PhD Opportunity in Aquatic Ecosystem Science - Algal Blooms

Dr. Irena Creed is seeking one PhD candidate for the following position. This project is funded by an NSERC Strategic Partnership Grant. The student will be co-supervised by Dr. Charles Trick with the Department of Biology at the University of Western Ontario.

The aim of this project is to improve the understanding of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus concentrations and the risk of nuisance algal blooms in wetlands on agricultural landscapes in the Prairie Pothole Region of Canada. This project aims to answer the following questions: (1) Is there a relation between ambient CNP and trace metals and algal biomass, proportion of cyanobacteria and toxin likelihood? (2) How well can spectral indicators derived from optical satellite imagery discriminate between cyanobacteria blooms and other algal blooms? (3) Can time series metrics derived from satellite observations be used to provide early warning signals of cyanobacteria blooms in lakes? The outcomes of this study will provide science designed to meet the challenges of incorporating wetlands into policies related to reduction of greenhouse gasses and eutrophication.

PhD Role

The student will design and execute field sampling campaigns for nutrient content, algal biomass (chlorophyll-a (chl-a)), algal community structure, and algal toxin production in study wetlands. They will then conduct laboratory analysis using methods that include the Flow Cam, flow cytometer, phycocyanin and phycoerythrin pigment analysis and microscopes to characterize algal communities within the wetlands. The student will then use a combination of multi-sensor remote sensing data (including MERIS, Sentinel-2 and -3 and LANDSAT) to detect and monitor algal blooms (chl-a, phycocyanin, phycoerythrin) in study wetlands. The collected and analyzed ground based data will be used to calibrate the satellite-based data. The student will use this information to develop a suite of novel time series metrics, including breakpoints, temporal auto-correlation and local standard deviations, to track algal blooms at various spatial resolutions. The combination of spectral data and ground data will test the suitability of the spectral metrics in providing early warning signals of algal blooms in lake ecosystems. The satellite based estimates of chl-a and cyanobacteria will be done in conjunction with a post-doctoral fellow. The student will also have the opportunity to work with the many government, NGO and private partners on this project.

Qualifications for PhD in Environment and Sustainability students

  • Master's degree, or equivalent, from a recognized university in a relevant academic discipline
  • Laboratory experience
  • Competency in GIS/remote sensing
  • Interest in learning multiple techniques to ecosystem science
  • A cumulative weighted average of at least 70% (U of S grade system equivalent) in the last two years of study (i.e., coursework required in Master’s program)
  • Proof of English language proficiency may be required for international applicants and for applicants whose first language is not English
  • Written support of a faculty supervisor. Please obtain this by contacting Dr. Irena Creed.

Funding

Funding is available for the entirety of the 4 year PhD program.

How to Apply:

Prior to applying, please contact Dr. Irena Creed at sens.executivedirector@usask.ca with Curriculum Vitae and a letter of intent outlining your fit with the qualifications. Please quote "PhD Opportunity in Aquatic Ecosystem Science - Algal Blooms" in the subject line of your email.

If encouraged to submit an application, you will be asked to provide official transcripts, Curriculum Vitae and a brief statement of research interest to Dr. Irena Creed. Application details are outlined on the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website, however, please contact Dr. Creed at sens.executivedirector@usask.ca with the details listed above. 

Start Date: The start date can be as early as May 1, 2018 or September 2018.

Deadline: Applications will be reviewed as they are received. 

PhD Opportunity in Aquatic Ecosystem Science - Wetlands

Dr. Irena Creed is seeking one PhD candidate for the following position. This project is funded by an NSERC Strategic Partnership Grant.

The aim of this project is to improve the understanding of the factors that influence C, N, and P sequestration potential of drained, restored and natural (intact) wetlands in agricultural landscapes. This project aims to answer the following questions: (1) How much C, N, P is stored in wetlands? (2) What are the rates of accumulation of C, N, P? (3) Do accumulation rates in restored wetlands differ from those of intact wetlands, and do accumulation rates change with restoration age? (4) Do environmental conditions (i.e., climate, geochemistry or physical properties (e.g., soil texture) of surficial geologic materials) affect these rates? 

