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
- 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
- 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 (email@example.com), by January 28, 2022.