Co-supervisors: Dr Karen Hodges, University of British Columbia Okanagan, and Frank Doyle, R.P. Bio, Wildlife Dynamics Consulting
Research topics: Grasslands have been degraded across the globe by over-grazing, and the disposal of biosolids is a major environmental challenge. Research to date shows that application of biosolids restores soil fertility and induces high plant growth, but impacts on wildlife are poorly known. We seek a student to work on small mammals (primarily voles and mice) in relation to sites with and without biosolids. This project is based on a large privately owned cattle ranch near Clinton, B.C., where small forest patches are scattered throughout grasslands and sage-steppe landscapes.
We are interested in population ecology, fitness, and community ecology of the small mammals using the ranch. Within this same landscape, our previous data on grasshoppers and diets of raptors and owls suggest that biosolids have probably led to substantial increases in small mammals compared to adjacent but untreated pastures. We seek a motivated MSc student who will examine the abundance and community structure of small mammals. We anticipate the student will use a mix of live-trapping, radio-collaring, and analysis of prey remains in bird pellets to address the research questions.
This work involves both theoretical questions (e.g. around community assembly, food web dynamics, habitat selection) and practical questions (do biosolids support high densities of small mammals that can in turn support rare raptors and owls?). The ideal student will be comfortable with both fundamental and applied research.
Project partners: This project is strongly collaborative, with partners including the ranch owner, the company that manages the biosolids applications, and MetroVancouver (the regional district that provides some of the biosolids). The student is expected to be willing to work with these important industrial collaborators.
This position is pending funding, but we anticipate that funding is likely.
We are seeking a student with BSc training in ecology, biology, conservation, or related disciplines; previous field experience is highly valued. We will look very favorably on previous research experience and publications; strong grades, fellowships, or other evidence of academic success; GIS, quantitative, and statistical experience. We expect any serious applicants will be competitive for and will apply to graduate fellowships.
For questions about the position:
Karen Hodges, email@example.com
Frank Doyle, firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about the Biology Graduate Program at UBC Okanagan:
To apply: We will conduct this search in two stages. Initially, we ask candidates to send a cover letter, CV, and transcripts via email to Dr. Hodges. After screening, we will ask only our top candidates to apply formally through the UBCO College of Graduate Studies.
Deadline to apply: We ask for initial materials no later than December 15, 2017; the formal applications (for candidates whom we invite forward) will be due to CGS January 31, 2018.