PhD Role

The student will construct chronosequences of C, N, P from field analytical, and modeling work, and develop new methods using 137Cs, 239,240Pu, and 210Pb isotope methods that enhance temporal resolution of these chronosequences. To do this, the student will construct long-term, detailed land use and management information from management records, interviews, and historical air photos for each study wetland. They will then design and execute field sampling campaigns to collect soil cores to examine the stratigraphy of accumulated materials within the wetlands and surrounding areas. The samples collected in the field will then be analyzed in the lab for nutrients and the age of accumulated materials in each wetland will be estimated using a combination of radioisotopes: 137Cs and 239,240Pu (50-60 years) and 210Pb (up to 100-120 years). From this information, contemporary rates of accumulation will be calculated. C, N, P stocks and rates will then be related to morphometric, topographic, and bathymetric GIS-based indices to determine their effects on sequestration. As part of this work, the student will have the opportunity to work with the many academic, government, NGO and private partners on this project.

Qualifications for PhD in Environment and Sustainability students

  • Master's degree, or equivalent, from a recognized university in a relevant academic discipline
  • Background in soil science and wetland biogeochemistry
  • Laboratory experience
  • Competency in GIS an asset
  • Interest in learning multiple techniques to ecosystem science
  • A cumulative weighted average of at least 70% (U of S grade system equivalent) in the last two years of study (i.e., coursework required in Master’s program)
  • Proof of English language proficiency may be required for international applicants and for applicants whose first language is not English
  • Written support of a faculty supervisor. Please obtain this by contacting Dr. Irena Creed.

Funding

Funding is available for the entirety of the 4 year PhD program.

How to Apply:

Prior to applying, please contact Dr. Irena Creed at sens.executivedirector@usask.ca with Curriculum Vitae and a letter of intent outlining your fit with the qualifications. Please quote "PhD Opportunity in Aquatic Ecosystem Science - Wetlands" in the subject line of your email.

If encouraged to submit an application, you will be asked to provide official transcripts, Curriculum Vitae and a brief statement of research interest to Dr. Irena Creed. Application details are outlined on the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website, however, please contact Dr. Creed at sens.executivedirector@usask.ca with the details listed above. 

Start Date: The start date can be as early as May 1, 2018 or September 2018.

Deadline: Applications will be reviewed as they are received. 

Master's and PhD opportunities in local environmental governance

Dr. James Robson is always keen to hear from students interested in issues related to local forms of environmental governance (practice, knowledge, institutions), and committed to the principles of community engagement. He has potential opportunities for students (Master’s or PhD), especially those with Spanish-language skills, to work on two planned research projects (2018-2022):

Engaging Indigenous Youth through Innovative Environmental Co-Governance Arrangements

Working with select Indigenous communities in Canada and Mexico where we have on-going relationships, we will address the question: How can governance for sustainability and biocultural diversity effectively engage young Indigenous women and men and strengthen community capacities for long-term land and resource stewardship?  The proposed research will (a) examine how local people understand the social, cultural and demographic drivers that shape environmental governance institutions and processes; and (b) select and assess institutional innovations to better engage young women and men in these arrangements.

Strategies for Building Inclusivity in Mexican Forest Commons

Using a participatory, action-oriented methodology, and working with two community partners in Oaxaca, Mexico, the proposed research will: (i) explore how forest governance and forest work is currently structured, and will do so from the perspectives of community members underrepresented in these arrangements (youth, women, non-rights holders); (ii) consider institutional and organizational innovations with the potential to deliver more inclusive, vibrant and productive forest commons; and, (iii) create spaces for partner communities to learn from each other’s experiences, and for practitioner organizations to consider the wider applicability of the research for other forest-dependent communities. 

PhD Opportunity in Food & Water Systems Governance

Dr. Philip Loring is recruiting a PhD student with strong quantitative skills and an interest in natural resource governance and management. This project is funded by the Global Water Futures program at the Global Institute for Water Security and can offer prospective students an unparalleled experience doing collaborative and interdisciplinary science on some of the world’s most pressing problems.  

The incumbent will design and execute doctoral research that investigates how local water management institutions develop around the challenge of agricultural water drainage in prairie ecosystems. Possible topics of focus include conflict management, food-water-sustainability interactions, and scenarios development via linking social and hydrological models. You will be joining a diverse lab of social and natural scientists who are all committed to using their research to help people solve pressing environmental issues. 

Qualifications for PhD in Environment and Sustainability students

  • Experience with quantitative social science methods and analysis
  • Background in interdisciplinary environment or sustainability research is desirable but not required. This could include such areas as resilience, social-ecological systems, common-pool resources, agricultural systems geography, governance, or human ecology.
  • Master's degree, or equivalent, from a recognized university in a relevant academic discipline
  • A cumulative weighted average of at least 70% (U of S grade system equivalent) in the last two years of study (i.e. coursework required in Master’s program)
  • Proof of English language proficiency may be required for international applicants and for applicants whose first language is not English
  • Written support of  the faculty supervisor (i.e. Phil Loring)

Funding

$24,000/year for 3 years is available for this position. 

