From: Ecological Society of America: grants, jobs, news
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Philip McLoughlin
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 12:09 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [ECOLOG-L] Ph.D. and post-doc applications! Wild horses on Sable
Island, Nova Scotia: opportunities in fundamental ecology and conservation
biology (wild horses, seals, bird life, vegetation).
We are developing a long-term, individual-based program of research into the
ecology and evolution of the feral horses living on Sable Island, Nova
Scotia. As part of this initiative, we are looking to recruit Ph.D.
students to ask fundamental questions of the population ecology, life
history, behaviour, and evolution of the feral horse population, and inter-
species and inter-ecosystem dynamics between horses, vegetation, and other
species on the island such as birds and seals. We are particularly
interested in mature M.Sc. students that are interested in developing a
Ph.D. program that will contribute to and make use of the long-term data set
my lab is collecting on the life histories of the horses on the island.
This summer will be the fourth year of data collection, which includes
summer censusing and identification of all individuals on the island using
digital photography, and documentation of individual life histories with the
goal of constructing whole-island pedigrees. Sample sizes are large, with
more than 400 horses currently living on the island. Ph.D. students with
2-3 years of further data collection will be in a position to ask incredibly
interesting questions regarding individual- based dynamics, band dynamics
and dispersal, behaviour and dominance, habitat selection, social
networking, sex-ratios, or, with potential sampling of horses for DNA and
traits such as body size, questions on genetics and evolution, including
paternity. There is also the potential to ask questions (depending on
securing additional funding) of the impacts of the feral horses on island
bird populations, including endangered Roseate Terns.
The important thing is that applicants will be mature enough to develop
their own insightful questions of ecology, using the system we have access
to on Sable Island as a model. That said, our lab is following several
lines of research that potential students may want to build on. Current
students are studying spatial heterogeneity in horse population growth on
the island, band-level social networking, patterns in vegetation and
successional dynamics, and spatial heterogeneity in isotopic signatures from
vegetation samples and horse tissues to develop isoscapes to determine the
importance of seal and seabird transference of marine- derived nutrients to
island dynamics. Opportunities to publish in the best journals of our field
and set oneself up for a career in academia can be found here. Field work
will occur principally in late summer on Sable Island; further information
on this field site can be found at our lab website, below.
Successful applicants will require a Canadian NSERC PGS scholarship or other
secured source of scholarship funding (e.g., if an international student).
I am particularly interested in students that anticipate being successful in
this year's NSERC scholarship round, to start this summer or in the fall; or
students that are in the process of finishing their M.Sc.
and would thus be in a position to apply for an NSERC scholarship this
October, for a start date in May 2012. Preference will be given to students
that aspire to a career in academia and who have a track record that
reflects this career goal. In addition to obtaining scholarships, students
will be expected to apply for and help secure research funding for their own
projects. Postdoctoral students with funding in-hand are always welcome.
Interested students should contact me by email ([log in to unmask]),
and be prepared to submit a current CV with copies of publications and an
academic transcript. As the funding for this position will require a fully
funded scholarship secured by the student, I will only be able to review
applications of students that have a competitive grade point average and
record of publication in peer- reviewed journals.