PhD (or MSc) research opportunity: Biological response to experimental wetland inundation
The project: Many large rivers in cold regions experience annual spring and summer floods associated with the melting of snow and ice. The biological implications of these floods
are poorly understood but could be responsible for maintaining ecosystem
integrity and viable fish and wildlife populations. Alterations to natural flow and flood regimes
by the construction of dams and levees and wetland drainage have placed these
habitats under threat.
We are seeking a
qualified and motivated student to examine the timing and magnitude of primary
and secondary production in response to inundation in a northern river
ecosystem, the Saskatchewan River basin, Canada’s most threatened river. The student will work as part of large inter-disciplinary team examining the role of shallow wetlands in driving fish
and wildlife production in large rivers.
This unique opportunity will involve the delivery of water from the
river into a previously dry spillway channel by a hydropower production company
(SaskPower). This experimental wetland
will be used to understand if temporary habitats boost biological production
for the broader river ecosystem. The
candidate will test if these temporary habitats are a net source or sink of
carbon production and if carbon produced in the system is transferred to
emerging aquatic insects.
Qualifications: Applicants will have a Master’s degree in Biology,
Environmental Sciences, or equivalent and meet the requirements for admission
into the PhD program in the School of Environment and Sustainability (www.usask.ca/sens). Prior experience with
ecological field work and a valid driver’s license are required. Experience with sensor-based measurements of
ecosystem metabolism and secondary production of benthic invertebrates,
first-aid training, and proficiency in operating watercraft would be considered
assets. Preference will be given to
applicants to the PhD program with a prior graduate degree, but exceptional
students entering a Master’s program will also be considered.
Starting date: Paid field work will commence as soon as possible with expected enrollment in the graduate program beginning in September.