PhD position in assessing groundwater contribution to river thermal refuges for fish

Quebec City (QC, Canada)
PhD scholarships
Jun 13, 2018
Jul 13, 2018
Career Level
Student / Graduate
Education Level
Job Type
Relocation Cost
No Relocation
Sector Type


The Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) is a university dedicated to research and training at the graduate level. French is the official language. It has 4 research centres. The Centre Eau Terre Environnement focuses its activities on the sustainable management of water and earth resources.


This PhD research is part of a larger project entitled “Towards restoration and protection of fish habitats affected by mining activities in the North: Focus on the Caniapiscau River watershed” supported by the Environmental Damages Fund of Environment and Climate Change Canada. The source of the Caniapiscau River is around 52° latitude. The river crosses the northern Quebec for 400 km. It is located within the Ungava Bay catchment area and is recognized for its abundance of salmonids. The optimal temperature range for Salmonidae growth varies according to species, but is between 7°C and 17°C and lethal temperature range is 25-27°C. In summer, salmonids experience thermal stress in some rivers because of higher average water temperatures that affect their growth and even threaten their survival. Some specific zones in rivers constitute thermal refuges allowing fish to be more comfortable, grow and survive in some extreme cases. Extreme conditions are likely to occur more frequently in several rivers in Quebec due to climate change.  

The objective of this PhD project is to check for the presence of thermal refuges in the Caniapiscau River and to characterize the groundwater contribution to the river heat budget and hydraulics to better understand the temperature evolution and to anticipate changes. This PhD project includes instrumenting the river bed and banks with DTS temperature sensors and observation wells with underwater temperature and pressure sensors. Given the length of the river, work will focus on a sub-basin. Thermal properties of geological materials will be measured in the laboratory and integrated in a flow and heat transfer model coupling the surface and subsurface components to reproduce conditions and predict behaviour of thermal refuges in other rivers in Quebec.

QUALIFICATIONS: Master’s degree in physical or geological engineering (hydrogeology)