MSc or PhD student opportunities in Wetland Research

Project title: Biomonitoring and management strategies for wetlands: developing indicators and practices that support yield, biodiversity, and ecosystem services on prairie landscapes.

This is a joint collaboration with Christy Morrissey (Professor, Dept of Biology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK), Shathi Akhter, (Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Indian Head, SK) and Michael Fitzsimmons Protected Areas biologist (Environment and Climate Change Canada, Saskatoon, SK).

Start Date: Sept 2022 or Jan 2023

Project background: Wetlands are endemic throughout the prairie region and provide benefits such as attenuating runoff, enhancing pollinators, recharging groundwater and sustaining waterfowl.  However, wetlands are often regarded as barriers to crop production due to reduced cropland acreage and decreasing efficiency in field operations. Many wetlands have been drained, cropped or degraded by pesticides, excess nutrients, and disturbance from farming practices. Consequently, prairie wetlands are declining in both numbers and health. This project aims to:

1) Assess multiple indicator metrics (invertebrate community, water quality, cyanobacteria, carbon flux) that reflect long and short-term agrochemical, disturbance, and climatic stress in Prairie wetlands

2) Experimentally assess community-level response and adaptation to chronic pesticide and nutrient stress

2)  Determine the effects of  retention and improvement of still existing wetlands rather than recovering lost ones.

3) Quantify the productivity and  ecosystem goods and services values (and costs) of retaining farm level wetlands

4) Determine the efficacy of Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) for managing wetlands on farm

Learning opportunities: The MSc or PhD student will be part of a large and diverse interdisciplinary team with great networking and skill development opportunities with government, NGOs and various stakeholders. The student will have the opportunity to conduct both lab and fieldwork and will gain experience in a variety of tools and techniques (biological field experiments, aquatic insect, pollinator and other beneficial insect sampling and identification, soil carbon, other nutrients, and greenhouse gas sampling and analysis).

Funding: This project will provide a fully funded student stipend of $22,500/year with the opportunity to TA to earn additional support.

Application: Qualified students are invited to apply to the Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan in Dr. Christy Morrissey’s lab Christy.morrissey@usask.ca

We are looking for students with interest in Agriculture/ Environmental Science/Freshwater biology. The applicant must have a Bachelor’s and/or MSc degree relevant to biology, agriculture, or environmental science areas. A solid academic background and excellent English written and oral communication skills are required. A valid driving license is essential. Field research experience and statistical analyses skills would be an asset.

If interested, please submit a cover letter, CV, academic transcript (unofficial) and the names and contact details of 2-3 references. Persons residing in Canada and Canadian citizens living abroad will be preferred.

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