MSc opportunity: Effect of forest cover loss on microclimates and native bees in agricultural landscapes

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate to conduct research on the effects of forest cover loss on both native bees and the availability of microclimates in agricultural landscapes. Variations in forest cover in agricultural landscapes introduce thermal heterogeneity that can affect habitat suitability for many organisms, including solitary cavity-nesting bees. Given climate change, a key knowledge gap remains on the role of forest cover in providing microclimatic refugia, especially for native bee species. The candidate will conduct landscape-scale field research in Eastern Ontario to address these gaps and advance the science around microclimates and their role in supporting native bee communities.

The successful candidate will be co-mentored by Dr. Ilona Naujokaitis-Lewis (National Wildlife Research Centre, Environment and Climate Change Canada) and Dr. Jessica Forrest (University of Ottawa), and be based at the Forrest Lab at the University of Ottawa’s Department of Biology. The candidate will have the opportunity to conduct field research on native bees at the landscape scale, develop spatial analytical expertise, and work in a collaborative space with both government and academic scientists to advance applied research objectives. This project will provide the candidate with exceptional learning and training opportunities that will be relevant for future employment or additional graduate studies.

Qualifications/requirements include (1) B.Sc. in biology or another relevant field, with coursework in Ecology and Statistics; (2) interest in gaining empirical and modeling skills; (3) desire to perform field work under a range of conditions (mainly summer); (4) an ability to work independently and collaboratively; (5) full G driver’s license at the time of fieldwork. The position is open to Canadians and permanent residents of Canada only. Anticipated start dates: Sept 2021, or Jan 2021. Depending on the candidate’s ability and interest, the project could be expanded into a PhD. We will consider applications on a rolling basis until a candidate has been selected.

M.Sc. students in Biology at the University of Ottawa receive an annual stipend of $19 500 for two years, of which approximately 50% is paid in the form of teaching assistantships (up to 130 hours of TA work per term during the fall and winter terms). Students with an incoming GPA of at least 8.0 (on a 10-point scale) receive an additional $2000 per term for the first four terms (=1.33 years) of the program.

To apply send: (1) a cover letter that explains how your research and experience aligns with the skills and research activities listed above, (2) a CV or resume, including your GPA and relevant experience, and (3) a list of two references and contact info, to both Ilona Naujokaitis-Lewis ( and Jessica Forrest (