Ph.D. project in plant ecology – Comparison of approaches for assessing ecological restoration in afforested riparian zones

Project summary: Tree planting is a technique commonly used worldwide to restore riparian zones in agricultural landscapes. The ecological processes favoring the successful restoration of riparian plant communities remain however poorly understood. This project will be based on one summer campaign of botanical surveys in riparian zones that will be compared to surveys carried out in the same sites in 2011. This comparison will allow to determine the mechanisms of plant succession governing the restoration of forest communities using taxonomic and trait-based approaches. A meta-analysis based on a database already available and including several hundreds of articles is also planned to identify relevant research perspectives for optimizing the restoration and sustainable management of riparian plant communities.

Supervisor: Pr Bérenger Bourgeois, Department of Plant Sciences, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada (Google Scholar)
Co-supervisor: Pr Monique Poulin, Department of Plant Sciences, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada (ResearchGate)
Main collaborator: Dr Eduardo González, Department of Biology, Colorado State University, CO, USA (Google Scholar, ResearchGate)

Beginning of the project: September 2022

Desired skills:

  • Master’s degree in ecology, biology or any other related discipline considered relevant
  • Interest in botany, plant community ecology and restoration ecology
  • Aptitude or strong interest in biostatistics, data analysis and scientific writing
  • Taste for fieldwork
  • A first experience in scientific research is an asset

Grant: 21 000 Can$/year for 3 years. Students are encouraged to apply for scholarships.

References:
González E., Felipe-Lucia M.R., Bourgeois B., Boz B., Nilsson C., Palmer G., Sher A.A. 2017. Integrative conservation of riparian zones. Biological Conservation 211B, 20-29.
Bourgeois B., Vanasse A., González E., Andersen R. and Poulin M. 2016. Threshold dynamics in plant succession after tree planting in agricultural riparian zones. Journal of Applied Ecology 53, 1704-1713.
Bourgeois B., González E., Vanasse A., Aubin I. and Poulin M. 2016. Spatial processes structuring riparian plant communities in agroecosystems: implications for restoration. Ecological Applications 26, 2103-2115.
Bourgeois B., Vanasse A., Rivest D., Poulin M. 2016. Establishment success of trees planted in riparian buffer zones along an agricultural intensification gradient. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 222, 60-66.

To apply, send a cover letter explaining your interests, a CV and a copy of your university transcripts along with the contact details of three references before June 30, 2022 to Bérenger Bourgeois at berenger.bourgeois.1@ulaval.ca

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Evaluating post-harvest composition of forest stands in the context of global changes

Ph.D. thesis: A 4-year scholarship is available at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (Rimouski, Qc). The candidate must be willing to further their knowledge in forest dynamics, modelling and remote sensing. The call for candidates will be open until the position is filled.

Context: The forests of Eastern Quebec have undergone important compositional changes over the last century, mainly due to anthropic disturbances. The key to understanding these changes is to have a better knowledge of forest dynamics, and in particular post-harvest regeneration. Although there are certain tools such as the SUCCES-2009 regeneration simulator to evaluate the composition of cut blocks after harvest, there remains several unknowns to understand the links between pre-harvest compositions and post-harvest vegetation composition, in the context of global change.

Description: Under the direction of Robert Schneider, the candidate will have to develop tools to evaluate the regeneration of a cut block (quantity and spatial distribution) using biophysical data such as composition prior to harvesting and of the bordering forests, and position within the landscape. The person will also have to use remote sensing to evaluate the composition and spatial variation of the cut blocks. A 21 000 $/year scholarship is available for 4 years. The candidate will be co-directed by Emmanuel Duchateau (Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks) in collaboration with Luc Sirois (Université du Québec à Rimouski).

Qualifications :

  • M.Sc. in forest sciences, biology, or environmental sciences
  • Experience with R is a plus
  • Good writing skills, and willing to work in a French environment

Interested persons should send a letter of interest, résumé and the names and contact information of 2 references to:

Robert Schneider
Professor in forest management and silviculture
Université du Québec à Rimouski
robert_schneider@uqar.ca

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BIOSCAN: Transforming Biodiversity Science – 20 postdoctoral fellowships, 5 graduate studentships

The International Barcode of Life Consortium (iBOL) is coordinating a series of research programs that will
register all multicellular species and activate a global biosurveillance system within 25 years. BIOSCAN, its
current program, is an 8-year, $180 million effort involving organizations in 40 nations. Its scientific work
focuses on three major themes – species discovery, interactions, and dynamics. This work will be advanced
by exploiting the latest developments in DNA sequencing, AI, data science, and machine learning. This
scientific work will support important applications designed to improve the sustainability of agriculture,
forestry, and mining. Furthermore, BIOSCAN aims to ensure its science influences society through policy
change. Further details are available at: https://ibol.org/programs/bioscan/
Because BIOSCAN’s activities are rapidly expanding in Canada and internationally, this is the perfect time
to join an enterprise that will transform our understanding of biodiversity and our capacity to manage it.

