PhD in Conservation Biology: Ecology of wood bison in northeast Alberta: University of Alberta and the Royal Alberta Museum

University of Alberta and the Royal Alberta Museum
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
$25,000 CAD
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
Applications are being accepted for two PhD candidates with backgrounds in ecology (or other relevant field in biology, conservation, etc.) in the area of Conservation Biology in the Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, in collaboration with Mammalogy Department at the Royal Alberta Museum. The successful candidates will join a dynamic team of researchers on a 4-year, fully funded program studying trade-off mechanisms of seasonal wood bison habitat selection relative to foraging ecology (Ph.D. 1) and winter predation risk (Ph.D. 2) in the Ronald Lake area of northeastern Alberta. Knowledge gained will help to explain habitat needs of the herd and their responses to human activity. The research program will consist of coursework and a thesis focusing on better understanding how these bottom-up (Ph.D. 1) and top-down (Ph.D. 2) factors work in concert to affect seasonal patterns of habitat selection, movement, and distribution, behaviour, general limitations and survival of wood bison relative to natural and anthropogenic disturbance.

Fieldwork for this project will include both summer and winter work, and will be based out of Fort McMurray and at remote field camps in the areas around Ronald Lake. The PhD students will be involved in developing the study design, sampling and measurement, managing, analysing and synthesising data, and disseminating their results through publications in peer-reviewed journals and through presentations to local, national and international audiences from various facets of society. Knowledge gained from this study will be used to inform management of the herd, and to develop a long-term management plan.
M.Sc. in ecology or related field (e.g. biology, ecology, conservation biology); min. 3.0 GPA for past 2 years of study, or equivalent.

Other assets: Good GPA; skills in GIS, statistics; remote outdoor/field experience, including winter work; valid driver’s license; experience with all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles; strong self‐motivation and sense of teamwork.

Please submit a cover letter describing your research interests, experience, and qualifications for this position, a curriculum vitae, and contact information for three professional references. Email your cover letter, CV, and reference information to Dr. Scott Nielsen at and Dr. Mark Edwards at with the subject line indicating whether you are interested in the “Ph.D. 1 foraging ecology of bison” or the “Ph.D. 2 predation risk and bison” position. We thank all applicants for their interest; only selected applicants will be contacted for an interview.
Contact Person
Dr. Scott Nielsen / Dr. Mark Edwards
Contact eMail
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