NSERC Strategic Grant – 2 PhD Positions Available

As part of the NSERC Strategic Grant 2 Ph.D. positions (funded for 4 years) are available under the co-supervision of Dr. Ian Fleming of Memorial University’s Department of Ocean Sciences and Dr. Ian Bradbury of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Escapes of farm salmon are both an economic loss and an environmental concern. Their effects on wild salmon populations will be a function of: (1) the presence of escapes and subsequent interbreeding (frequency and magnitude); (2) differences in traits that affect survival, competition and reproduction; (3) ability of natural systems to buffer against escapes through natural selection; and (4) our ability to mitigate impacts. The Ph.D. students will work collaboratively, with one focused on quantifying the realized reproductive success resulting from a large escape event in 2013 and selection over time using genomic tools (RAD-seq; SNP identification; Fluidigm nanofluidic ditital array). The second student will quantify the potential viability of crosses of wild salmon with North American- and European-origin farm salmon, by comparing functional traits and behavioural interactions among offspring (pure and hybrid ) from the crosses. Furthermore, using a combination of microarray and RNA-seq-based transcriptome analyses (in collaboration with Dr. Matt Rise), we will assess differences in genetic expression among offspring of the different crosses at the stage of first feeding. The project also involves a replicated experimental release of offspring of wild salmon and NA-origin farm salmon (pure and hybrid). The research will be based in the Evolutionary Ecology Laboratory of Dr. Fleming (http://www.mun.ca/osc/ifleming/index.php) at Memorial University and the Population Genomics Laboratory of Dr. Bradbury at DFO. There is flexibility and scope within the projects for the successful candidates to develop and address additional questions.

Students should be prepared to share their enthusiasm for research and associated skills openly within and among the research groups, and by doing so, contribute to a dynamic research environment. While they will be based in the respective laboratories at Memorial University and DFO, students should be prepared to travel temporarily between laboratories and to the South coast of Newfoundland for research.

The ideal start date would be either May or August 2015. Major scholarship holders will receive generous top-ups to their awards.

Qualifications: The ideal candidates will possess an MSc; have research interests and training in the areas of fish ecology and behaviour, population genomics and fish rearing and; be capable of designing and undertaking both field and laboratory research; and have reasonable facility with the analysis of large data sets.

Prospective candidates should email a cover letter, CV, unofficial transcripts and contact information for three people who can serve as references. Review of applicants will begin 16 February 2014 and continue until the positions are filled.

Dr. Ian A. Fleming
Department of Ocean Sciences
Memorial University of Newfoundland
ifleming AT mun.ca

Dr. Ian Bradbury
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Science Branch, 80 East White Hills Road
P. O. Box 5667, St. John’s, NL  A1C 5X1
ibradbur AT me.com