Three graduate student positions (MSc, PhD) in population and community ecology, University of Calgary

Program: Biological Sciences

Location: University of Calgary

Start date: Sept. 2021 (preferred; start date flexible)

Stipend: Guaranteed minimum of $23,000/year for 2 years (MSc) or 4 years (PhD). The minimum will be exceeded as permitted by the lab’s funding, and successful pursuit of scholarship and fellowship opportunities.

Supervisor: Dr. Jeremy Fox

I am seeking three graduate students (MSc and/or PhD) interested in addressing broad, fundamental questions in population and community ecology. Research in my lab combines mathematical modeling with experiments in laboratory microcosms and other tractable model systems. Mathematical models are essential for developing testable hypotheses about complicated ecological scenarios. Microcosms of protists and other small-bodied organisms allow controlled, replicated experiments lasting dozens to hundreds of generations. They are ideal both for testing hypotheses about population and community dynamics, and for generating novel dynamics in need of theoretical explanation.

My lab is currently pursuing two main lines of research, but I am open to applications from students interested in pursuing other lines of research as well.

1. Spatial synchrony. Spatially-separated populations of the same species often fluctuate synchronously, even though they’re hundreds or even thousands of km apart. The result is that, across vast areas, all populations increase (or decrease) simultaneously. Coexisting populations of different species also often fluctuate synchronously. Alternative hypotheses to explain spatial synchrony are difficult to test in nature because it’s impossible to do experiments at the right spatial and temporal scales. You can’t, say, manipulate the weather across all of Canada and then wait a century to see what happens to the spatial synchrony of lynx-hare cycles (and even if you could you wouldn’t have a control or any replication…). My lab’s solution is to scale nature down. We manipulate the hypothesized causes of synchrony in microcosms that play by the same basic “rules” that natural populations play by, even though they don’t precisely mimic any particular natural populations. The results complement studies of natural systems. One question of current interest is whether the causes of spatial synchrony differ between species that exhibit cyclic fluctuations in abundance, and those that do not.

2. Higher order interactions and species coexistence. Are ecological communities more than just the sum of their parts? If you knew enough about the population dynamics of each species on its own, and about all the pairwise interspecific interactions, could you predict the population dynamics of every species in the entire community? If not, the community dynamics are driven in part by “higher order” interactions: “emergent” effects that can’t be predicted just from knowledge of single-species and pairwise dynamics. Higher order interactions can arise because of adaptive plasticity–organisms changing their behavior or even morphology in response to the presence of other organisms–and for other reasons. Higher order interactions present a major challenge to our ability to explain and predict community dynamics, but we don’t know much about their prevalence or importance. My lab is developing and testing hypotheses about the circumstances in which higher order interactions matter for community dynamics and species coexistence.

Applications are open until the positions are filled. To apply, send an introductory note to jefox@ucalgary.ca, along with a transcript (unofficial is fine), cv, and contact details for three references. Applications from students of diverse backgrounds and perspectives are welcome and encouraged.

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EFFECTS OF LINEAR FEATURES ON FITNESS IN CARIBOU

We are recruiting an exceptional MSc student into a collaborative, diverse, and inclusive research community. The position is fully funded. We will support and encourage the successful applicant to compete for internal and external funding. Preference is for a September 2021 start date and the competition will remain open through Sept 25th, 2020. The position is based at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Our lab and the caribou studied within this project occur on the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk and Mi’kmaq peoples. The project will be a co-mentored by Eric Vander Wal (Memorial University of Newfoundland; weel.gitlab.io) and Hance Ellington (University of Florida; profile).

Project: Anthropogenic disturbance is increasingly prevalent on the landscape. Linear features are defined as cleared stretches of land and are distinct sources of habitat fragmentation. In addition to direct mortality from vehicle collisions, animals that regularly interact with linear features may have declining reproductive success. For caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in Newfoundland, population declines have been linked to nutritional stress of adult females and high levels of calf mortality associated with coyote (Canis latrans) and black bear (Ursus americanus) predation, both of which could be amplified in the presence of linear features. The goal of this research project is to ascertain precisely how caribou interact with linear features using integrated step selection analysis and assess the effects of linear features on individual reproduction and survival.

