PhD opportunity in Aquatic Ecology: “Anthropogenic impacts on the secondary production of the St-Lawrence River floodplain”
Background - The high level of spatio-temporal heterogeneity and connectivity makes riverine floodplains among the most species-rich and productive aquatic environments. Human activities such as deforestation and agriculture have modified the flooded landscape of the St. Lawrence valley and altered the nature and amount of organic materials delivered from the river to the floodplain, and vice-versa, with unknown consequences for energy transfer and foodweb dynamics. In this project, we aim to identify the basis of secondary production during the flooding stages of the floodplain of the St. Lawrence in Quebec, Canada, along a gradient of human perturbation. The project will explore several questions: 1- How current agricultural practices impact, or not, the secondary productivity occurring in the floodplain, which is subsequently exported to the main river; 2-How hydrology and climate change are expected to interact with land use to modulate this ecological subsidy to the St-Lawrence river ecosystem.
Role - The successful applicant will be supervised by Dr Gilbert Cabana and François Guillemette (UQTR), and will be working with a broader team that includes researchers in fisheries science, terrestrial ecology, agronomy, and ecotoxicology as well as well as key farming partners, remote sensing experts, and agro-sociologists. The project involves the use of state-of-art instrumentation (HNOS stable isotopes, PARAFAC analyses of dissolved matter, 14C analyses, fatty acids) to quantify the source and magnitude of new production vs recycling via methanotrophy in the field and laboratory experiments. In addition, the successful candidate will be in charge of organizing and conducting field sampling campaigns early in the spring.
Pre-requisites - Applicants need to hold a Master’s degree in a related field such as biogeochemistry, limnology, isotopic ecology or microbial ecology. Previous experience in invertebrate ecology and wet chemistry will be an asset, but are not necessary. A working knowledge of French will be viewed favorably, but is not mandatory.
Stipend and application procedure - The Centre for Research on Watershed-Aquatic Ecosystem Interactions (RIVE) at the Université du Québec at Trois-Rivières, in collaboration with the Pôle d’Expertise sur la Plaine d’Inondation du Lac Saint-Pierre, is offering a three-year PhD scholarship with an annual stipend of $21,000 CAD. The RIVE regroups 15 researchers and over 50 graduate students, professionals and postdoctoral researchers working on various environmental issues including water quality, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, and carbon geochemistry.
Interested applicants should send their CVs, and short letter highlighting their research background and interest in this area, to Dr Francois Guillemette (firstname.lastname@example.org). Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.