS is an asset. Fellowships are open to international students, but preference may be given to Canadian applicants. Applicants must meet the graduate admissions criteria for the University of Manitoba (minimum B+ average; GPA above 3.5 on a 4.5 scale). A valid driver’s license is required.

How to apply

NCC is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive Fellowship program. We welcome and encourage applications from people with disabilities and from under-represented groups. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.

We value and incorporate diverse traditions, heritage, knowledge and experiences in our mission and in our workplaces. We celebrate the full participation of people from all walks of life as we work towards common goals. We strive for a conservation movement in which equity, diversity and inclusion are the norm. This is our continuous commitment: to promote healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy planet for everyone.

If you are interested in the Fellowship, please upload your CV, contact information for three references, unofficial transcripts, and a detailed cover letter to https://1.adp.com/fF2EY7fyUxj. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Questions can be directed to Samantha Knight at samantha.knight@natureconservancy.ca. The Weston Family Conservation Science Fellowship Program is made possible through the generous support of the Weston Family Foundation.

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Weston Family Conservation Science Fellowship – MSc: Impact of prescribed fire and grazing management on grassland plant and songbird communities

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading private land conservation organization. Since 1962, NCC has helped conserve 14 million hectares, coast to coast to coast. Research by Weston Family Conservation Science Fellows supports conservation of important natural areas and biological diversity. Learn more on our Fellowship Program webpage.

Project summary

The objective of this project is to examine the long-term impacts of prescribed fire and grazing (bison and cattle) on species-at-risk songbird abundance in southwestern Saskatchewan. For fieldwork, the student will conduct songbird surveys and vegetation sampling from May to July each year. The student will be working with Dr. Eric Lamb at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Steven Davis at ECCC, and NCC staff. The student will be based at the University of Saskatchewan in the Department of Plant Sciences.

Fellowship details

The Fellowship will begin in May 2022 and consist of up to two years of support with a minimum $22,000 annual stipend. Fellows will also be allocated up to $5,000 annually to cover costs associated with professional development opportunities and periodic Fellows meetings. Fellowship funding is not intended to be used for research costs; these costs, including field accommodation, will be covered separately.

Fellowship requirements

A bachelor’s degree in science or a related field is required. Successful applicants must have a strong, demonstrated interest in and knowledge of ecology and conservation. Preference will be given to applicants with experience in avian ecology or grassland ecology. Fellowships are open to international students, but preference will be given to Canadian applicants. Applicants must meet the graduate admissions criteria for the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan and applicants with a minimum 80% average are strongly preferred.

How to apply

NCC is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive Fellowship program. We welcome and encourage applications from people with disabilities and from under-represented groups. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.

We value and incorporate diverse traditions, heritage, knowledge and experiences in our mission and in our workplaces. We celebrate the full participation of people from all walks of life as we work towards common goals. We strive for a conservation movement in which equity, diversity and inclusion are the norm. This is our continuous commitment: to promote healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy planet for everyone.

If you are interested in the Fellowship, please upload your CV, contact information for three references, unofficial transcripts, and a detailed cover letter to https://1.adp.com/riFQUbJYQed. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Questions can be directed to Samantha Knight at samantha.knight@natureconservancy.ca.

The Weston Family Conservation Science Fellowship Program is made possible through the generous support of the Weston Family Foundation.

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Graduate student (MSc) position – Université Laval, University of New Brunswick

Productivity of black and white spruce plantations as a function of climate change

Project description: Black and white spruce plantations could play an important role in maintaining timber supplies as climate change will increase the risks associated with natural disturbances. Indeed, by using forest plantations to increase wood production and carbon sequestration in low risk areas, it will theoretically be possible to compensate for losses incurred in high-risk areas. However, the productivity of plantations may be affected by climate change, which can induce biases in the calculations of the volume of wood available to supply processing mills. It is therefore important to predict the effect of climate change on the growth of spruce plantations. The effect of climate change can be estimated using a network of permanent sample plots established in several regions with varying temperature and precipitation regimes. The general objective of this project is therefore to develop a model for predicting the growth of black and white spruce plantations to assess the effect of different scenarios of climate change. The results of this project will then be incorporated into a general model aimed at mitigating the effects of natural disturbances on forest harvest levels across the province of Quebec.