System and team: There is a long history of studying caribou in Newfoundland and Labrador. The project will leverage over a decade of caribou GPS collar data from several large herds on the island of Newfoundland to assess the effects of linear features on fitness. In addition, the student will be part our team studying caribou on Fogo Island, Newfoundland, where there will be opportunity to collect data in the field. We have been studying caribou on Fogo Island since 2016 and have a team studying movement, habitat selection, social behaviour, and predation of caribou in this system. In general, we are a dynamic, collaborative, question-driven research group that bridges fundamental and applied questions in evolutionary, behavioural, population ecology.

Training Opportunity: The project will provide excellent opportunities for training and developing skills for employment or further graduate studies. For example, (1) Fundamentals: critical thinking, experimental design, practicing and communicating science; (2) Field skills: biotelemetry; behavioural observation of caribou; (3) Analytical and lab-skills such as advanced GIS, programing statistical and spatial models; (4) Building a better community: learning about, and contributing to, the ongoing development of lab inclusivity practices through organized discussions, workshops, and seminars.

Qualifications: We seek an applicant with the following qualities. (1) A passion for ecological and evolutionary theory. (2) An interest, commitment and, aptitude for research in the field in all seasons. (3) Quantitative skills in GIS, statistical programing in R, and experience or interest in modeling. (4) A demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. (5) And foremost, evidence of kindness. Competitive applicants are encouraged to contact any past or present students in the WEEL group to obtain an informed opinion of the potential provided by this position and environment.

Memorial University’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity is reflected in its mission, code, and values. While everyone is responsible for upholding these values, we have a responsibility to lead and foster equity initiatives within our lab and department given the importance of inclusion in scholarship.

To apply, please email your applications to Hance (e.ellington@ufl.edu) and me (eric.vanderwal@mun.ca). We would appreciate if the application was a single *.pdf document. Please include a cover letter outlining your background, aspirations, interests, and any equity considerations you are comfortable sharing, and a current CV including the names of two references.

Thank you in advance.

~Eric

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PhD position: Atlantic Puffin Social Interactions. Application deadline: November 15th 2020.

Background – Atlantic puffins are highly colonial seabirds that constantly interact with conspecifics. Social interactions in colonial species are often mediated by vocalizations with high-information content such that individual recognition is possible. Penguins for example communicate using a two-voice system that produces rich harmonics, allowing easy parent-offspring contact. Atlantic puffins do not regularly vocalize outside their burrows precluding the use of acoustic communication for conspecific interactions. Our laboratory is exploring individual recognition in this species by analyzing multispectral images of adult puffins. What we currently lack is knowledge regarding the extent to which puffins socialize.

Project description – I am recruiting a PhD student to join the Visual Ecology @ MUN lab to study social interactions in Atlantic puffins. By using traditional colour banding methods and attaching proximity loggers to adult puffins, the student will answer questions such as: How much time do mates spend together on land? How many individuals do they regularly interact with? Are these interactions maintained on the water? How far away from their nests do they visit? There will be much freedom for the student to develop his or her own research ideas. The research will be conducted in the Witless Bay Reserve, home to the second largest colony of Atlantic puffins in the world. The student will collaborate with other lab members with complementary questions in visual communication.

CABE @ MUN – The student will be enrolled in the Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology program at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Advisors in this program are drawn from the Departments of Psychology, Biology, Ocean Sciences, the Environmental Science Division (Grenfell) and Marine Institute. Adjunct Professors from Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife and Forestry Divisions and Parks Canada also contribute to student supervision and teaching. Memorial University of Newfoundland hosts 3800 graduate students across more than 100 programs. The St. John’s campus is in the province’s capital city where a 10-minute bike ride can take you to historic fishing villages, breathtaking ocean views, or to the heart of downtown.

Start date – May 2021
Application deadline – November 15th 2020

Eligibility – For full funding (4 years at ~21,500 CAD/year), applicants must have a minimum 75% grade in their last 20 credit (equivalent to B+).

To apply – Please send a statement of interest describing your career goals and how this position would help you achieve them, a CV, and transcripts (unofficial) to pbitton@mun.ca. Furthermore, provide a first-authored publication reprint, manuscript in preparation, or a chapter of your MSc research for evaluation. Only applicants short-listed for interviews will be contacted.

