PhD project – Spatial dynamics of snowshoe hares in response to variation in resource availability; Ontario, Canada

Trent University
Peterborough, ON, Canada
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
TBD (varies for MSc/PhD applicants)
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
The Integrative Wildlife Conservation lab at Trent University is initiating a PhD project on the movement and spatial dynamics of snowshoe hares at Kluane Lake, Yukon. Snowshoe hares have been studied for >30 years on-site, and we are launching an assessment of the role of food and cover on hare movements and spatial dynamics in the context of their 10-year population cycles. Using archived as well as new GPS telemetry and accelerometry data, combined with detailed assessment of structural cover and food availability on the landscape, the project will address how hares adjust their movements, habitat selection and spatial dynamics in response to variable environmental risks (exposure to predators) and rewards (nutrition). Our recent work (Boudreau et al. 2019 doi: 10.1007/s00442-019-04500-2; Peers et al. 2020.; Shiratsuru et al. 2021 suggests that hares live on the fine edge of high risk from predation at Kluane, but this pressure is variable both seasonally and through the hare cycle. Thus, an evolving interest is assessing how hares vary their risk-reward tradeoff both in response to snowcover and through phases of the 10-year population cycle. Because the combined datasets available to the PhD student will span a complete hare population cycle and we are also working on hare predators and vegetation dynamics in the same area, there are excellent opportunities to evaluate complex predator-prey and plant-herbivore interactions, including in the context of climate change. The PhD student will have the opportunity to develop specific research questions within the scope of the larger project and collaborate with other students and researchers working on related questions in the Kluane system.
Successful candidates MUST have an MSc in Ecology, Conservation Biology, or related field, demonstrated evidence of peer-reviewed publications, strong field and quantitative skills, and an interest in working collaboratively within a large and diverse research group. Additional desirable skills include animal handling, GPS telemetry, application of animal movement models and spatial analysis, and working in remote field conditions, including during winter. For additional details, see To apply, send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, unofficial academic transcript, and contact information for 3 references to: Dennis Murray ( The position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is found.
Contact Person
Dennis Murray
Contact eMail
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