THREE Ph.D. POSITIONS AVAILABLE IN WHALE CONSERVATION GENOMICS

I have three Ph.D. positions starting in September 2021 (preferably), or January 2022 (if necessary). The three positions are as follows:

  1. Epigenetic effects of non-lethal entanglements in North Atlantic right whales. Assessing how methylation patterns change throughout the genomes in response to non-lethal entanglements, and how long such changes persist;
  2. Using ddRADSeq data to quantify the impact of inbreeding on health, survival, and recovery potential of North Atlantic right whales;
  3. Using genomic data to infer historic demography and estimate genetic load in North Atlantic right whales vs southern right whales.

I am located at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is a wonderful place to work and live. The right whale community is wonderful as well, and includes the New England Aquarium,  the Canadian Whale Institute, and the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium.

Please contact me (timothy.frasier@smu.ca) if you are interested, and include:
1. Which project you are interested in;
2. Why you are interested in it;
3. Why your background makes you appropriate to work on it; and
4. Your CV

Preference will go to applicants who already have M.Sc. degrees.

Thanks, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Tim Frasier
Google Scholar Profile: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=5RJvJ34AAAAJ&hl=en
website (a bit out of date, and in need of TLC): frasierlab.ca

 

 

 

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Graduate student position available (Master student)

Project description: Seeking graduate student with a keen interest in marine benthic community ecology. The project will characterize the spatial and temporal variation in soft-sediment macroinvertebrate communities in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland using contemporary and historical biological and environmental data. It will also build a reference database of DNA barcodes for macroinvertebrates. The main goal of this study is to create a baseline for assessing future environmental changes. It is a collaborative effort between Fisheries and Oceans Canada, NF (B. Neves) and University of Manitoba (P. Ramey-Balci).

The student will gain experience in DNA barcoding, microscopic identification of macroinvertebrate species, and multivariate statistical analysis of relatively large multi-year benthic data sets.

Requirements: Four-year Bachelor’s degree in Biology (B.Sc.), GPA 3.0 or higher.

Prior experience: All applicants will be considered. However, applicants with strong scientific writing skills and some laboratory experience in molecular techniques (e.g., DNA extraction, PCR) and/or macroinvertebrate identification will be given preference.

Start date: Program of study begins fall (September) 2021. However, a start date of Jan 2022 may be considered.

Funding: Two years of funding is available at Masters level.

Interested individuals should: Send a 1-page letter of interest (stating their motivation to pursue a M.Sc. and any research experience), CV/resume, and the contact information of two references by May 12, 2021 (or until position if filled) to:

Patricia Ramey-Balci
Assistant Professor
University of Manitoba
Department of Biological Sciences

Patricia.Ramey-Balci@umanitoba.ca

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Patricia-Ramey-Balci

After receiving supervisors support, it is anticipated that the applicant will submit an official application to the Graduate School in Biological Sciences at the University of Manitoba. Deadline for Canadian/US applicants is June 1, 2021 (for fall semester). https://umanitoba.ca/faculties/graduate_studies/admissions/programs/bio_sci.html

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Ph.D. positions (2): University of Saskatchewan – Movement ecology of American black ducks and eastern mallards

Description: Two Ph.D. studentships are available with Dr. Mitch Weegman in the Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan. The positions are part of the launch of the Ducks Unlimited Canada Endowed Chair in Wetland and Waterfowl Conservation (https://www.ducks.ca/our-work/science/saskatchewan-endowed-chair/). These projects comprise independent and integrated objectives because black ducks and mallards co-exist in the northern and mid-Atlantic Flyway. The students will use state-of-the-art tracking devices deployed on both species to conduct research in movement ecology and conservation planning.

These projects are international partnerships among the Black Duck Joint Venture, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, US Fish and Wildlife Service, The State University of New York-Brockport, University of Saskatchewan, Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy, and member states of the Atlantic Flyway (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia). Our primary project goals are to (1) quantify movements and wetland use during the breeding season, (2) quantify reproductive attempts, full-term incubation and brood-rearing, (3) assess the extent to which migration characteristics, proportion of time feeding, energy expenditure and habitat used during wintering, staging and the reproductive period explain variation in reproductive attempts, full-term incubation and brood-rearing, and (4) use the relationships identified in objectives 1-3 to link the annual cycle for holistic conservation planning. We anticipate deploying 500 units on black ducks and 600-800 units on mallards over a 4-year period. These units will generate millions of data points providing examples of individual decision-making.

Prerequisites: Ideal candidates will have an undergraduate and master’s degree in statistics, wildlife ecology or a closely related field, and interpersonal skills to lead discussions among collaborators. Preference will be given to those with a strong quantitative background (e.g., experience with Program R, Bayesian methods, spatial analysis), knowledge of migratory bird ecology and management, and field experience (e.g., handling birds, sampling aquatic vegetation). Students must have a valid driver’s license. The successful applicants will be expected to publish manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and present papers at scientific meetings.

Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (with field work in eastern Canada and US)

Salary and benefits:  Approximately $25,000 Canadian per year plus tuition.

Start date: September 2021

Last date to apply: 16 April 2021 or until a suitable candidate is selected

To be considered for this position, please send the following (preferably as a single PDF) to Dr. Mitch Weegman (weegmanm@missouri.edu):

(1) Letter of interest summarizing your experience, (2) Curriculum vitae or resume, (3) University transcripts (unofficial are fine), (4) Contact information for three references.