Candidate profile: Completion of a bachelor’s degree in forestry, environment, biological sciences or other relevant field. Strong motivation and very good autonomy are desired.

Financial support: Guaranteed minimum annual income of $ 18,000 (CDN) for two years.

Beginning of the MSc: January, May or September 2022.

Contact: Send a cover letter, a transcript and a complete CV by email to Loïc D’Orangeville, Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick (loic.dorangeville@unb.ca) or David Pothier, Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt, Université Laval (david.pothier@sbf.ulaval.ca).

This project will be carried out in collaboration with Hugues Power (hugues.power@mffp.gouv.qc.ca) and Luca Serban (luca.serban@mffp.gouv.qc.ca) of the Direction de la recherche forestière du Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec.

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M.Sc. Research Opportunity in ‘Oribatid Mite Ecology, Systematics and Taxonomy’ – Application Deadline: January 15, 2022

An exciting new position for an M.Sc. student is available through a multidisciplinary research program involving researchers from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta and the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute.

The successful applicant will contribute to the local and regional biodiversity assessment of Edmonton, Alberta, and surrounding areas to assess potential introductions and dispersal mechanisms of oribatid mites. Research will include work on the systematics and taxonomy of the Galumnoidea of Alberta. Specifically, the M.Sc. project will involve:

1) in conjunction with ABMI researchers, study the habitat and range extent of oribatid mites within  and near Edmonton to identify introductions of non-native species and to assess their dispersal mechanisms. This will include: contributing to experimental design; field work to collect soil and conduct ecosite assessments; laboratory work to extract invertebrates from soil, microscopic identification of oribatid mites to species-level; analytical techniques to assess range extent, movement and dispersal; writing and publication.

2) study of the 10+ morphospecies within the Galumnoidea known in Alberta to determine if they have been described, and to redescribe and formally describe new species as necessary. This will include using microscopy to study and characterize specimens, illustration via photography and line drawings, contributing to and analyzing morphological, molecular and biogeographical data, and connecting with specialists and museums nationally and internationally to access and study type specimens as needed.

The successful candidate will have a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree or equivalent by August 2022. Desired skills include experience identifying small invertebrates using dissecting and light microscopy. The candidate must be academically competitive and expected to work with a network of acarologists, entomologists, and biodiversity scientists across Canada, and with oribatid experts outside of Canada as needed.

The stipend is for 2.3 years with an annual amount of approximately $25,197, part of which will come from teaching assistantships. The candidate’s M.Sc. program will be based in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. The candidate must either be a Canadian citizen or have residency approval to start the program in September 2022. We encourage students to apply as soon as possible as the deadline to apply to the University of Alberta for the September 2022 start date is 1 February 2022. See information about eligibility and minimum GPA and English requirements here.

Interested candidates should send the following documents by email to both Dr. Lisa Lumley (llumley@ualberta.ca) and Dr. Heather Proctor (hproctor@ualberta.ca) by 15 January 2022 at the latest: 1. a current curriculum vitae, 2. a cover letter describing their interest in the position, and 3. names and contact information for two references. For further information about the M.Sc. research opportunity, please contact:

Dr. Lisa Lumley: Terrestrial Invertebrate Coordinator, Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute and Adjunct Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta; Email: llumley@ualberta.ca

Dr. Heather Proctor: Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta; Email: hproctor@ualberta.ca

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Graduate position available in: Parasites and the Ecology of Fear

A graduate research position (PhD program) is available in Dr. Lien Luong’s research group (https://grad.biology.ualberta.ca/luong/) at the University of Alberta. Start date: September 2022.

Project background: Exposure to parasites can lead to changes in host behavior, morphology, or physiology, even in the absence of infection. These non-consumptive effects (NCE) can be understood in the context of the “ecology of fear”. Potential projects include, but are not limited to investigating the: 1) state-dependent nature of NCE, 2) trait-mediated NCE, 3) NCE of parasites on host metabolism, and 3) evolutionary consequences of NCE. Successful applicants will investigate these questions using a fruit fly-mite system, applying concepts and techniques from behavioral ecology, physiological ecology, and/or experimental evolution. For more information: https://grad.biology.ualberta.ca/luong/

The Department of Biological Sciences at U of A is one of the largest and most scientifically diverse departments of its kind in Canada. We offer research-orientated, thesis-based graduate programs at both the MSc and PhD levels. Study programs are tailored individually to graduate student needs and emphasize interdisciplinary thinking. With ~200 graduate students, >65 full-time faculty, excellent support facilities and ample research funding, a vibrant and exciting learning environment is provided. For more information about applying to the graduate program: http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/programs/graduate/prospective/ To learn more, please send a brief statement of your research experience/interest and a copy of your curriculum vitae to lluong@ualberta.ca. Application deadline is February 1, 2022.

