Prospective Students

Current positions available for MScs, PhDs and PDFs - please contact Barb Thomas directly or visit ALES Graduate Student Positions


Project 1 (MSc): Underlying causes for low seed yields in lodgepole pine seed orchards in Alberta

We are seeking a qualified MSc student to lead a two-year study on the effects of grafting and microsite conditions on cone development and seed production in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) seed orchards.

Seed orchards play a critical role in providing high-quality seed for reforestation. However, some orchards fail to meet production targets by as much as 80%. The student will monitor the development of newly emerged cones in three lodgepole pine seed orchards near Grande Prairie, AB in spring (May-July) of 2019 and 2020. Two of these orchards consist of grafted trees and suffer high conelet abortion rates, while the third orchard consist of trees grown from seed and has consistently low abortion rates. The student will use root data generated from ground-penetrating radar to assess if grafting had a negative effect on root development and if that in turn may be linked to high conelet abortion. The student will also collect data on microsite conditions (water availability, soil compaction, canopy microclimate) to examine their role in conelet abortion. This project is part of a broader study that aims to understand the underlying drivers of conelet abortion and the student will be working as part of a team of researchers.

Qualifications: Preference will be given to prospective students that have:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in forestry, plant genetics, ecology, or related field
  • An interest in forest genetics and ecophysiology
  • A valid class 5 driver’s licence (or equivalent), and eligibility to drive UofA vehicles
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English
  • Knowledge of experimental design and statistical programs would be an asset

Funding: This project is fully funded through an NSERC Collaborative Research and Development Grant in partnership with forest industry partners.

Start date: May 2019


Project 2 (PhD): Field Assessment of Size and Sex of Native Trembling Aspen Stands Along the Boreal Forest Fringe

We are seeking a PhD student to investigate the mechanisms underpinning the stand structure and gender distribution of trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) along the boreal fringe. The student will select and sample aspen stands along the boreal forest fringe and link physiological and phenological responses to growth, wood quality characteristics and sex. This project is part of a broader study that aims to understand the role of sex and ecophysiological responses in shaping the distribution and long-term survival of aspen under climate change.

Qualifications: Preference will be given to prospective students that have:

  • An MSc degree in forestry, plant genetics, ecology, or related field.
  • An understanding of tree phenology and ecophysiology.
  • A GPA >3.5 and evidence of success.
  • Experience in field work and working in remote locations under minimal supervision.
  • A valid class 5 driver’s licence (or equivalent), and be eligible to drive UofA vehicles.
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English.
  • Knowledge of experimental design and associated statistical programs (eg: R, SAS).

Funding: This project is partially funded through an NSERC Discovery Grant and additional scholarship funds will be required. Additional funding is available for Canadian students with a GPA of 3.7 or greater. Students will be required to pursue additional funding through internal/external sources, as well as via teaching opportunities.

Start date: May, or Sept. 2019.


Project 3 (MSc): Sex Response in Seedlings to Abiotic Drought Stress Under Greenhouse Conditions in a Clonal Species

We are seeking a qualified MSc student to lead a greenhouse study on the effects of drought stress on sex performance of trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides). Provenance and sex performance of seedlings will be compared through ecophysiological assessments, growth, biomass allocation and water use efficiency. This project is part of a broader study that aims to understand the role of sex and ecophysiological responses in shaping the distribution and long-term survival of aspen under climate change.

Qualifications: Preference will be given to prospective students that have:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in forestry, plant genetics, ecology, or related field.
  • An understanding of forest genetics and ecophysiology.
  • A GPA >3.5 and evidence of success.
  • Experience with ecophysiology equipment such as an IRGA and pressure chamber.
  • A valid class 5 driver’s licence (or equivalent), and be eligible to drive UofA vehicles.
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English.
  • Knowledge of experimental design and associated statistical programs (eg: R, SAS).

Funding: This project is partially funded through an NSERC Discovery Grant and additional scholarship funds will be required. Additional funding is available for Canadian students with a GPA of 3.7 or greater. Students will be required to pursue additional funding through internal/external sources, as well as via teaching opportunities.

Start date: May or Sept. 2019.


Application

Prospective graduate students must apply through the University of Alberta Graduate Studies; however, those interested should first email Dr. Barb Thomas (bthomas@ualberta.ca and cc Morgan Randall mrandall@ualberta.ca) the following information:

  • a letter of interest (1 page)
  • a CV describing qualifications and experience
  • unofficial transcripts
  • contact information for three references

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.  Informal inquiries to gain more information about the positions are also welcome.