Qualifications

The minimum qualification requirements for the following MES and PhD opportunities at SENS are:

  • A cumulative weighted average of at least 70% (U of S grade system equivalent) in the last two years of study (e.g. 60 credit units)
  • Proof of English language proficiency may be required for international applicants and for applicants whose first language is not English

Master's or PhD Opportunity in Novel Biomonitoring of Sentinel Bird Species in Prairie Agroecosystems

Prof. Morrissey shows SENS students how to band birds on a field course.

Christy Morrissey notes that the Canadian Prairie region is one of the most intensively farmed landscapes but also one of the most ecologically important, with wetlands and grasslands providing essential habitat for a diversity of species. Agricultural practices often can negatively affect biodiversity through pesticides and habitat loss with notable declines in farmland birds. Many songbirds, and other vocal species such as amphibians, are relatively easy to survey non-invasively and can be captured and sampled non-destructively to assess changes in the quantity and quality of habitats at larger spatial scales than are most insects. In this collaborative project with different government and industry stakeholders, the student will focus on birds and other sentinel vertebrates as indicators of ecosystem health on working farms in the Prairie region to evaluate the effect of different farming practices (experimental manipulations) and landscape features on biodiversity. Additional research projects or scope for a PhD may include working with remotely sensed data and citizen science data to examine avian diversity and abundance in relation to different types and configurations of agriculture at landscape scales, or sampling specific indicator bird species to assess their diversity in diet composition and ability to provide ecosystem services such as pest control.

Qualifications:

The student should have a strong ecology and quantitative background and interest in birds and field work. A minimum GPA of 80% or better is required. Knowledge of bird calls, bird trapping, GIS and/or agricultural cropping systems in the Canadian Prairies is an asset. The start date is flexible but January 1, 2019 would be ideal. 

Location:

School of Environment and Sustainability or Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Funding:

MES/MSc $18,500 or PhD $21,500/year minimum student stipend with opportunity to teach or earn additional scholarships.

How to Apply:

Please send your CV, unofficial transcript, and cover letter stating your interest and fit to the project to Christy.morrissey@usask.ca

Master's Opportunity in Risk Assessment Modelling

Markus Brinkmann with SENS is seeking an MES candidate with interest in toxicokinetic modelling, who has a solid background in the biology of fishes, aquatic toxicology, and/or environmental chemistry. The student will be part of a team embedded in the Global Water Futures program that will develop and deliver computational risk assessment models to help find solutions to water threats in an era of unprecedented global change.

One of the important questions in this context is how global change will affect water quality in the cold regions and how this will impact environmental and ultimately human health, e.g. through consumption of contaminated fish. Environmental factors control the uptake of environmental chemicals into fish on many levels, and understanding these interactions is of vital importance to accurate and protective risk assessments. The candidate will apply a combination of laboratory experiments and modelling techniques to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying physical, chemical, and biological processes and mechanisms.

Qualifications

  • Undergraduate four-year honours degree, or equivalent, in a related field of study from a recognized college or university
  • Familiarity with exploratory data analysis and statistical methods
  • Knowledge of computer programming and computational models
  • Must meet all of the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (CGPS) eligibility requirements

In addition, the candidate should have

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

Funding

A two-year scholarship is available for a qualified individual through Dr. Brinkmann’s New Faculty Student Support funding (GPA of at least 80% required).

How to Apply

Prior to applying, please contact Dr. Markus Brinkmann. Please quote the title of the position in your email subject. Once permission is received from him to proceed, please begin the admissions processed outlined on grad.usask.ca.

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
  • Must meet the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (CGPS) eligibility requirements

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
  • Must meet the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (CGPS) eligibility requirements

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.

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 the following planned research project (2019-2023):

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. 

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.