dimanche 2 janvier 2011

Funded PhD Project: Regional conservation planning for dynamic landscapes under climate change

The goal of this project is to design protected areas networks in Québec, Canada, that are likely to maintain biodiversity under a changing climate. We seek a PhD student to apply ecological modelling of forest dynamics and spatial simulation to this design problem. Our case studies are existing protected areas networks in the regions of Gaspésie and Mauricie, each embedded within a matrix of forest lands managed for timber harvesting, hunting and conservation. One region is subject to wildfire, the other contains an isolated population of endangered woodland caribou. One major aspect of the research will be modelling the rate of northwards migration of tree species through the regions, as affected by climate, existing landscape structure, disturbance regimes and management. This student will work alongside a second PhD student who is focused on wildlife behaviour and landscape connectivity.

We offer a 3yr PhD scholarship at C$20,000/yr, tenable at the Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt, Université Laval, Québec City, under the supervision of Steve Cumming, Alison Munson and Eliot McIntire. The position is to commence as soon as possible. The successful applicant will work closely with a team of conservation biologists, wildlife biologists, ecosystem modelers and partners in sponsoring government agencies and ENGOS, and will join an active
« meta-lab » of 10-15 students working on spatial simulation, statistical ecology and conservation biology.

The qualifications for this position are strong quantitative skills and an interest in applied ecology and simulation modelling, independent of disciplinary background. Some programming experience (e.g. in R, Python, C, SELES, or Visual Basic) would be a major asset, although modelling courses are available in the lab. The language of instruction at Université Laval is French, but one’s thesis will be written in English. Applicants whose first language is not french are encouraged to apply. Québecâ•˙s francophone cultural environment provides an excellent opportunity to improve french language skills. Québec is also well known for its exceptional outdoors recreational opportunities and natural beauty.

Applicants should submit by email a short statement of interest, a current CV, and the names of three references. For further information, contact the undersigned:

Steve Cumming
Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt, Université Laval