PhD program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
We are seeking a PhD student to join our team in studying beaver engineering and its impact on the arctic ecosystem. The student will be involved in establishing and conducting research as part of the Arctic Beaver Observation Network, a 5-yr NSF project. Candidates need to have a MSc, substantial experience with geospatial analysis, and strong interpersonal skills. The student will join our interdisciplinary beaver research team (more below) and collaborate with team members to detect recent changes in surface water and beaver disturbances across the Arctic. The student will plan and contribute to fieldwork, participate in team discussions, and develop and implement rigorous remote sensing approaches with support from the research team. Fieldwork occurs twice a year in the late winter and late summer and involves a mixture of road-based and remote wilderness work in western and northern Alaska tundra. The student will develop a set of research questions during their first year. Because beaver engineering impacts nearly all aspects of lowland ecosystems, there is a breadth of possible topics for the dissertation, from water quality and permafrost thaw to ecosystems, fish and people, and could include a combination of field measurements and geospatial analysis. The student will fulfill coursework in the Earth System Science PhD program, which has a variety of tracks to choose from, including Cryosphere, Ecosystems, Hydrology, and Geospatial Sciences. Tuition waiver and research assistantship are available for 3 years, after which the student is expected to work with us to obtain completion funding. Anticipated start date: April to September 2022. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, CV, and contacts for 3 references to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beaver research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
Our research group at the Geophysical Institute focuses on the effects of climate change and novel disturbance regimes on arctic ecosystems. Our core beaver research group is Ken Tape (https://sites.google.com/a/alaska.edu/kentape/), Ben Jones (https://ine.uaf.edu/werc/people/faculty/benjamin-jones/), and Jason Clark. We work closely with Caroline Brown and Helen Cold (Alaska Dept of Fish & Game), who specialize in human dimensions of climate change. Acclaimed Alaskan author Seth Kantner is also part of the project team. Our background is in studying climate change in the Arctic, including permafrost, hydrology, vegetation, wildlife, coastal erosion, people, and now beaver engineering. The outsized role of disturbance in permafrost landscapes has guided much of our past research, as has the expansion of vegetation and wildlife distribution in the Arctic. Beaver engineering is a profound new disturbance in the Arctic, both for permafrost and the physical environment, as well as for biota. We have several projects studying various aspects of beaver engineering: permafrost, hydrology, fish, eDNA, carbon cycling, water quality, and subsistence harvest. Our group actively collaborates with numerous working groups and research networks studying the arctic ecosystem, both nationally and internationally.