We seek 25 early career researchers (ECRs) to join us in leading Canada’s contribution to BIOSCAN.
• 20 postdoctoral fellows (2- or 3-year appointments).
• 5 graduate students (MSc/PhD level).

Click here for more information.

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CSEE Excellence in Doctoral Research Award 2022

Deadline for receipt of application materials: April 1, 2022

Award Description: The CSEE Excellence in Doctoral Research Award showcases excellent Ph.D. student research in ecology and evolution from society members. The selection committee will consider applications through the lens of CSEE’s Diversity and Inclusivity Statement and draft Code of Ethics. Five awardees will receive a $600 award and an invitation to present their doctoral research during the Graduate Student Award Symposium at the annual meeting. In addition, awardees are eligible to receive up to $1,100 allowance to assist with travel and participation in the annual CSEE meeting. For example, childcare services are considered an eligible expense for the allowance.

Eligibility: Applicants must be: 1) registered in a PhD program within the year of application (2022), 2) be in an advanced stage of their dissertation (i.e., final two years), and 3) a member of CSEE at the time of application. Applicants should have advanced to candidacy, but should not have completed their degree requirements as of December 31st, 2021. Individuals who have completed degree requirements as of December 31st, 2021 are encouraged to apply for the CSEE Early Career Award instead. There is no citizenship or residence requirement for this award. Candidates must adhere to the draft CSEE Code of Ethics. Applicants from last year who were not selected for the award, but still meet the eligibility criteria, are encouraged to re-apply.

Application materials: Applicants must apply directly. Established researchers may encourage doctoral students to apply but, in order to show their consent, nominees/applicants must apply directly. Applications must contain all of the following supporting materials in the stated order:

  1. A completed Applicant Awards Declaration Form (Doctoral Award version).
  2. Thesis Summary (300 words maximum): A summary of the applicant’s thesis, including how their research advances the state of knowledge in their field.
  3. Relevant Activities (250 words maximum): Describe any professional and extracurricular activities that demonstrate your communication and leadership skills.
  4. Select Contributions (1 page maximum): Using three headings, highlight
    (i) peer-reviewed papers,
    (ii) talks and/or posters, and
    (iii) other accomplishments.
    The applicant must remove their name from all publications and replace it with “Applicant”, in bold.
    1. Peer-reviewed papers include those that are published, in review or revision (include the submission number) and pre-prints (include a DOI).
      1. NOTE: this is a change from previous years.
  1. Talks and/or posters can include conference talks, invited talks, seminars, and panels.
  2. Other accomplishments: this can include any additional accomplishments the students want to highlight. This work should not simply repeat what is reported in the “Relevant Activities” section, though we expect there to be overlap.
    1.  NOTE: this is a change from previous years.

Letter of Reference: One letter of support (1 page maximum) from your PhD advisor or a committee member is required for each applicant. Letters should speak to the criteria listed above and should clearly state that the applicant is close to completion of their thesis. Letters must not contain the name of the applicant, but rather non-identifying terms such as “The Applicant”, or similar. For example, “The applicant has been a member of my lab…”.

Submitting Your Application: Sections 2 through 4 should be submitted as a single pdf file with the filename “lastname_firstinitial_CSEE_PhDaward.pdf”, along with Section 1 (Declaration Form) to cseestudent@gmail.com (e.g., Smith_J_CSEE_PhDaward.pdf).

The letter of support should be submitted directly from the referee to the same email address (cseestudent@gmail.com) and should have the same format as the application with “_Letter” added to the end (e.g., Smith_J_CSEE_PhDAward_Letter.pdf). All materials are due by the deadline indicated above. We will respond to each email to confirm receipt within one week.

Please note: The name (first or last) of the applicant must not appear anywhere within the application other than the file names. This anonymization is meant to reduce bias during the evaluation process. Failure to properly anonymize applications could result in disqualification.

Other Important Information

Successful applicants will give a 30-minute talk (23 minute talk and 7-minute question period and transition) in the Graduate Student Award Symposium, and will not be able to give a separate talk during the conference. Awardees can present a poster if space is available. Successful applicants must respond to accept the award and confirm their registration within one week of notification. Successful applicants will be ineligible for Student/Post-doc travel awards as they are already eligible for an allowance to assist with travel costs.

