PhD project – Canada lynx population ecology and predator-prey dynamics in the Yukon

The Integrative Wildlife Conservation lab at Trent University is offering a PhD project on lynx population dynamics and foraging ecology near Kluane Lake, Yukon. Our research on lynx and their prey in the Kluane region spans decades, and the current project builds on our recent work assessing the functional response of lynx to different prey types and how such relationships are more complex than previously thought (see Chan et al. 2017, Ecology DOI:10.1002/ecy.1828; Studd, E. et al. 2021. doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13605b.). Specifically, through lynx satellite telemetry and accelerometry, and assessment of prey distribution and abundance, we aim to understand the mechanisms driving lynx movements and population dynamics relative to their primary (snowshoe hare) and secondary (red squirrel) prey species across space and time. We have studied lynx intensively for 6 winters during a period of hare abundance and decline at Kluane, so the ongoing cyclic crash in hare numbers presents a fascinating opportunity to assess variation in lynx foraging behavior and the dynamic drivers of their relationships with prey. This research project likely will extend into additional unexplored realms including lynx foraging ecology in summer, the role of intraspecific competition on the structure of lynx functional responses, and robust lynx population estimation using new technologies and estimators. The PhD student will have the opportunity to develop specific research questions within the scope of the larger project and collaborate with other students and researchers working on related questions in the Kluane system.

Successful candidates MUST have an MSc in Ecology, Conservation Biology, or related field, demonstrated evidence of peer-reviewed publications, strong field and quantitative skills, and an interest in working collaboratively within a large and diverse research group. Additional desirable skills include animal handling, satellite telemetry, remote sensing and GIS analysis, and working in remote field conditions, including during winter.  Start date ASAP.

To apply, send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, unofficial academic transcript, and contact information for 3 references to: Dennis Murray (dennismurray@trentu.ca).

For additional details, see www.dennismurray.ca and www.ualberta.ca/science/about-us/contact-us/faculty-directory/stan-boutin.

The position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

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