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PhD Student Opportunity: Demographic and bioenergetic responses of fish to a whole-lake addition of microplastics

The Community Ecology and Energetics lab (CEElab) at Lakehead University is currently recruiting a domestic (Canadian citizen or permanent resident) PhD student interested in participating in an innovative, one-of-a-kind whole lake experiment at the IISD Experimental Lakes Area to investigate the impact of microplastics exposure on a whole lake aquatic ecosystem. The anticipated start date for the position is Fall of 2021.

Research will be conducted at the world-renowned IISD-Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), an unparalleled outdoor research facility in Northwestern Ontario that has conducted whole-lake research to better inform environmental policy since 1969. The work will be conducted at the ELA, as part of the collaborative pELAstics investigation, led by Dr. Chelsea Rochman, Dr. Diane Orihel and Dr. Michael Rennie, and involving PI’s and collaborators from across Canada and North America, all leaders in the investigation of plastics on aquatic ecosystems.

The student will contribute to the collection of field data and analysis of data to support demographic and bioenergetic analyses, including age determination, mercury and energy density analyses of tissues, and work collaboratively with researchers at the University of Toronto and University of Manitoba to evaluate food web changes determined through diet analysis and stable isotope analyses. A background in fisheries methods, mark-recapture studies, use of bioenergetic models and statistical analyses are desirable, but training in all areas are possible as part of the program.

Lakehead University is located on the shores of Lake Superior, and is the only research-intensive Canadian University in Northwestern Ontario. It is well situated for supporting collaborations with other institutions, approximately 3 hours drive from Duluth and 6 hours from the ELA. Funding for the position is highly competitive; if a student is secured prior to May 1 2021, there is a strong possibility of support in the amount of $35,000 per year (including a TA-ship), with possible extensions of this level of support for up to 4 years. It is anticipated the student will enrol in the Environmental Biotechnology PhD program at Lakehead University.

Interested students should send a CV, cover letter expressing interest and relevant skills, as well as a copy of recent unofficial transcripts to mrennie@lakeheadu.ca. Review of applications will occur as they are received. While the position is targeted at domestic students, we encourage all qualified applicants from diverse cultural backgrounds and gender identities, indigenous persons, women, visible minorities, and persons with disabilities to apply.

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