M.Sc. and Ph.D. Positions at Trent University – Climate change impacts to permafrost, wildlife and their habitat in the subarctic

MSc and PhD graduate student positions are available in our lab (https://brownecologylab.weebly.com/) to investigate the mechanisms driving change in the subarctic, involving interactions among climate, habitat and wildlife communities. A graduate student project will investigate how climate change may affect wildlife habitat through effects on permafrost. Global warming is considered the greatest threat to biodiversity in the arctic, where the cold climate and seasonal transition between water and ice involving permafrost shape the evolutionary adaptations of wildlife. Research will consist of field work to collect ground measurements, remote sensing technology, and development of mechanistic models to characterize permafrost variation. Additional projects will focus on field-based studies of water bird behavior and breeding success in relation to the direct and indirect effects of climate, habitat and predation risk. Species include dunlin, whimbrel, least sandpiper, and Canada geese.

Students will have the opportunity to directly support wildlife conservation and management and gain experience on a collaborative project with a government agency (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) and partners (York University, Canadian Centre for Remote Sensing).  The projects will use new field sampling and existing datasets to support student work. Field work will be based at the Burntpoint Research Station in Polar Bear Provincial Park, Ontario. The student will work in a collaborative team environment with other graduate students and professional staff.

The student will be enrolled in the Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program, Trent University, and under the supervision of Dr. Glen Brown. The projects will begin in September 2020 of January 2021.

Salary: A minimum stipend consistent with Trent University policies for PhD and MSc will be provided (includes a Teaching Assistantship).

Qualifications: Candidates should have a solid background in ecology and an aptitude for statistical and spatial analysis (including geographic information systems and imagery processing), as well as the ability to conduct laborious field work in remote areas for extended periods of time. A willingness to become licensed in firearm use is also required due to the presence of polar bears. Prospective students should meet the minimum requirements for admission to the MSc (https://www.trentu.ca/els/program/msc-program ) or PhD program (https://www.trentu.ca/els/program/phd-program). Must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to receive the funding package available for this position.

Prospective students should send a letter of interest, a CV, unofficial transcripts, and the names of two references to Dr. Glen Brown (glen.brown@ontario.ca). The positions will remain open until suitable candidates are selected.