The successful applicant should have completed an MSc by the start date, and has strong work ethics. Previous fieldwork with birds and knowledge of electronics are assets but not required. Our lab highly values diversity of ideas and cultures. We are an inclusive group that respects individual differences and provides an equitable work environment. Because of current travel restrictions and difficulties for international students with obtaining the required visas, Canadian citizens will be given priority.

Pierre-Paul Bitton – Department of Psychology, Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology
www.visualecologymun.net

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Graduate Student Positions (MSc, PhD) in Marine Habitat Mapping and Species Distribution Modeling. Closing date: January 15, 2021.

The 4D OCEANS Lab at the Marine Institute of Memorial University, St John’s, NL, Canada, is looking to recruit two graduate students (1 MSc, 1 PhD) with interest in marine habitat mapping and/or species distribution modelling.  These positions will examine the role that benthic habitats play in controlling shifting patterns in species and biodiversity at fine (MSc) and broad (PhD) spatial scales in the North West Atlantic and/or Canadian Arctic Gateway.  Geomorphological terrain variables derived from seafloor bathymetric data sets can be highly valuable as proxy for environmental drivers of species and habitat distributions.  By including additional environmental variables such as those derived from oceanographic models, species-environment relationships can be modelled and it becomes possible to predict how marine species and ecosystems may respond to specific changes (e.g. climate change, ocean acidification, human activities).

Required skills include a quantitative background in marine ecology or biology, and familiarity with a programming language (e.g. R).  Previous experience acquiring or processing acoustic or video data will be considered a strong asset.

For more information, please Katleen Robert (Katleen.robert@mi.mun.ca) with a CV and a cover letter stating your main research interests.

Closing date: January 15, 2021
Prospective start date: May 2021
Please visit: https://www.mi.mun.ca/graduateopportunities/

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PhD position: University of Lethbridge, amphibian population genomics

The Lee-Yaw Lab at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada is looking to recruit a PhD student to work on population genomic analyses in amphibians.

Currently funded projects are focused on the long-toed salamander (although there may be opportunities to work on other amphibian species in Alberta). Existing tissue samples in the lab can support a number of dissertation topics in ecological genomics including testing evolutionary explanations for range limits, exploring the effects of wildfire on amphibian genetic structure and gene flow, examining hybrid zone dynamics and cytonuclear interactions, and testing phylogeographic hypotheses for historical range dynamics. The data collected will also support applied conservation projects, including reintroductions to high-elevation sites where the species has been extirpated by fish stocking programs. Students will have the opportunity to interact with our collaborators at other institutions and with Parks Canada. There is scope to eventually pair the genomic data with other types of data (field or lab experiments or GIS modelling) depending on the student’s interests and available funding. However, please note that there is heavy emphasis on molecular data collection at the outset.
Lethbridge is a smaller, affordable city with an active university community. We are about 2 hours south of Calgary and have fantastic hiking, skiing, and other recreational opportunities close by, with Waterton Lakes National Park, and Castle Provincial Park both being ~1.5 hours away.
Instructions for applying:
Prior experience generating and analyzing genetic data is essential. Priority will be given to candidates who have experience with next-generation sequencing (library preparation and/or bioinformatics).
If you are interested in applying, please send me an email at julie.leeyaw@uleth.ca to discuss next steps. Note that the earliest start date is January 1 (in which case a formal application must be submitted to U of L by October 1) but a May or Sept start is preferred. Applicants will be encouraged to apply for external stipend support.
Please use the subject line “Graduate Studies” and include 1) a brief statement of research interests, 2) relevant experience, 3) a current CV, 4) unofficial copies of academic transcripts, and 5) preferred start date.
The Lee-Yaw lab is committed to diversity and inclusion and welcomes applications from students with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences.
Additional Information:
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PHD POSITION IN QUANTITATIVE ECOLOGY. Application deadline: October 15th, 2020.

Research project: Impact of humans on the scaling of the biodiversity – ecosystem functioning relationship

Program: Ph.D. in Biology

Location: McGill University

Start date:  Winter 2021.

Stipend: 21,000$/year for 4 years.

