Graduate Students

Two Graduate Positions Available 
Linking Spatial Stoichiometry and Resource Selection to Population Ecology

Start date May 2016

We are recruiting an exceptional graduate student onto a collaborative research program: Effects of Forest Harvest on Population Dynamics, Distribution, and Stoichiometry in Lynx-Hare-Plant Food Webs in Newfoundland. Our preference is for a committed, thoughtful, and independent MSc student; however, outstanding PhD applicants with a track-record of submitted or published relevant research will be considered. The project and position are fully funded. Nevertheless, students will be encouraged to compete for internal and external funding; higher GPAs and a history of publications improves competitiveness. The competition will remain open until the position is filled.

Project: Populations consist of individuals that typically exhibit variation in their response to environmental change. The goal of this research project is to better understand how environmental changes due to forest harvest practices affect individual-based traits that could influence measures of fitness (growth, reproduction, survival). The project will focus on two families of traits: individual-based measures of resource or habitat selection, and variation in stoichiometry (i.e., Carbon:Nitrogen ratio and quantity). This project tests the effects of forest harvest practices on these traits in a trophic hierarchy consisting of herbivores (snowshoe hare) and predators (Canada lynx).

Team: This project is part of a larger research program at MUN that includes food-web ecology and ecological stoichiometry (Leroux Lab) and landscape ecology (Wiersma Lab). The successful applicant will have the opportunity to work closely with all three labs, including collaborating with two other exceptional graduate students on this research program (a PhD student with Leroux and a MSc student with Wiersma).

Training Opportunity: This project will provide excellent opportunities for training and developing marketable skills for employment or further graduate studies. For example, (1) Fundamentals: critical thinking, experimental design, practicing and communicating science; (2) Field skills: trapping and handling hare and lynx; biotelemetry; and snow tracking; (3) Analytical: advanced GIS, capture-mark-recapture population estimates, and programing statistical, spatial, and population models.

Qualifications: Applicants should have four main qualities: (1) a passion for ecological and evolutionary theory; (2) an aptitude for and commitment to research in the field – in all seasons; (3) well-developed quantitative skills in GIS, statistical programing in R, and experience or an interest in developing those skills; (4) and foremost, evidence of collegiality.

Wildlife Evolutionary Ecology Lab ( We are a question-driven research group; one of a number of productive and dynamic research groups in ecology, evolution, and animal behavior at MUN. We bridge fundamental and applied questions in evolutionary, behavioral, population, and wildlife ecology.

To apply please send a letter of interest, CV, and transcripts (unofficial) to

Start date January to September 2015

We are looking for one PhD student  who will be primarily supervised by Dr. Shawn Leroux and will collaborate with 2 MSc students in the Wiersma and Vander Wal labs to study the influence of forest harvesting on the spatial dynamics of terrestrial food webs. This project will involve a field-based case study of forest harvest impacts on a lynx-hare-plant food web in central Newfoundland and the development of more general spatial food web statistical and mathematical models. A central question for this research is how forestry-mediated variation in resource (ie plant, hare) quality (i.e., C:N ratio) and quantity (i.e., biomass) influence consumer population dynamics and persistence.

Successful candidates should have a good working knowledge of R, Geographic Information Systems and mathematical modeling or be willing to develop such skills. In the case of the terrestrial food web PhD position, experience managing a terrestrial field research project is an asset. Both students will be part of a collaborative research team, one of many productive research groups at MUN, and will be expected to work closely together on general spatial food web theory.

Applicants should send a cv, transcripts, and a statement of interest to Shawn J. Leroux: Applications will be considered until the positions are filled.


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