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  3. PhD Student Opportunity: Applications of lake sediment eDNA for reconstructing past ecosystems and establishing restoration targets

PhD Student Opportunity: Applications of lake sediment eDNA for reconstructing past ecosystems and establishing restoration targets

The Community Ecology and Energetics lab (CEElab) at Lakehead University is currently recruiting a domestic (Canadian citizen or permanent resident) PhD student interested in building off ongoing work in the lab to develop eDNA methods for reconstructing aquatic communities using lake sediments, as part of a major collaborative project with Laurentian University and Queen’s University. The anticipated start date for the position is between Fall of 2024 and spring of 2025.

The CEElab is led by Dr. Michael Rennie, a Canada Research Chair in Aquatic Ecology and Fisheries at Lakehead University. He is also a Research Fellow with the IISD-Experimental Lakes Area (ELA).  Building on previous research in the lab, the student will develop and validate downcore patterns in eDNA using species-specific primers for macroinvertebrates, fish and anurans. Once developed, these methods will be applied to disturbed ecosystems across Ontario that are currently under recovery from industrial impacts. These methods will help to characterize pre-impact community composition to better inform restoration efforts. Work will be co-supervised by Dr. Jackie Litzgus, Director of the Living with Lakes Centre at Laurentian University.

The Paleo-DNA lab at Lakehead University will also support this work, as well as the PEARL facilities at Queen’s University to support laboratory analysis. It is anticipated that the student will enrol in the Biotechnology PhD program at Lakehead University.

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, and within a day driving to Winnipeg (2 hour flight). Funding for the position is competitive.

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 and visible minorities to apply.


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