Supervisors: Dr. Andrew Gonzalez (McGill) and Dr. Elise Filotas (Université du Québec)

We are seeking an excellent candidate to undertake a Ph.D. research project on the impact of humans on the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship at different spatial scales.

Project summary:  Positive biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) relationships have been reported in numerous experimental studies carried out mainly over short spatial and temporal scales, but it remains uncertain how this relationship varies over larger scales. Understanding BEF across scales requires considering the impact that humans have on patterns of biodiversity through changes in land-use and fragmentation, and on ecosystem functions through nutrient additions, harvesting or pollutant contamination. This Ph.D. project will determine how anthropogenic changes in forest ecosystems affect the way in which BEF relationships scale across space and time.

As part of this project, the candidate will carry out both remote sensing analysis and ecosystem modelling. The student will employ statistical approaches to assess biodiversity and productivity from LiDAR data available across Quebec’s forest landscapes. The student will also use a spatially explicit model of forest dynamics to investigate the impact of different land-use and climate change scenarios on tree species distribution and measures of ecosystem function, such as wood production and carbon storage over multi-decadal timescales.

Expertise/ Profile required

  • Sc. in biological sciences or related discipline
  • Strong quantitative or mathematical background
  • Strong programming skills (R or python).
  • GIS and remote sensing skills an asset.
  • Independent, rigorous and excellent organizational skills
  • Fluency in written and spoken English

To apply, please send a cover letter describing your research background, interests, and qualifications; a copy of your most recent transcript; plus, a complete curriculum vitae and contact information for at least two references to andrew.gonzalez@mcgill.ca and elise.filotas@teluq.ca

Only short-listed candidates will be notified.
Note that priority will be given to Canadian residents because of immigration restrictions due to COVID.

Application deadline: Deadline for registration in Dept. of Biology at McGill is October 15th, 2020. https://www.mcgill.ca/biology/graduate-studies/prospective-graduate-students

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 Master’s and PhD positions in quantitative forest insect ecology

Location: Toronto (UofT) and Montreal (McGill and UQAM)

Start Date: January 2021

Application deadline: August 31, or until suitable candidates are found

We are searching for quantitatively-oriented, enthusiastic, and creative students to tackle problems related to the spatial ecology of forest insect outbreaks. Selected students will have the opportunity to work with a diverse and collaborative research team examining the spatial and temporal dynamics of spruce budworm outbreaks in eastern Canada. Team members include Patrick James (U. Toronto), Dan Kneeshaw (UQAM), Brian Leung (McGIll), Elise Filotas (TELUQ), Mathieu Bouchard (MFFPQ), Deepa Pureswaran (NRCAN-CFS), and Rob Johns (NRCAN-CFS).

The focal subject of this work is the outbreak dynamics of the spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana), a native defoliator that affect millions of hectares of coniferous forest during outbreaks. Despite nearly a century of research, there remain many outstanding mysteries associated with budworm outbreaks and their effects on forests. Developing greater understanding of these underlying population dynamics is essential to improve forecasting and for developing proactive sustainable forest management strategies.

Two projects are available. The general questions associated with these projects are: 1) what determines where, when, and the rate at which populations of spruce budworm increase? 2) How will future climate and forest management regimes affect future outbreak risk and severity?

Both projects will involve leveraging large spatial-temporal databases on forest insect outbreaks to develop predictive statistical, machine learning, and spatially explicit simulation models of outbreak dynamics.

Potential students should have an strong interest in developing skills and expertise in forestry, ecology, scientific computing (e.g., R), GIS, statistics, and modelling. Pre-existing expertise in these areas would be an asset

To apply, please send a short letter of motivation, a current CV, recent transcripts, and the names of two references as a single PDF to Dr. Patrick James at patrick.james@utoronto.ca

We encourage all qualified students to apply. Final selection will however give preference to Canadian citizens and permanent residents given current COVID-19 related uncertainty around international travel.

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Graduate student and postdoc positions in plant ecology and plant conservation in Canada

The McCune lab at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, is looking for graduate students or postdoctoral fellows interested in plant ecology and plant conservation in Canada.

Potential projects include: analyzing the influence of habitat amount on the probability of occurrence of rare species, measuring genetic variation between isolated rare plant populations, modeling habitat suitability for rare plants across a landscape, and experimental rare plant translocations. Some projects require fieldwork while others involve GIS or lab-based work only. Fieldwork will occur primarily in southern Ontario or in southern Alberta.

