New PhD position – Predicting growth responses of boreal forests: an approach based on analysis and modeling of ecophysiological processes

PhD based at the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue

We are looking for a student for an exciting PhD project in the boreal forest. The main objective of the project is to improve understanding of the ecophysiological functioning of selected forest species (mainly black spruce, balsam fir, trembling aspen and jack pine) in order to characterize and anticipate the effects of climate change on northern forest ecosystems. We have access to the longest and most comprehensive intra-annual monitoring of the growth of boreal forests (up to 15 years of intra-annual monitoring at some sites). These data mainly include monitoring of phenology and xylogenesis (i.e. wood formation). In some cases, we also have data on sap flow, concentration of non-structural carbohydrates and photosynthesis. These data will allow the validation and improvement of mechanistic ecophysiological models that will be used to test hypotheses on the water and carbon functioning of the studied forest sites, both at the tree scale and at the stand scale.

Objectives and methodology: The scientific approach will merge the use of experimental data and mechanistic modeling to be able to provide information on several forest processes linked to endogenous factors (aging, physiological state of trees) and environmental factors (climate, CO2, nutrient availability, soil properties). The improved model simulations will allow better predictions of ecosystem responses to future climate change. We will mainly use the MAIDEN ecosystem model developed by our team.

Location: The student will join the Forest Research Institute (IRF; https://www.uqat.ca/programmes/irf/) at the Rouyn-Noranda UQAT university campus, and will work under the supervision of Fabio Gennaretti (http://bit.ly/2TTGTLB) and Yves Bergeron (http://bit.ly/2GjuKrr). The IRF has a dynamic, multicultural and international work environment, with 13 professors and more than 60 graduate students working on complementary disciplines, such as modeling, forestry, genetics, biodiversity, ecophysiology and sustainable forest management. The hired student will also be a member of the Research Chair in Sustainable Forest Management (http://chaireafd.uqat.ca/accueilF.asp) and will actively collaborate with our partners (Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, Resolute Forest Products, University of Quebec in Chicoutimi, University of Quebec in Montreal, Environment and Climate Change Canada).

Required expertise and skills: We are looking for a student with a master’s degree in ecology or forestry with an interest in modeling and statistics OR a master’s degree in mathematics, physics, statistics or computer science with an interest in their applications in ecology in a climate change context. The student must be able to work with autonomy, curiosity, discipline and motivation within a multidisciplinary team. He / She must be willing to do field work in remote areas, and must have a good team spirit and excellent writing skills.

Supervisors: Fabio Gennaretti and Yves Bergeron

Beginning of studies: Summer or autumn 2020

Funding: Fellowship of Can$ 21000 per year for a total of 3 years.

Interested candidates: Interested candidates must apply by e-mail (fabio.gennaretti@uqat.ca) by sending (1) a cover letter outlining their academic background and research experience, as well as (2) a detailed CV including name and contact information of  three references, and (3) their academic transcripts. More information available at http://bit.ly/2U9ZzqM

Fully funded PhD position: the effects of vegetation and built infrastructure on the urban microclimate

Cities worldwide are experiencing record-breaking summer air temperatures, and high levels of pollution, with serious consequences for people. Increased tree cover, green roofs/facades and a transformation of the built infrastructure and transport system are suggested as climate adaptation and mitigation strategies, but there is still limited understanding about how different aspects of this “green” and “grey” infrastructure work together to influence urban microclimates at multiple scales. We are looking for a PhD student to study the effects of vegetation in the built environment on urban microclimate and air quality in Montreal. The student will be co-advised by Dr. Carly Ziter (Biology Department) and Dr. Ursula Eicker (Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering) at Concordia University, and will be part of Concordia’s Next Generation Cities Excellence Research Cluster, which includes faculty and students in engineering, biology, design, and philosophy.

The selected candidate will actively contribute to the design and implementation of mobile sensor infrastructure to measure fine-scale changes in air temperature and pollution, urban fieldwork to collect empirical measurements, data analysis and interpretation, and writing scientific manuscripts. Project design and analysis will include consideration of the role of green (vegetation cover, structure, and biodiversity; integration of vegetation in the building envelope), grey (impervious surfaces, building structure) and mobile (cars, buses, trucks) components of the urban environment. The research should show the impact of greening the city in relation to different mobility and built environment layouts. Empirical data will also be used to validate urban heat island and airflow models in collaboration with engineering team members. Results of this work will ultimately contribute to understanding the impact of policy changes regarding urban planning, transport, and green infrastructure to create more sustainable cities.

We are looking for a passionate candidate with a master degree (MSc) in a relevant field. This can be either in the biological sciences (ecology, biology, forestry, environmental sciences), or engineering, but preference will be given to students with at least some background and interest in plant ecology and biodiversity. The successful candidate will possess an excellent academic record, strong technical and problem solving skills, and motivation to work in a collaborative, interdisciplinary research team. Financial support is available for a period of four years.

The project will begin in May or September 2020. Interested candidates must submit a letter of motivation, CV, academic transcripts, and the contact information of two references to Carly Ziter (carly.ziter@concordia.ca) and Ursula Eicker (ursula.eicker@concordia.ca).

More Information:

Concordia Next Generation Cities: https://www.concordia.ca/research/chairs/smart-cities
Ziter Urban Landscape Ecology Lab: http://www.carlyziter.com