A PhD opportunity in dendrochronology – Effect of species mixing on long-term trends in forest productivity
Although a large body of recent research has already pointed to possible effects of a changing climate on tree growth across the boreal forest, there is still a need for better empirical data to verify some of the most fundamental assumptions adopted in this research. Climate impact studies have revealed changes in growth rates and the extent of forest decline as a result of increased evapotranspiration demand, variability in the frequency of extreme climatic and disturbance events (such as fires, insect outbreaks), and indirect effects of climate change, involving tree regeneration and competitive interactions within community. However, a vast majority of these studies has relied on a combination of short-term observations and long-term model-driven projections involving many not-so-evident assumptions. To address this knowledge gap we will conduct a study looking specifically at long-term changes in growth rates in natural pure and mixed stands of boreal Quebec. We will consider low frequency (century long) trends in growth as integral metrics of climatically-driven changes in growing conditions.
We are looking for an ambitious and highly motivated PhD student with a completed master degree in forest ecology, climatology, geography, ecosystem modelling, or mathematics. Documented experiences in dendrochronology, GIS-added analyses, work with large relational databases, modeling of biological systems and good skills in computer programming (R) will all be valued during the evaluation process. It is important that the candidate is fluent in English and has an excellent ability to formulate himself/herself both orally and in writing. Knowledge of French is an strong asset.
A past record of scientific publication and presentation is highly valued. We put great emphasis on personal characteristics of the successful applicant, solid work ethic, and in particular - the ability to independently manage a large volume of fieldwork and laboratory tasks, and meet reporting and publication deadlines.
The successful candidate will join a dynamic and international team of the Forest Research Institute at the University of Quebec at Abitibi-Temiscamigue, Quebec Canada (Igor Drobyshev and Yves Bergeron). The position is offered within the framework of a three-year MITACS project Can tree species mixing improve resilience and productivity of boreal forests?, in cooperation with consortium OURANOS and Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles of Quebec (Daniel Houle).
It is expected that this 3-year PhD project will start in the January-February 2017.
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