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Wilfrid Laurier University Office of Research Services
October 30, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

Student and Post Doctoral Opportunities



The Laurier - GNWT Partnership has the following opportunities available:

Two postdoctoral positions for permafrost-impacted plant community structure and dynamics

Post Doctoral Fellowship in Permafrost Hydrology, Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary

M.Sc. and Ph.D. level studies in northern Ecology and Hydrology

3rd and 4th year undergraduate Field Assistants



Two postdoctoral positions for permafrost-impacted plant community structure and dynamics

There are two postdoctoral positions available as part of an ongoing partnership between Wilfrid Laurier University and the Government of the Northwest Territories (/research/LaurierNWT).

We are rapidly expanding our integrative research program to better understand coupled ecological and hydrological responses of permafrost-impacted systems to warming. Our region of focus is the Taiga Plains Ecoregion, which spans the length of the Mackenzie River Valley in the Northwest Territories, Canada. This Ecoregion covers a wide latitudinal range and therefore a wide range of permafrost conditions (see map), including boreal, taiga and tundra systems.

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Details of each position follow.

1) Dynamic vegetation model development for permafrost-impacted plant communities.


The successful candidate will work closely with both University and Government (Territorial, Provincial and Federal) research scientists whose interests span this region. Substantial effort has been invested in a range of sites across the Ecoregion to model hydrological function and changes in response to permafrost thaw. Such predictive tools will provide key information for the Government of the NWT’s Water Management Strategy implementation. However, changing conditions in the NWT due to warming climate have dramatic implications for plant community structure, function and composition and incorporation of such changes into current hydrological models is critical. The successful candidate will initiate development and testing of a dynamic vegetation model selected in consultation with other hydrological modelers and ecologists in the group, and begin the linking of such models with our hydrological models.

Required skills: A PhD in ecology, environmental science, earth systems science, hydrology, or closely related field. Applicants should be proficient in a major computer modeling language and should have demonstrated ability to publish high quality peer-reviewed papers. A good understanding of plant physiological ecology and/or ecosystem ecology would be advantageous.

Strong candidates will be encouraged to apply for NSERC and Garfield Weston Postdoctoral Fellowships and outstanding candidates will be nominated for a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship.

2) Ecosystem change across the Taiga Plains Ecoregion.

The successful candidate will work closely with both University and Government (Territorial, Provincial and Federal) research scientists whose interests span this region. Global warming is occurring at unprecedented rates in Northwestern Canada with annual average temperatures increasing as much as 3°C over the last 50 years. The Taiga Plains Ecoregion extends across the entire permafrost gradient from sporadic to deep, continuous permafrost and as such can be expected to be very sensitive to such dramatic warming. We require a postdoctoral fellow to investigate regional patterns of plant community structure and composition across this gradient as a function of a range of abiotic and disturbance conditions and assess rates of ecosystem change using archival datasets and/or dendrochronological tools. 


Although there is some flexibility in the trajectory of this position, responsibilities could include:
(1) Compilation of historic datasets to help establish baseline conditions across the region; (2) Analysis and synthesis of data arising from an extensive network of permanent sample plots and collaboration with remote sensing researchers to link ground-based datasets with existing LiDAR datasets and other remote sensing datasets available for the sites; and (3) Establishment of complementary field studies at site(s) along the Taiga Plains including potential involvement in the Taiga Plains Megaplot network that forms the boreal component of the Smithsonian’s Global Earth Observatory plot network.

Required skills: A PhD in ecology, environmental science, earth systems science, or closely related field. Required skills may include proficiency in spatial statistics, working knowledge of ArcGIS or another comparable GIS platform, and/or experience sampling and analyzing dendrochronological datasets. Candidates will have demonstrated ability to publish high quality peer-reviewed papers.

Strong candidates will be encouraged to apply for NSERC and Garfield Weston Postdoctoral Fellowships and outstanding candidates will be nominated for a Banting Fellowship.

Contacts:
Dr. Jennifer Baltzer
Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Forests and Global Change
Wilfrid Laurier University
Email: jbaltzer@wlu.ca

Dr. William Quinton
Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Cold Regions Hydrology
Wilfrid Laurier University
Email: wquinton@wlu.ca

Dr. Philip Marsh
Project Lead, Northern Hydrology Section
Environment Canada
National Hydrology Research Centre


Post Doctoral Fellowship in Permafrost Hydrology, Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary

We are seeking a post-doctoral fellow (PDF) who can take a lead role in numerical modelling of the interaction of discontinuous permafrost with groundwater and surface water in northern Canada. This is part of a large, interdisciplinary research project on the eco-hydrological response of permafrost peatlands to climatic forcing and anthropogenic disturbances in the Taiga Plain in the Northwest Territories.

The PDF will use two- or three-dimensional models of subsurface heat and water transfer to understand the interaction of groundwater with permafrost, and apply the results to the parameterization of watershed-scale hydrological models and investigate the potential causes of recent increase in stream flow in the Taiga Plain. Duties will include using data from ongoing field studies to parameterize and calibrate models, modify the models and add new algorithms as needed, and publishing papers in refereed journals. The PDF will also interact with members of the interdisciplinary research team from the University of Calgary, Wilfrid Laurier University, and University of Western Ontario, as well as with researchers and resource managers from the government agencies and private sectors. The position is for 18 months with a possible extension.

The successful applicant will have a Ph.D. degree in Geosciences, Civil Engineering or a related field with a background in numerical modelling of groundwater and/or surface water hydrology. We are seeking a motivated scholar with strong computing and communication skills. Research experience in subsurface heat transfer and land-atmosphere exchange, and skills in computer programming and geographical information system (GIS) are significant assets. Interested candidates should send (preferably by e-mail) their resume, transcripts, and the names and email addresses of three referees to:

Dr. Masaki Hayashi

Department of Geoscience

University of Calgary

Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1N4, Canada

hayashi@ucalgary.ca

(403) 220-2794

Web: www.ucalgary.ca/hayashi/

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M.Sc. and Ph.D. level studies in northern Ecology and Hydrology

The Laurier - GNWT Partnership invites applications at the M.Sc. and Ph.D. levels for graduate studies in northern Ecology and Hydrology.

Graduate students will be part of an inter-disciplinary research project examining the impacts of permafrost thaw on a wide range of ecosystems throughout the Taiga Plains Eco-region. Graduate research will be conducted with the support of the Official Partnership between Wilfrid Laurier and the Government of the Northwest Territories.

For more information or to apply, please contact Dr. Jennifer Baltzer or Dr. Bill Quinton.

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3rd and 4th year undergraduate Field Assistants

The Laurier - GNWT Partnership invites applications from 3rd and 4th year undergraduate students to assist with field research in the Northwest Territories.

Field Assistants will be part of an inter-disciplinary research project examining the impacts of permafrost thaw on a wide range of ecosystems throughout the Taiga Plains Eco-region. Graduate research will be conducted with the support of the Official Partnership between Wilfrid Laurier and the Government of the Northwest Territories.

For more information or to apply, please contact Dr. Jennifer Baltzer or Dr. Bill Quinton.

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