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Ph.D. position: University of Saskatchewan – Ascribing the importance of Atlantic brant staging areas for annual cycle conservation planning

Description: A Ph.D. studentship is available with Dr. Mitch Weegman in the Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan. This position is part of the launch of the Ducks Unlimited Canada Endowed Chair in Wetland and Waterfowl Conservation (https://www.ducks.ca/our-work/science/saskatchewan-endowed-chair/). The student will use state-of-the-art tracking devices deployed on Atlantic brant to conduct research in movement ecology and conservation planning.

This project is an international partnership among the Canadian Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Niskamoon Corporation, Eeyou Marine Region Wildlife Board, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Université du Québec à Rimouski, University of Delaware, and University of Saskatchewan. Our project goals are to (1) produce maps of locations and migratory routes of tagged Atlantic brant in James Bay and throughout the annual cycle, (2) work with local Cree community members along James Bay to visit tagged Atlantic brant locations and collect eelgrass to quantify eelgrass health, (3) use locational and behavioral data to describe the behavior of brant in specific habitats in James Bay (e.g., the proportion of time feeding versus resting) and link with variation in eelgrass health, and (4) assess the relationship between migration attributes (e.g., eelgrass health and distribution on staging areas, movements and behavior on staging versus wintering areas) and productivity for a full annual cycle perspective.

Based on >150 tracking devices already deployed on individuals (with ~100 more planned), we anticipate collation of millions of data points providing examples of individual decision-making. Using these data, the student will develop full annual cycle models of Atlantic brant movements and behavior for the first time, yielding novel opportunities for conservation planning. The student will spend substantial time working along eastern James Bay (Eeyou Istchee), in close collaboration with Cree community members.

Prerequisites: Ideal candidates will have an undergraduate and master’s degree in statistics, wildlife ecology or a closely related field, and interpersonal skills to lead discussions among collaborators. Preference will be given to those with a strong quantitative background (e.g., experience with Program R, Bayesian methods), knowledge of migratory bird ecology and management, field skills (e.g., handling birds, sampling aquatic vegetation), and experience working with First Nations communities. Students must have a valid driver’s license. The successful applicant will be expected to publish manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and present papers at scientific meetings.

Salary and benefits:  Approximately $25,000 Canadian per year plus tuition.

Start date: September 2021

Last date to apply: 16 April 2021 or until a suitable candidate is selected

To be considered for this position, please send the following (preferably as a single PDF) to Dr. Mitch Weegman (weegmanm@missouri.edu):

(1) Letter of interest summarizing your experience, (2) Curriculum vitae or resume, (3) University transcripts (unofficial are fine), (4) Contact information for three references.

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M.Sc. student position – Metabarcoding soil and litter invertebrates

The Schwarzfeld (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) and Kerr (uOttawa) labs invite applications for a motivated M.Sc. graduate student to contribute to a larger multidisciplinary research project investigating the role of natural capital in agricultural landscapes (e.g. riparian areas, hedgerows, forest stands) in supporting and maintaining ecosystem goods and services (e.g. biodiversity, soil health, pest control, etc.). The specific component of the M.Sc. project will involve investigating the soil and litter arthropod communities under different ecological conditions. Soil and litter-dwelling arthropods are incredibly diverse and play an important role in maintaining healthy and functioning soil ecosystems, and this work will provide key data in how best to manage agricultural landscapes while prioritizing soil health. 

The graduate student will be responsible for field sampling, lab-work and ecological analyses. We are envisioning a strong metabarcoding component to the study (sequencing Berlese extracts for mites and bulk samples or preservative ethanol from pitfall samples) and the student could also pick a taxonomic group according to their interests to include morphological and abundance data, and to validate the molecular data. There will also be opportunities to layer the data collected for this specific project onto data collected from the wider project, such as the above-ground vegetation, microclimates, and the microbiome and physico-chemical properties of the soil.  The student will be stationed at the Ottawa Research and Development Centre, with access to molecular labs, microscopes, and the millions of reference specimens housed at the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes. The research sites are all within a 40 minute drive of Ottawa.

  • Candidates must meet the admission criteria of the Department of Biological Sciences M.Sc. graduate program at the University of Ottawa
  • Candidates must have a valid driver’s licence
  • Preference will be given to applicants experienced with ecological theory, entomology, molecular techniques (e.g. DNA extractions, PCR), and/or bioinformatics and scripting.

Applicants should send a letter of motivation, CV, copy of academic transcripts and the names of three references to Marla Schwarzfeld (marla.schwarzfeld@canada.ca) with cc to Jeremy Kerr (jkerr@uottawa.ca).

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MSc Position Available: Environmental Contamination from the Use of Lead Ammunition

An MSc student opportunity is available to join a collaborative research project involving researchers at the National Wildlife Research Centre (a government facility of Environment and Climate Change Canada) and the Department of Biology at Carleton University.

The MSc student position is available starting in September 2021 to investigate contamination of harvested wildlife from the use of lead ammunition. While it is well-known lead shot contaminates harvested waterfowl, more recent studies indicate lead rifle bullets can also contaminate the meat of large game. Lead ammunition is a potential source of lead that contaminates country food because it breaks into small pieces on impact in harvested animals. This interdisciplinary MSc project will encompass both environmental and social science components and will be co-supervised by Dr. Vivian Nguyen (Social-Ecological Research and Applications Lab, Carleton University) and Dr. John Chételat (Environment and Climate Change Canada). Using an existing dataset, the student will characterize levels and sources of lead in tissues of monitored wildlife species that are important country foods. The student will also collect social science data on the use of lead ammunition to inform science to policy initiatives.

To apply, please email Dr. John Chételat (john.chetelat@canada.ca) with the following: 1) a cover letter briefly describing your career goals and how they align with the MSc opportunity, 2) a CV, 3) unofficial transcripts, and 4) names and contact information for two references. Review of applications will begin on April 1, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled.

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