[ES_JOBS_NET] Fwd: PhD position: Plant trait variability

Oliver Sonnentag oliver.sonnentag at gmail.com
Wed Aug 3 14:29:35 MDT 2016

Dear all,

We are looking for a highly motivated individual for a PhD position
focusing on changes in plant functional traits along a latitudinal climate
and permafrost gradient in the Canadian boreal zone. The position is
located in the Département de géographie at Université de Montréal or in
the Department of Biology at Wilfrid Laurier University, and could begin as
early as* January 2017*.  Funding includes a stipend for the graduate
student, and travel and field expenses.  Students will be expected to apply
for external funding sources.

The project focuses on a better understanding of plant trait variability
and plasticity under the influence of rapidly changing environmental
conditions across boreal landscapes. The study area consists of a
latitudinal permafrost gradient (from no permafrost, over isolated,
sporadic and discontinuous, to continuous permafrost) spanning from the
southern- to the northern edge of the boreal forest ecozone in northwestern
Canada, and includes research sites in Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and
Northwest Territories. Permafrost along the southern edge of its
distribution undergoes dramatic changes in hydrological regimes due to
rapid permafrost thaw. These changes lead to diverging plant hydraulic
strategies; trees located in the well-drained permafrost peat plateaus
undergo water stress, while trees located on the plateau edges reduce/cease
their functioning due to waterlogging in response to surface subsidence as
a result of permafrost thaw. The project aims to expand on ongoing research
along this gradient with particular focus on across- and within site
variability of plant hydraulic traits. More specifically, the PhD candidate
will conduct a suite of field measurements geared towards a better
understanding of plant water fluxes and water use. This includes, but it is
not limited to, sap flux density measurements, stem water potential
measurements, tree stem dynamics measurements, foliar functional trait
measurement, and isotope analyses).

Ideal applicant for the PhD position should have

1)   a strong quantitative and technical background obtained through a
Master’s or Diploma degree in ecology, biogeosciences, environmental
science, etc.;

2)   previous exposure to some aspects of the project (e.g., high latitude
ecosystems/ecohydrology /biogeochemistry);

3)   (some) wilderness outdoor experience as the project requires frequent
traveling to and extended stays at the sites;

4)   the ability to work independently and effectively as part of a team
setting consisting of researchers from various Canadian universities
(Wilfrid Laurier University, Université de Montrèal, McGill University,
University of Guelph);

5)   proficiency in English (the Université de Montréal is a francophone
research university, so knowledge of French is of great advantage but not

Please email questions regarding the PhD position/admission process and
application packages consisting of cover letter, curriculum vitae, an
English writing sample (ideally a publication), copies of academic
credentials, and names and contact information of at least two referees to:

jbaltzer *at* wlu.ca

oliver.sonnentag *at* umontreal.ca

christoforos.pappas *at* umontreal.ca

The review of applications will commence immediately until the position is
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