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Call for applications, MSc project on microbial community dynamics

Predicting microbial community dynamics in subsurface aquifer ecosystems

Microbial communities are dynamic ecosystems, constantly shifting in terms of diversity, structure and function, as a response to environmental fluctuations and to species interactions. However, we still lack a good understanding of how key functions of microbial ecosystem are maintained under such fluctuations. We are inviting applications from students interested in combining ecological models with sequence data from microbial DNA in aquifer systems to predict microbial community dynamics in fluctuating environmental conditions.

Aquifers are composed of groundwater flowing through particles and rocks, containing a vast diversity of microbial populations either living in the water, or attached to the rock surfaces. As water seeps from the surface (originating from rainfall or snowmelt), it brings new microbes and nutrients with it to the underground layers. Thus, aquifer ecosystems are faced with fluctuating water, nutrient, carbon and oxygen availability, and impacted by changing physico-chemical, geochemical and geological conditions. These fluctuations impact microbial community dynamics by shaping networks of microbial species interactions whether they are positive (mutualism), or negative (competition, predation, parasitism). The research will involve combining sequence data already obtained from microbial DNA in aquifer systems in Quebec with dynamic models of microbial species interactions including facilitation and competition for resources. The goal will be to predict dynamic relationships between aquifer microbial community structure and ecosystem functions under fluctuating environments.

The successful candidate will be co-supervised by prof. Cassandre Lazar (Université du Québec à Montréal) and prof. Frederic Guichard (McGill University) and benefit from a stimulating research and training environment at both institutions located downtown Montreal. We encourage applications at the MSc level but students interested in a PhD are also welcome to apply. We also encourage applications from candidate eligible for funding from major external fellowship programs.

Please submit you application including your CV, a statement of research interests, and the contact information of 3 references to:

Cassandre Lazar : lazar.cassandre@uqam.ca, and

Frédéric Gichard: fred.guichard@mcgill.ca

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MSC AND PHD OPPORTUNITY: Structures and functions of bryophytes in the boreal-temperate ecotone

We are investigating the diversity, assemblage, functional traits related to carbon and nitrogen cycling, microbiota composition, and adaptive potential of bryophyte communities (primarily forest floor mosses) at the southern margin of the boreal forest in the Wabanaki-Acadian Forest of New Brunswick. Using natural gradients in forest composition (deciduous to coniferous forest) and moisture between the coast and inland, we will: (1) characterize the composition, functional traits, and biomass of bryophyte communities in coastal and inland red spruce forests, (2) describe temporal variation in moss microbiota and associated nitrogen fixation, (3) determine how bryophytes and their microbiota interact under different forest cover types, and (4) assess the adaptive potential of coastal and inland bryophytes.

We are looking for candidates with a passion for plant ecology and plant-microbiota interactions to start one MSc project and one PhD project starting in the summer or fall 2022. The positions will be based primarily at Université de Moncton (New Brunswick) under the supervision of Professor Mélanie Jean (https://melaniejeanecology.weebly.com/) with a possibility of co-supervision by Professor Isabelle Laforest-Lapointe at Université de Sherbrooke (Quebec, https://www.laforestlab.ca/), two francophone universities. Knowledge of the French language is necessary for admission to U. Moncton, but not to U. Sherbrooke.

Interested? Send (1) a letter of interest, (2) a CV, (3) an unofficial transcript and (4) contact information for 3 references to Mélanie Jean (melanie.jean@umoncton.ca). Review of applications will begin on March 1, 2022 and will end when positions are filled. Individuals from underrepresented groups in research are encouraged to apply.  The scholarship offered is $21,000/year for 4 years for a PhD and $17,500/year for 2 years for a MSc. We offer an inclusive, equitable, respectful, and open-minded environment.

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PhD project with scholarship – Forests, Carbon-Nitrogen Fluxes and Microbial Metagenomics in Floodplain

A look at the functional genes of soil microbes!

Microbial communities are key players for the recycling of soil organic nitrogen and carbon and their return under inorganic forms into the atmosphere and the hydrosphere. By its mere presence, the tree provides a structured, oxygenated and sustainable habitat modulating soil microbial communities and their efficiency in recycling carbon and nitrogen in different forms with contrasting consequences for climate feedback. In a floodplain, the presence of the tree could prevent a strong emission of methane and carbon dioxide by promoting methanotrophy and the respiration efficiency of organic matter, and of nitrous oxide and nitrate by promoting either the inhibition of nitrification or complete denitrification. To better highlight the role of the tree as a regulator of microbial functions, the project aims to analyze soil DNA by shotgun metagenomics along a land-use gradient of anthropogenic disturbance in the floodplain of Lake St-Pierre, where cultivated fields, permanent grasslands and swamps co-occur.

