Monday, March 21, 2016

Ph.D. Position in Isotopic Ecology of Wild (Feral) Horses on Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada

Location: University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada AND/OR University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada (collaboration). Field work occurs on Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Supervisors: Dr. Keith A. Hobson, University of Western Ontario, London, ON and Dr. Philip McLoughlin, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.

Salary: $20000/year for a minimum of 3 years.

Start date: September 1st 2016 (preferred) or May 1st 2017.

APPLICATION DUE DATE: Applications will begin being reviewed April 1, 2016.

Project: We are looking to recruit a PhD student to contribute to our long- term individual-based study of feral horses on Sable Island (Nova Scotia, Canada) initiated in 2007. This project will focus on the evolutionary consequences of a strong gradient in habitat quality along the length of the island (horse density drops by half from west to east). The student will investigate sources of nutrition and drinking water to feral horses using naturally occurring stable isotope (d13C, d15N, d2H) tracers as well as more conventional methods. The student will spend up to 2 months on Sable Island each summer for fieldwork. Daily tasks, shared by the entire research team, will include walking censuses and photography of horses, collection of samples, laboratory work, identification of individuals from digital photographs, and database management. Students visiting Sable Island must work well in teams, deal well with life in a remote research station, be able to travel by small airplane, fishing trawler, helicopter, or frigate, and be reasonably fit as walking censuses require lots of hiking. Courses on first aid and driving All Terrain Vehicles will be provided prior to fieldwork.

This position is fully funded for a minimum of 3 years (salary of $20000/year) but the student will be expected to apply for internal scholarships (e.g., teaching assistant positions) and external scholarships (e.g. NSERC).

While all applications are welcomed, preference will be given to Canadians who are competitive for an NSERC scholarship (GPA > 3.8) and international students who can secure a scholarship in their home country. Previous experience with using stable isotope methods in ecological research is an asset.

To apply send an email titled SABLE ISLAND PHD 2016 by APRIL 1, 2016 to and (cc’d) including:
  • A short summary of research interests
  • A current CV
  • PDFs of undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • The names and email addresses of 3 potential references