PhD and Post-Doc positions in forest ecology

 Postdoctoral and PHD positions in forest ecology
modeling (posted Oct 26, 2012)


We are seeking a postdoctoral fellow and a PHD student to work on a team
project on modeling forest growth and dynamics at the temperate-boreal
forest transition. The successful candidates will work in collaboration with
a large team of forest ecologists and modelers.

POSTDOC POSITION. The general objective of this project is to develop a
suite of forest dynamic models that will be used by natural resources
managers to better understand (i) the different uncertainties associated
with climate change and (ii) how current land-use practices can affect the
diversity and functioning of the transitional forest between the temperate
and boreal biomes. The current tools that are used to predict its impact on
forest ecosystems are limited because they lack important ecological
knowledge. These models are inappropriate for forest ecosystems because they
do not consider how the complex interplay between dispersal, interspecific
interactions and forest management will affect migration dynamics and
productivity. The postdoctoral researcher will develop a modeling suite
spanning different spatial and temporal scales, from local scales and short
time horizons (10-25 years) to the large (regional) spatial scales and long
time horizons (100-200 years). We will focus on forest Eastern Canada at the
transition between temperate and boreal biomes since we expect the greatest
impacts of climate change to occur in such forests.

A PhD degree in biology, forestry or environmental science is required.
Candidates must also have strong skills in modeling, forest ecology,
statistics and analyses of large databases. Training in mathematics is
considered a valuable asset. A fellowship of $ 40,000 per year for 2 years
is offered.

PHD POSITION. The challenge of sustainable forest management is to satisfy
simultaneously economical, social and environmental concerns. This project
aims to maximize these three objectives by developing silvicultural
practices that will promote diversity of forest stands. There is now a
consensus, for several systems, that biodiversity has a positive effect on
the provision of ecosystem services. Despite the documented advantages of a
new silvicultural strategy that is explicitly based on the promotion of
biodiversity, several barriers are preventing the application of this
concept in current forestry practices. The general objective of this project
is thus to evaluate operationally the effect of tree diversity on forest
productivity and on the sustainable annual allowable cut. The project
consists of developing regional growth and yield models that will account
for competition and facilitation. The models will be developed from
temporary and permanent sampling plots and an experimental design of high
diversity plantations. The growth models will be used to evaluate the impact
of different silvicultural practices promoting tree diversity on the
sustainable annual allowable cut of representative management areas of
temperate, mixed and boreal forests.

An MSc degree in forestry, biology, environmental sciences or statistics is
ideal, but other fields may be considered. Applicants should have a
demonstrated interest in ecological modelling, working with large databases,
a good statistical basis and some programming skills or at least a strong
interest in learning it. A fellowship of $ 20,000 per year for 3 years is
offered.

INTSTRUCTIONS. Applications, including a letter describing research
interests, a CV, copies of transcripts and the contact information for two
references, or any questions about the project should be directed to
dominique_gravel@uqar.ca. Knowledge of French is not required but the
student must be open to learn and work in this environment.
Research activities will be conducted at the biology department at the
Université du Québec à Rimouski (http://www.uqar.ca). The candidates will be
invited to join the activities of a dynamic laboratories
(http://chaire-eec.uqar.qc.ca) and an active team of collaborators from the
Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science (http://qcbs.ca) and the Center for
Forest Science (http//www.cef-cfr.ca/). The student will also benefit from
the resources and training offered by a training program in forest
complexity modeling (http://www.fcm.uqam.ca/).

Dominique Gravel
Canada Research Chair
Continental ecosystem ecology
Université du Québec à Rimouski
300 Allée des Ursulines
Rimouski, Québec, G5L 3A1
(418) 723-1986 #1752
dominique_gravel@uqar.ca
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