PhD project in taiga fire ecology

PhD project in fire ecology in the eastern Canadian taiga

We are seeking an outstanding PhD candidate to conduct a thesis in fire ecology in the fire-prone eastern Canadian taiga. The project will be undertaken at the University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR; in collaboration with Laval University, the Canadian Forest Service and the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT). The thesis will be part of a larger multidisciplinary project funded by NSERC, the Ouranos consortium, Hydro-Québec and Manitoba Hydro, that will focus on mapping the fire risk and performing a cost-benefit analysis of fire mitigation scenarios.

The selected candidate will be responsible for reconstructing the fire regime of the last 200 years along a continentality gradient corresponding to a 200 km road transect. An important challenge will consist in combining several field approaches to reconstruct fire date, fire size and fire numbers as fire activity decreases inland. A second challenge will be to quantify the interactions and feedbacks between wildfire activity and forest composition along the fire activity gradient.

The candidate will actively contribute to the production and interpretation of data and to the writing of scientific manuscripts. He/she will be mainly under the supervision of Dominique Arseneault and Martin Simard and will benefit from the diverse expertise of our team members in the fields of taiga ecology, fire ecology, dendrochronology and remote sensing. The candidate will be awarded a financial support of $21,000 (Canadian dollars) per year for a period of three years.

We are looking for a candidate with a master degree (MSc) in a relevant field (forestry, biology, geography, environmental sciences). The successful candidate will possess an excellent academic record, as well as strong analytical and problem-solving skills. He/she must be interested to perform fieldwork in difficult conditions, be resistant and efficient in the field, and should be able to work with autonomy, curiosity, discipline, motivation and determination and have excellent writing skills. Knowledge of French is an asset but is not mandatory.

The project will begin as soon as possible, preferably in September 2017. We will accept applications as long as the position is not filled. Interested candidates must submit a letter of motivation, their academic transcripts, as well as the contact information of three references to Dominique Arseneault (