Ph.D. position: University of Saskatchewan: Population and movement ecology of eastern mallards

Description: A Ph.D. studentship is available with Dr. Mitch Weegman in the Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan. The PhD student will lead a project in population and movement ecology of eastern mallards, primarily using GPS-acceleration (ACC) tracking device data to determine mechanisms underlying differences in trends of eastern mallard Canadian and northeast US breeding sub-populations. Our primary project goals are to (1) Quantify and compare reproductive metrics such as reproductive attempts, full-term incubation and brood-rearing between mallards in the northeast US and eastern Canada, and the extent to which behavior and weather explains variation in reproductive metrics, (2) Estimate seasonal survival rates of female mallards, (3) Quantify and compare female mallard movements and habitat use and selection throughout the annual cycle in the northeastern US and eastern Canada, and (4) Characterize habitat-use and selection of mallards and black ducks throughout the annual cycle.

We deployed 330 units in Feb-Mar 2022 and anticipate deploying ~800 more units on mallards over the next three years. Assessment of objective (4) will include GPS-ACC data from ~500 units deployed on black ducks across the Atlantic Flyway in the same years. The units on eastern mallards and black ducks will generate millions of data points providing examples of individual decision-making. This project comprises an international partnership among Ducks Unlimited, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Pennsylvania Game Commission, The State University of New York-Brockport, University of Saskatchewan, and members of the Atlantic Flyway (Canadian Wildlife Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia).

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 $30,000 Canadian per year plus compensation for tuition/fees.

Start date: January 2023

Last date to apply: 7 Oct 2022 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 (mitch.weegman@usask.ca): (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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