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PhD project - Assessing boreal forest dynamics under climate change

09 Jan 2023 10:31 | Anonymous

The Integrative Wildlife Conservation lab at Trent University is offering a PhD project on the application of remote sensing technologies for assessing the state of boreal forest structure and dynamics near Kluane Lake, Yukon. For decades, Canada lynx and their prey have been studied intensively in the Kluane region, and the new project extends this work into the realm of vegetation and snow dynamics in this rapidly-changing northern landscape. Using a recently-acquired unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with LiDAR, multispectral, hyperspectral, thermal and RGB cameras, and combined with archived satellite data for the region, we will investigate: 1) patterns of forest productivity, regeneration, and phenology across space and time; 2) sources of forest heterogeneity and resiliency to climate change; 3) spatial mapping of a herbivore energy landscape; and 4) snow condition variation and its implications on forest structure and wildlife habitat availability. In addition, this project provides several opportunities and potential collaborations related to: 4) validating new remote sensing tools for forest health and snow condition assessment; 5) forecasting future boreal forest dynamics under climate change; and 6) relating forest characteristics to the movements and habitat selection of Canada lynx and snowshoe hares that are radio-collared on site. The PhD student will have the opportunity to develop specific research questions within the scope of the larger project.

Successful candidates MUST have an MSc in Ecology, Remote Sensing, or related field, demonstrated evidence of peer-reviewed publications, strong field and quantitative skills, GIS and related analysis, and an interest in working collaboratively within a large and diverse research group. Additional desirable skills include experience in drone operation and working in remote field conditions.

To apply, send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, unofficial academic transcript, and contact information for 3 references to: Dennis Murray (dennismurray@trentu.ca).

For additional details, see www.dennismurray.ca.

The position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

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