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Cumulative impacts of beavers and climate on stream and lake hydrology

PhD opportunity under Philip Marsh, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Beavers are expanding north of the Arctic treeline and into the tundra regions, and the climate is changing rapidly. These changes are expected to impact the hydrology, permafrost, aquatic ecology and communities in these regions. Potential hydrologic impacts may include changing snowcover; creation of new aquatic habitats; fragmenting watersheds; changing water storage; impacting flows; changing lake levels; increasing lake evaporation and contributing to permafrost thaw.

 

This PhD project will quantify beaver and climate impacts on stream and lake hydrology through observations and modelling that will focus on two watersheds north of Inuvik, NWT, Trail Valley Creek and Hans Creek. Both have over 45 years of streamflow observations that cover the period of beaver expansion. Using data from these streams, the project will consider the effects of climate, beavers and their dams on lake area and numbers, water storage volume, lake/stream flows, water temperature, and permafrost. In winter, the project will investigate the role of beavers on snowcover and pond ice cover.

 

This position is fully funded and is a component of an integrated environmental project with researchers from the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, and universities across Canada and the United Kingdom.  

Funding: Graduate students at Laurier receive competitive funding packages that come from a combination of teaching assistantships, internal scholarships, and research assistantships. All students are strongly encouraged to apply for a variety of external scholarships. Students in Marsh’s research teams have been very successful in receiving external awards. Canadian applicants are strongly encouraged to apply. Funding for Arctic field research is provided by external research grants.

Further information on the Laurier graduate student program (joint with the University of Waterloo) is available at:

https://uwaterloo.ca/waterloo-laurier-graduate-program-in-geography/

https://www.wlu.ca/academics/faculties/graduate-and-postdoctoral-studies/funding-at-a-glance/index.html

 

Qualified Candidates will have: Previous degrees in relevant disciplines (e.g. geography, environmental science, hydrology, physics, engineering), and should possess aptitude and enthusiasm for understanding the integrated impacts of climate change and beavers on Arctic hydrology. Experience in northern environments is an asset but is not required.

 

Start Date: September 2022. Possibility of start date in June 2022 as a summer employee.

 

Project Description: This PhD position is available in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, and Cold Regions Research Centre, at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

 

Application: 1) Cover letter outlining qualifications and research interest; 2) Curriculum vitae; 3) Contact information for 2 academic references.

 

To apply: Send the requested application information to Dr. Philip Marsh (pmarsh@wlu.ca)

Further Information: Trail Valley Creek Research Watershed; Cold Regions Research Centre

Graduate Student Research Opportunities 

Masters and Doctoral research opportunities in hydrological change in the Canadian Arctic,

Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Professor Philip Marsh,

 

Climate warming affects the hydrology of the Arctic through complex interactions between the climate; snow; surface and groundwater runoff; lakes, ponds and wetlands; soil moisture; permafrost; evapotranspiration; beavers; and vegetation for example. Understanding the controlling processes, as well as understanding past changes in hydrology and the range of possible future scenarios of change requires the convergence and integration of field observations; process studies; hydrologic and climate data sets; remote sensing; and high-resolution hydrologic modelling. Professor Marsh has been building such a research program in the Inuvik, NWT region over the past decades. As a main component of this effort, research has been continuously carried out at the Trail Valley Creek (TVC) Research Station (Trailvalleycreek.ca) and the Havikpak Creek watershed for the last 30 years. This research has allowed the development of a unique, long term dataset, and the testing and development of hydrologic models.

 

Examples of past research in these watersheds are listed in Professor Marsh’s Google Scholar profile.

We invite graduate student applications for MSc and PhD positions in understanding and predicting Arctic hydrologic change under a rapidly changing climate. Potential research could include:

  • Analysis of long-term climate and hydrologic data sets at TVC and nearby areas to understand past changes in hydrology,

  • Hydrologic process studies of snow accumulation and melt; hillslope hydrology; and development of taliks and effects on suprapermafrost groundwater flow,

  • Testing and improvement of high-resolution hydrologic models to consider past changes in hydrology, and/or

  • Applying these improved hydrologic models to understand the effects of climate change scenarios on future hydrology.

Ideal candidates should have previous degrees in relevant disciplines (e.g. geography, environmental science, engineering, physics, atmospheric science), and should possess aptitude and enthusiasm for understanding the impacts of climate change on Arctic hydrology. We especially encourage applicants with an interest in high-resolution hydrologic modelling. Proficiency with appropriate modelling tools is essential. Experience in northern environments is an asset, but not required.

Graduate students receive competitive funding packages that come from a combination of teaching assistantships, internal scholarships, and research assistantships for example. All students are strongly encouraged to apply for a variety of external scholarships. Dr. Marsh’s students have been very successful in receiving such awards over the past years. International PhD applicants may apply for awards to offset the fee differential between Canadian and International student fees. Funding for Arctic field research is provided by external research grants.

Wilfrid Laurier University Geography and Environmental Studies Department has a joint graduate program with the University of Waterloo. This is the second largest Geography graduate program in Canada, and the sixth largest in North America. You will find a large number of students, research associates, post doctoral fellows, and faculty exploring a wide range of research interests and offering a challenging and stimulating research environment.

https://uwaterloo.ca/waterloo-laurier-graduate-program-in-geography/

For admission in September 2021, candidates are encouraged to contact Dr. Philip Marsh. Please submit a cover letter highlighting relevant experience and your interest in joining our research team, a list of courses taken and marks, and a curriculum vitae to Philip Marsh (pmarsh@wlu.ca) with the subject line “AHRG Graduate Student”.

Dr. Philip Marsh, Professor and Canada Research Chair, Wilfrid Laurier University. Philipmarsh.ca

We are always interested in bringing on new members to the team! Please contact us for more information about ongoing or future research opportunities at the undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral level