Postdoctoral positions in plankton ecology at UBC (closes 2/15/2018)

ASLO Positions

Postdoctoral positions in plankton ecology at UBC (closes 2/15/2018)

Applications are invited to the following two post-doctoral positions in the Marine Food Webs Working Group of the Hakai Coastal Initiative, University of British Columbia
(http://oceans.ubc.ca/about/join-us/post-doctoral-opportunities-marine-food-webs-working-group/)

PDF position 1: Seasonal evolution and environmental controls of eukaryotic microbial plankton communities

PDF Position 2: Resolving zooplankton trophic pathways for enhanced prediction of food web response to a changing ocean

Project overview:
Plankton food webs are characterized by complex interactions between lower trophic level groups, including viruses, prokaryotes, a diverse array of unicellular eukaryotes (including flagellates, ciliates, diatoms), microzooplankton and mesozooplankton. The responses of species and communities to environmental conditions set the framework for food web
interactions that ultimately determine the transfer of energy to higher trophic levels. This project has the objective to advance understanding of lower trophic level interactions, to better inform ecosystem response to climate and anthropogenic driven shifts in ocean conditions.

This project will use the northeast Pacific as its experimental area. The Hakai Institute maintains an oceanographic observing program in the Strait of Georgia (British Columbia) that conducts year-round integrated measurements of the physical and chemical environment, and comprehensive sampling of lower trophic level biota. This program provides an ideal platform for detailed research of plankton food web linkages and interactions, including research labs, aquaria, and oceanographic sampling capabilities.

PDF position 1: Seasonal evolution and environmental controls of eukaryotic microbial plankton communities

The temporal and spatial dynamics of microbial communities is integral to understanding the function of planktonic food webs. Eukaryotic microorganisms, including the dominant phytoplankton (e.g., diatoms) and a diversity of mixotrophic and heterotrophic organisms. These organisms are typically understudied components of marine ecosystems, but serve a crucial role as the main prey of zooplankton and thus link lower and higher trophic levels of marine food webs. We seek a PDF to investigate the seasonal succession dynamics and interannual variability of marine eukaryotic microbes in response to bottom-up forcing (e.g., decreased nutrient availability, ocean acidification). This project will inform the response of eukarytotic microbes to environmental change in the northeast Pacific.

The PDF will have access to an ongoing sample collections, commenced in 2014, of the Hakai Institute’s Oceanographic Program in the Strait of Georgia. Samples are available to resolve eukaryotic microbial community dynamics using 18S rDNA amplicon sequencing, collected in conjunction with environmental data including nutrient concentrations, primary production rates, chlorophyll and other photosynthetic pigments via HPLC. The PDF will have the opportunity to explore eukarytic protists dynamics using tools including shotgun genomic or transcriptomic sequencing, experimental mesocosms, or other molecular or experimental approaches, as necessary.

Necessary qualifications:

A PhD in biological oceanography, microbial ecology, molecular biology or equivalent;
Prior knowledge of aquatic microbial ecology and planktonic food web ecology;
Prior knowledge of marine protists or phytoplankton is a plus;
Experience in molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics;
Demonstrated R and/or Matlab computing skills, use of scripting languages (eg. Python),
or working in a Unix environment will be advantageous;
Field and laboratory experience;
Ability to both work independently and operate within a large multidisciplinary team.

PDF Position 2: Resolving zooplankton trophic pathways for enhanced prediction of food web response to a changing ocean

Understanding the response of zooplankton to changing ocean conditions requires detailed knowledge of their feeding biology, however, this knowledge has traditionally been extremely difficult to attain due to the challenges associated with identifying and quantifying zooplankton prey (e.g., small organism size, destruction of soft-bodied prey items in the gut, methods of limited taxonomic scope). DNA based methods, which can identify trace amounts of prey in zooplankton guts, circumvent these problems and offer to significantly improve understanding of lower trophic level interactions. We seek a PDF with expertise in either zooplankton or microbial ecology who is capable of applying high-throughput DNA sequencing approaches to resolve zooplankton feeding biology and food
web linkages. This project will be supported by weekly to fortnightly field collections of plankton food web components (bacteria, protists and micro / mesozooplankton). To complement field and laboratory based research, facilities are also available for controlled feeding experiments. The findings of this project are expected to contribute directly to the development of lower trophic level food web models for the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia.

Necessary qualifications:

A PhD in biological oceanography, microbial ecology, molecular biology or equivalent;
Prior knowledge of plankton food web ecology;
Experience in molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics;
Demonstrated R and/or Matlab computing skills, use of scripting languages (e.g., Python),
or working in a Unix environment will be advantageous;
Field and laboratory experience;
Ability to both work independently and operate within a large multidisciplinary team.

Location: The candidate(s) will be based at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia.

Application closure date: February 15, 2018
Start date: As soon as possible
Position Length: Two years, renewable up to three years
Salary: CA$65,000 / year including benefits.

Applicants should submit:
A CV, including the e-mail and phone numbers for three references;
A short cover letter (1 page) explaining the applicant’s motivation for working on the project and how previous experience qualifies them for this position;
A copy of the PhD thesis;
Reprints of 3 published papers, if available;
Confirmation of ability to work in Canada.

Equity and diversity are essential for academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nations, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person.

Submit applications to:
Dr Brian Hunt (b.hunt@oceans.ubc.ca); Dr. Vera Tai (vtai4@uwo.ca); Dr. Colleen Kellogg (colleen.kellogg@hakai.org).