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MSc/PhD positions in population and community ecology, University of Calgary

Jeremy Fox is seeking two graduate students (MSc or PhD) to start in Sept. 2022 or Jan. 2023.

For background on the Fox lab, visit the Fox lab website. Briefly, research in the Fox lab mostly involves modeling and experiments on population and community dynamics using laboratory-based microbial model systems. But many of Fox lab students have worked in other systems, including alpine plants, plant-pollinator interactions, and bean beetles. So whether you want to join one of an ongoing line of research, or have your own ideas, please do get in touch.

See the lab’s research page for more on ongoing research projects. Current lines of research include:

  • Spatial synchrony of population cycles. Why do population cycles and spatial synchrony often (but not always!) seem to go hand-in-hand?
  • Higher order interactions and species coexistence. Are communities more than just the sum of their parts, and if so, what implications does that have for species coexistence?
  • Studying ecologists, not just ecology. Using a huge database of effect sizes from 466 ecological meta-analyses to quantify what ecologists know about ecology (all of ecology!), and how fast they’re learning it.

The Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary has a strong group of over a dozen ecologists and evolutionary biologists, with strength in depth in evolutionary ecology, population ecology, aquatic ecology, and other areas. The department has two field stations in the mountains, next-generation sequencing facilities, access to various high-performance computing clusters, and everything else you’d expect from a big, well-equipped research university.

Grad students in the department are guaranteed a minimum of $23,000/year through a mixture of TAships, RAships, and other sources like fellowships. In practice graduate students in my lab make more than the the departmentally-guaranteed minimum.

Calgary is a city of about 1.3 million people, 45 minutes drive from the Canadian Rockies with all the opportunities for field work and recreation that implies. (Look at these mountains!)

If you’re interested, please email Jeremy ASAP (jefox@ucalgary.ca). Doesn’t have to be a super-long email. Just talk a bit about your background, interests, and long-term goals. Please also talk a bit about what specifically attracts you to the Fox lab, and/or to Calgary more broadly. Please also include a cv, transcripts (unofficial is fine), and contact details for three references.

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PhD or MSc position – Kembel lab @ UQAM

https://kembellab.ca
Ecology and evolution of Methylobacterium

Objective: Understand the ecological and evolutionary drivers of Methylobacterium diversity and the importance of Methylobacterium for their plant hosts

Methylobacterium is a diverse genus of plant-associated bacteria that perform important ecological functions for their host plants and ecosystems.

We are using genomic and metagenomic approaches to understand the diversity of plant-associated Methylobacterium. We have developed a collection of Methylobacterium strains and a rich dataset on the ecological and genomic diversity of this genus living on plants in forest ecosystems. We seek a graduate student (PhD or MSc) to pursue one or more of the following objectives. The ideal candidate would have background and interests in quantitative microbial ecology and evolution, genomics and metagenomics, or bioinformatics.

  • Ecological dynamics of Methylobacterium communities
  • Metagenomics and pangenomics of Methylobacterium diversity
  • Experimental tests of the impacts of Methylobacterium strains on host plants

Prospective candidates should contact me (kembel.steven_w@uqam.ca) with the following information:

  • Letter of interest (1 page)
  • CV
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Contact information for three references

Review of applications will begin on January 3, 2022 and continue until the position has been filled. The Kembel lab at UQAM is an inclusive, diverse, and welcoming environment. This project offers the opportunity for collaboration within the lab as well as with researchers from McGill University and the University of Idaho. UQAM is a francophone university, but knowledge of French is not mandatory for graduate students.

Professor Steven Kembel
kembel.steven_w@uqam.ca
https://kembellab.ca

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