How to Apply:

Prior to applying, please contact Dr. Philip Loring, Assistant Professor, phil.loring@usask.ca. Quote “Application inquiry for PhD in Food and Water Systems Governance” in the subject line.

If encouraged to submit an application, you will be asked to provide the documentation outlined on the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

Deadline: Applications will be reviewed as they are received. 

PhD in Hydrology

Andrew Ireson with SENS is currently recruiting for the following PhD candidates. These positions are funded through the Global Water Futures program. The students will be part of a team that will develop and deliver next generation modelling and observation techniques.

Hydrological processes in frozen soils

Details: Where does the water go following snowmelt? Does it go into the soils or run overland into ponds and channels? This is one of the most important questions in cold region hydrology. The result determines whether or not there is a flood, and how much water is available for crops. To address this, we need a better understanding, and better models, for flow processes in frozen soils. Project objectives include: (1) critically reviewing the state of the art in coupled heat and mass transport modelling in frozen soils; (2) proposing improvements that deal explicitly with gaps in our understanding of physical processes; and (3) validating new models using field data and/or laboratory experiments. The primary focus is frozen soils in the Canadian prairies, and there will be opportunities to undertake field work.

The impact of frozen soils on Boreal Forest hydrology

Details: The Boreal Forest plays an important role in the global carbon cycle, the regional climate system, and the water cycle of a number of large watersheds. To predict how climate change and human activity will impact the forest in the future, we need to understand what aspects of this vast and sparsely monitored area are critical to represent carefully within large scale models. For example, is it adequate to treat all needle-leaf trees as a single homogeneous plant functional type, or should try to characterize drought tolerant pine and wetland loving black spruce differently? Critical gaps are broadly associated with quantifying transpiration from different tree-species and the impact of frozen soils on infiltration and transpiration. The objective of this project is to: 1) perform a critical review of hydrological processes in the Boreal Forest and how these are represented in a range of land-surface models; 2) apply suitable models to the BERMs sites in Saskatchewan, where we have detailed observations of the vertical water, energy and carbon balance; 3) develop new algorithms and parameterizations that can be implemented in next generation improved models that are being developed in the Global Water Futures program. Field sites are in the southern Boreal Plains Ecozone.

Qualifications:

  • Master's degree in Hydrology, Engineering, Science, Applied Mathematics or related field of study
  • Knowledge of computer programming
  • Strong capability to apply computer models
  • Familiarity with exploratory data analysis and statistical methods
  • Successful application to the College of Graduate Studies and Research

In addition, the candidate should have:

  • Ability to work in a collaborative manner with team members
  • Strong oral and written communication skills

Funding:

A three-year scholarship is available for a qualified individual through the Global Water Futures program

How to Apply:

Prior to applying, please contact Dr. Andrew Ireson. Once permission is received from him to proceed, please begin the admissions processed outlined on grad.usask.ca.

PhD - In-Stream Water Quality Modelling

Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt with SENS is seeking a PhD candidate with experience in in-stream water quality modelling to support research in understanding the mixing regime and biological processes in aquatic environments of rivers and lakes.

Qualifications:

  • Master's degree in Engineering, Science, Applied Mathematics or related field of study
  • Knowledge of computer programming
  • Strong capability to apply computer models
  • Familiarity with exploratory data analysis and statistical methods
  • Successful application to the College of Graduate Studies and Research

In addition, the candidate should have:

  • Ability to work in a collaborative manner with team members
  • Strong oral and written communication skills

Funding:

A three-year scholarship is available for a qualified individual through the Global Water Futures program

How to Apply:

Prior to applying, please contact Dr. Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt. Once permission is received from him to proceed, please begin the admissions processed outlined on grad.usask.ca.

Opportunities in Watershed Systems Analysis and Modelling

Dr. Saman Razavi is interested to hear from highly motivated individuals wishing to pursue graduate studies within his group.  If you are one of them, please contact Dr. Saman Razavi.

Graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in his lab actively work on the different natural (e.g., rainfall-runoff, snow, permafrost, soil storage, etc.) and human-driven (e.g., reservoirs, water diversions and abstractions, agriculture, etc.) components and bring them together under a unified umbrella for the synthesis of systems behaviour.

Global Water Futures

The Global Institute for Water Security's Global Water Futures program is recruiting graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and variety of research support positions.