MSc and PhD POSITIONS in CONSERVATION of FRESHWATER FISHES

 

Freshwater fishes are among the most imperiled taxa in the world. Over 30% of freshwater fishes in North America, and over 25% in Canada, are of conservation concern. The primary current stressors related to imperilment are habitat alteration and destruction, and aquatic invasive species. While native species are declining, aquatic invasive species are spreading in North America. These trends are expected to be exacerbated in the future by stressors such as climate change and human population growth. The objective of the Mandrak lab research program is to better understand the patterns, processes, and stressors of Canadian freshwater fishes at multiple taxonomic and geographic scales. Such knowledge is essential for the conservation, protection, and recovery of freshwater fish biodiversity in Canada.

 

  1. MSc Position – Historical Changes in the Fish Assemblages of the Credit River or Grand River Watersheds

Several datasets and additional sampling will be used to examine the effects of multiple stressors (e.g. changing land use pattern, population growth, invasive species) on Great Lakes riverine fish assemblages. There is the potential to include an internship at a conservation authority as part of the MSc program. Applicants should have a working knowledge of ArcGIS and R, and good quantitative skills. Interest in and experience with fishes is a definite asset.

 

  1. MSc or PhD Position – Developing Species Distribution Models for Riverine Fish Species

To fill knowledge gaps in fish distributions, particularly species at risk, landscape-based distribution models need to be developed for the Canadian Great Lakes basin. Depending on the geographic and taxonomic scale of the research, this would be suitable as an MSc or PhD project. There is the potential to include an internship at a conservation authority. Applicants should have a working knowledge of ArcGIS and R, and good quantitative skills. PhD applicants should extensive GIS, R, and quantitative experience relevant to the project. Interest in and experience with fishes is a definite asset. This project will be undertaken in collaboration with Dr. Nick Jones, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

 

  1. MSc or PhD Position – Developing Movement Models for Fish Species at Risk

An assessment of movement is required for several fish species at risk in Ontario. Recent population genetic analyses indicate that the Threatened Spotted Gar may be philopatric, which may have implications for identifying critical habitat. To test this hypothesis, Spotted Gar need to be tagged and tracked in Rondeau Bay. The Special Concern Grass Pickerel is often found in agricultural drains. To examine the effects of agricultural drain maintenance on Grass Pickerel, several hundred individuals were tagged and tracked before and after drain maintenance. The tracking data need to be analyzed to determine the effects of drain maintenance. Separately, these projects would be suitable MSc projects. Together, along with other potential research, these would be suitable as a PhD project. Applicants should have a working knowledge of ArcGIS and R, and good quantitative skills. PhD applicants should have extensive ArcGIS, R, and quantitative experience relevant to the project.

 

MSc and PhD POSITIONS in ASIAN CARP RESEARCH

Four species of invasive Asian carps are established in the Mississippi basin and have had devastating ecological impacts. Of the four species, only Grass Carp are known to be reproducing in the Great Lakes. Risk assessments have concluded that all four species are a high risk to the Great Lakes and would have significant ecological impacts if they became established. The Asian Carp Programme of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has a primary goal of preventing establishment of Asian carps in Canada, and a secondary goal of developing control strategies should they become established. Research is ongoing at DFO and University of Toronto Scarborough to inform updated risk assessments that will form the basis for prevention measures, and to identify effective control strategies.

 

  1. MSc Position – Evaluation of Potential Control Measures for Asian Carps

DFO and University of Toronto Scarborough are currently conducting mesocosm studies using surrogate species to determine the effectiveness of various control measures. Laboratory experiments are required to acquire a better mechanistic understanding of the effectiveness of various control measures. These experiments will be conducted at aquatic facilities at the Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences in Burlington, ON and at University of Toronto Scarborough. There may also be an opportunity to participate in the mesocosm experiments. Applicants should have good laboratory and quantitative skills. Fish keeping experience is an asset.

 

  1. PhD Position – Assessing the Suitability of Canadian Great Lakes Tributaries for Asian Carp Spawning using Hydrologic Models

To better understand the ability of Asian carps to successfully reproduce in Canadian Great Lakes tributaries, preliminary modeling has been conducted based on the specific spawning requirements of Asian carps. This preliminary analysis identified over 50 Canadian tributaries that might be suitable for spawning. More detailed hydrological modeling based on field data is required to further assess the spawning suitability of a subset of the 50+ tributaries. Applicants should have a working knowledge of ArcGIS and R, and good quantitative skills. Applicants should have extensive ArcGIS, R, and quantitative experience relevant to the project. The PhD candidate will be co-supervised by Dr. Mathew Well, Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough.

In addition to the requirements identified above, all applicants should have excellent organizational, interpersonal, and oral and written communications skills.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the positions are filled. Interested applicants should submit a CV, unofficial transcript, and a cover letter outlining their qualifications and research interests to:

Nicholas E. Mandrak, PhD

Associate Professor

Department of Biological Sciences

University of Toronto Scarborough

1265 Military Trail

Toronto, ON M1C 1A4

[email protected]

Tel:  416 208 2248

Fax: 416 287 7676

UTSC Conservation and Biodiversity Graduate Program

www.utsc.utoronto.ca/physsci/conservation-and-biodiversity