MASTERS PROJECT IN FOREST ECOLOGY – Reconstruction of historical fire and logging regimes in white and red pine forests

Context and issues: Historically, white and red pine forests were common throughout the southern boreal, temperate, and Great Lakes and St. Lawrence forest regions. However, the cover and extent of their range has declined significantly due to changes in fire regime, unsustainable forest management practices, and increased mortality caused by the introduction of pathogens. To reverse this decline and preserve / restore these ecologically and economically important ecosystems, a research program aimed at developing an ecosystem-based management strategy for mixed and pure stands of white pine (Pinus strobus L.) and red pine (Pinus resinosa Ait.) at the northern limit of their distribution has been proposed. Understanding the factors that control fire dynamics and associated ecological processes at the local and regional scale, and through time are crucial for the development of conservation and restoration strategies for red and white pine-dominated forest ecosystems, and may also facilitate understanding of how these tree species may react to projected changes in climate and fire regime. The objective is to reconstruct historical fire (both high and low-severity fire events) and logging regimes to quantify their effects on forest structure and functionality over time, and by extension, assess ecosystem resilience to changes in climate and disturbance regime.

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MASTERS PROJECT IN FOREST ECOLOGY – Susceptibility of protected black ash stands to potential regulation of spring lake water level, northern Quebec: a biodiversity conservation issue

Context and problematic: Extremes in spring flooding have become an issue in northern regions of Canada. Recent data suggest that flood frequency and magnitude may have increased in the last decades after a period of relatively low spring water level. For example, the 2019 floods in northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec is unprecedented. As a result, the lakeside residents of Lake Duparquet would like the governmental authorities to implement a mitigation strategy including regulation of the lake spring water level. The proposed changes will affect both high and low water levels. At the same time, old, rare and protected stands of black ash trees are growing on the floodplains of Lake Duparquet. These stands, reaching the northern distribution limit of the species, are unique with trees more than 250 year old. Lake Duparquet is also one of the rare unregulated water body in the region. The project aims at defining the potential consequences of a change in hydrological regime (low and high water level) on black ash stands located on the floodplain of Lake Duparquet. Fieldwork will take place in northern Quebec and will involve measuring attributes of black ash stands, looking at indicator vegetation and age structure. It will also involve using remote sensing tools for mapping. Could water level regulation lead to the contraction and slow disappearance of these stands or could they be able to maintain themselves and, if so, under which conditions?

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2 PhD positions, University of Toronto, Scarborough campus

2 PhD positions are available to join the Laboratory of Quantitative Global Change Ecology, (https://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/labs/molnar/) in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto (https://eeb.utoronto.ca/education/graduate/), Scarborough campus (https://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/biosci/welcome-biological-sciences), starting in spring or fall 2021.

Successful applicants will work on theoretical, empirical, and applied aspects of how climate change and land use change impact host-parasite dynamics, with Position 1 focusing more strongly on theoretical, computational, and modelling aspects, and Position 2 focusing more strongly on empirical and applied aspects using select model systems (e.g., winter ticks & ungulates in Yukon; tapeworms & foxes in Ontario; helminths & large mammals in Costa Rica).

Applicants for either position should have strong quantitative, organizational, and writing skills, and should be highly motivated to work at the interface of ecological modelling and ecological data collection. Applicants for Position 1 should have a strong background in mathematical & statistical modelling, with field experience being an asset. Applicants for Position 2 should have field experience and a strong background in population ecology, with some familiarity with ecological modelling being an asset.

To apply, please email me (peter.molnar@utoronto.ca) (i) your CV, (ii) unofficial transcripts of all past and ongoing studies, and (iii) a one-page statement that outlines your academic background, qualifications, and interest in one or both of the advertised positions. Due to the ongoing pandemic related travel limitations, Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents are especially encouraged to apply, but outstanding international applicants will also be considered.

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Four year PhD-fellowship in forest resilience to climate change At the University of British Columbia (UBC)

We are seeking a highly motivated person to conduct research that addresses impacts of climate change on forests in western Canada. Increasing frequency and intensity of drought is causing wide-spread mortality and reduced health. At the same time, warming causes changes in tree phenology that may increase the risk of frost damage. The successful candidate will analyze data from long-term forest experiments designed to evaluate tree competition, tree species and genetic quality in British Columbia (BC), Canada. Annual growth variations will be linked to climatic extremes and the anatomy of the wood will be linked to underlying mechanisms. Results will guide forest management interventions to increase forest resilience to climate warming and extremes. The position will be supervised by Dr. David Montwé at the University of British Columbia – Department of Forest Resources Management.

What we offer

  • Commitment to excellence, diversity and impact
  • Mentorship and support in an expanding team
  • A competitive salary and support for scholarships
  • Training in statistics and experimental design, laboratory techniques and reproducible research
  • Participation in scientific conferences and meetings
  • Collaboration with end-users in government and industry

Required qualifications, skills and aptitudes

  • Meeting of UBC Forestry’s admission requirements for PhD programs
  • A Master’s degree (or graduation before September 2021) in forest science, forestry, environmental science, geography, biology or related fields
  • Ability to contribute to a positive environment in an inclusive and diverse team
  • Ability to work independently and in a team
  • Taking pride in accurate and quality work
  • Commitment to safety in field and laboratory work
  • Excellent verbal and written English skills

Beneficial qualifications

  • Experience in data analysis including R, ArcGIS or similar programs
  • Experience in writing and publishing of peer-reviewed articles
  • Driver’s license and willingness to lead fieldwork in remote locations across BC
  • Willingness to participate in mentoring undergraduate research assistants

Please send your application including a cover letter, CV, academic transcripts, and contact information for three references by email to david.montwe@ubc.ca.

We will begin reviewing applications on January 11th, 2021, and will continue until the position is filled. The anticipated starting date for this position is September 1st, 2021. A pool of qualified candidates for other opportunities may be established.

About UBC

The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC’s entrepreneurial spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. UBC encourages its students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.

About UBC’s Faculty of Forestry

UBC’s Faculty of Forestry tackles complex issues of regional and global natural resource conservation and sustainable approaches to forest management. Comprising of three departments, Forest Resources Management, Forest Sciences and Conservation, and Wood Sciences, each offers a variety of inspiring undergraduate and graduate programs across a broad range of fields. We equip students with the necessary skills needed in research, collaboration, and innovation to succeed in their career paths. From forest operations, to wood processing, to conservation, to urban forestry – the possibilities are limitless.

About Vancouver

Vancouver is a dynamic, cosmopolitan and progressive city, consistently ranked as one of the top cities to live in the world. Canada’s third largest city has it all: sea, parks, mountains, beaches, and four seasons per year, including beautiful summers and mild, wet winters with snow in the mountains. It’s the perfect backdrop to your academic research.

Reference Number

Please mention reference number CSEE-54579 in all your correspondence about this Doctoral student position.

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