We are looking for a candidate who is passionate about microbial ecology and the biogeochemistry of carbon-nitrogen cycles. The student will work within a team of ecologists and molecular biologists located at the Laurentian Forestry Center of the Canadian Forest Service (Natural Resources Canada) and at the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières under the co-supervision of Christine Martineau (profile) and Vincent Maire (profile). The work will take place both in the field around Lac St-Pierre, recognized as a Ramsar site (info) and in the laboratory. Bioinformatics and statistical analyzes will be an important component of this project. She or he will be based at UQTR (Trois-Rivières) or at the Centre de Foresterie des Laurentides (Quebec) and will be affiliated with the Center for Northern Studies (website) and Center RIVE (website).

A scholarship of $22,000 per year (for four years) accompanies this project, but candidates who already have a major scholarship (e.g. CRSNG, FQRNT) or who will obtain it during the master’s degree may receive other benefits. The student will start in the summer or fall of 2022. If you are interested in this offer, send by March 15, 2022 to vincent.maire@uqtr.ca the following information: (1) your CV, (2) a transcript including the names of the courses (it may not be official), (3) a description of your research interests and career plan, and (4) the names and emails of two people who can provide an assessment of your ability to pursue a research doctorate.

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PhD Position in Plant Microbiome Research at Université de Montréal

Fascinated by microbiomes ?

The Lajoie lab at Université de Montréal (QC, Canada) is looking for a PhD student interested in studying the response of plant microbes to urbanization, with a start date of  September 2022. The position would be funded at 21,000$/year for 4 years.

This position is an opportunity for the successful applicant to:

  • contribute to the development of new research approaches to study the assembly of plant microbiota through space and time
  • develop cutting-edge skills in microbial ecology, molecular biology and bioinformatics
  • interact and collaborate with a dynamic community of students, professors and professionals working in plant biology and microbiology within the Institut de Recherche en Biologie Végétale and the BIOS2 network

Candidates interested in botany, ecology and/or microbiology and by the use of metabarcoding to study biodiversity are encouraged to apply!

The motivation of candidates in pursuing a PhD in this research domain and their interest and capacity to conduct research in a conscientious way will be specifically valued in applicants. An M.Sc. degree in a related discipline, a good academic record and familiarity with R programming will be considered assets. Applicants must be proficient in English and/or French and willing to work in a primarily French-speaking research institution.

Candidates from groups that are underrepresented in research are particularly encouraged to apply.


Interested ?

Send your CV, a letter of motivation describing your interests and experience in research and contact information for two references to Geneviève Lajoie (genevieve.lajoie@umontreal.ca) before February 20th, 2022.

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Graduate opportunities: (1) Sandhill Crane research in Ontario and Quebec (2) Avian and mammalian research in sagebrush ecosystems

The Fedy Lab of Wildlife and Molecular Ecology at the University of Waterloo is recruiting two graduate students at either the Master’s or PhD level. We have two exciting on-going projects that are described briefly below.

(1) Sandhill Crane research in Ontario and Quebec.
We are seeking an excellent student for a research project addressing important wildlife conservation issues for Sandhill Cranes. The research will be conducted in close collaboration with the Canadian Wildlife Service and contribute to on-going research investigating the ecology of Sandhill Cranes throughout Ontario and Quebec. The focus of the project will be determined in collaboration with the student but will include the analysis of GPS telemetry data and the potential to contribute to landowner surveys. The new student will work closely with a PhD student conducting movement and population analyses. There may be opportunities for field work throughout Ontario and Quebec.

(2) Avian and mammalian research in sagebrush ecosystems.
We are seeking an excellent student for a research project addressing important wildlife conservation issues for greater sage-grouse. The research will expand our on-going wildlife projects on sagebrush ecosystems in northeastern Wyoming. Spring and summer field work will be based out of Buffalo, Wyoming – at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains. The exact focus of the project will be determined in collaboration with the student, but could involve analysis of GPS telemetry data, camera trap data, or avian surveys. Students must have a strong work ethic, be able to thrive under physically challenging field situations, and must be comfortable supervising field crews in remote locations. The research will occur on public and private lands, experience interacting and working with landowners and producers is a plus.

The successful applicants will have a strong background in ecology and field-based research, excellent grades, and a passion for wildlife ecology and conservation. Students should have a background in statistics and/or a keen interest and willingness to learn sophisticated quantitative approaches to data analysis. Previous experience with statistical software such as R is preferred. The applicant should be competitive for scholarships such as NSERC and will be expected to apply for such opportunities. We, of course, welcome students who have secured external funding. Guaranteed funding is only available for domestic students.

Students will be supervised by Dr. Brad Fedy (fedylab.uwaterloo.ca) and will be integrated into our active and engaging research environment.

If interested, please email bfedy@uwaterloo.ca with subject line “Graduate Opportunities” no later than February 18, 2022. Please provide: (1) a cover letter detailing background and research interests; (2) CV including the names of 3 referees; and (3) unofficial transcripts from your previous degrees.

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