The University of Lethbridge is a smaller University with a vibrant community of scientists. Lethbridge is a very affordable and friendly city only 2.5 hours from Calgary, and only 1.5 hours from stunning mountain Parks, including Waterton Lakes National Park and Castle Wilderness Provincial Park.

If you are interested, please email Jenny McCune (jl.mccune (at) uleth.ca) and tell me about your research interests and experiences. Include your CV and unofficial transcripts.

I am committed to diversity and inclusion and I welcome applications from students with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences.

Additional Information:

website: https://jlmccune.weebly.com/
U of L Biological Sciences: https://www.uleth.ca/artsci/biological-sciences
U of L Graduate Studies: https://www.uleth.ca/future-student/graduate-studies/

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Funded MSc and PhD positions in avian evolutionary physiology

About the projects

We are seeking 1-2 MSc/PhD students interested in avian evolutionary physiology. Areas of research include: the impact of temperature during development on adult physiology, climatic warming as a constraint on activity in wild birds, and understanding the fine-scale movement of individuals using of automated radio-telemetry. Specific thesis topics are flexible, and you are encouraged to contribute your ideas.

Requirements

You should have an interest in animal physiology/evolutionary physiology. Experience and/or interest in use of R would be an asset (although not required). To apply for an MSc, you will require a B.Sc. Hons (or equivalent) in Biology or a related field. PhD applicants will require a completed MSc or equivalent, by the start date. Positions are open to Canadian citizens or permanent residents, but strong international candidates are encouraged to apply. We seek a diversity of ideas and perspectives in the lab, so we especially welcome applicants from under-represented groups.

Funding

The minimum stipend for an MSc student is $19,274 for each of 2 years; a PhD student is $21,274 for each of 4 years. Students holding external funding are particularly encouraged to apply.

Interested in applying?

Send an email, with your CV and a brief statement of research interests to: Gary Burness, Professor, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada (garyburness@trentu.ca). Enquires are welcome.

Start date: Jan 2021. Applications will be considered until positions are filled.

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Graduate assistantship in fish conservation genomics

The Mandeville Lab in the University of Guelph Department of Integrative Biology is recruiting a MSc student to study hybridization in Catostomus fishes (suckers) in the Gunnison River Basin, Colorado, USA.

Hybridization following species introductions or disturbance can pose a threat to imperiled native species and presents a challenge for conservation and management. The student recruited for this MSc position will use genomic data to evaluate the efficacy of a fisheries management intervention designed by Colorado fisheries biologists to prevent hybridization of threatened native species with introduced species by excluding introduced species from important spawning habitat. Work will involve generating and analyzing genomic data for adult spawners and larval fish, and identifying the extent of hybridization in larval fish cohorts from before and after the intervention. We will also assess longitudinal trends in ancestry of larval fish along the length of the spawning tributary to identify how far parental species migrate to spawn.

Research in the Mandeville lab focuses generally on describing evolutionary processes using computational approaches and large genomic datasets. Understanding evolutionary processes is essential for identifying how biodiversity arises and is maintained, and is also crucial for conservation of threatened species. We work primarily on fish and in aquatic systems, and many of our projects feature collaboration with conservation and management agencies. This specific project is funded by and in collaboration with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Applicants with interests in fisheries genetics, conservation, evolutionary biology, ecology, or related  fields are encouraged to apply. Desired qualifications include the ability to balance working independently and collaboratively, excellent work habits, and strong writing skills. This project will involve extensive work with large genomic datasets and high performance computing. No prior computational experience is required, but applicants must be willing to learn and excited about building their computational skills. Due to fiscal constraints, Canadian students (including permanent residents) will be given priority.

To apply, please send a letter of interest, CV/resume, transcript (unofficial is fine), and contact information for three references to Dr. Liz Mandeville, emandevi@uoguelph.ca. The Mandeville Lab is committed to increasing and supporting diversity in STEM, and members of underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Preferred start date is September 2020, but some flexibility is possible in terms of start date or initial remote work. For more information about the lab, please see https://mandevillelab.uoguelph.ca.

 

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