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 for all communities across the globe 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 grassland birds (songbirds, raptors, corvids, owls) 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 birds using the ranch. Within this same landscape, our previous data on grasshoppers and birds suggest that biosolids lead to substantial increases in abundance for some species and support some rare / listed species. We seek a motivated PhD student who will build on our existing data sets, locate nests to assess reproductive timing and success, and more solidly address the abundance and community structure of birds. We anticipate the student will use a mix of nest searches, point counts, remote cameras, automatic recording units, and radio-collars 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 rare / threatened species, or restore / enhance bird abundances?). 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 MSc training in ecology, biology, conservation, or related disciplines; strong ornithological experience is strongly preferred. 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; and field ornithological experience. We expect any serious applicants will be competitive for and will apply to graduate fellowships.
For questions about the position:
Karen Hodges, firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank Doyle, email@example.com
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.