PhD Position in Coastal Hydrogeology
The RESTORE Research Group in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Western University and the Centre for Water Resources Studies in the Department of Civil and Resource Engineering at Dalhousie University are seeking a PhD student to conduct exciting modeling- and field-based research focused on the hydrology of Sable Island. Sable Island is approximately 250 km east of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia and is home to more than 400 wild horses, a large population of grey seals, and an at-risk Savannah sparrow subspecies. Due to the historical and ecological importance of Sable Island, Parks Canada assumed management in 2013 to create a Canadian national park reserve. A documentary on Sable can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7xaJExGG3g.
There are no lakes or rivers on Sable, and the natural ecosystem and limited human presence rely on a freshwater ‘lens’ of groundwater that is surrounded and underlain by seawater. Ponds, which are thought to be groundwater-sourced, also dot the landscape. The freshwater lens and ponds are threatened by storm surges and sea level rise. The dynamics that control groundwater recharge, flow, and discharge on Sable must be better understood to manage the critical freshwater resources. The student will be tasked with developing a state-of-the-art groundwater model of Sable Island that is parameterized and calibrated through extensive data collection. The model will incorporate tide and wave dynamics as well as pond-aquifer interactions and will investigate the impacts of climate change on freshwater lens dynamics.
The student project is a component of a larger collaborative research project on the freshwater resources of Sable Island. The project is administered through a working group including researchers from the Royal Military College of Canada (Dr. Michael Hulley and Dr. Kela Webar), Western University (Dr. Clare Robinson), and Dalhousie University (Dr. Barret Kurylyk). Student responsibilities will include groundwater modeling, designing and executing field experiments, as well as coordinating with the larger research team. Applicants are expected to have a background in groundwater or surface water hydrology (engineering or science undergraduate degrees are acceptable). The ideal candidate will have experience in designing and implementing field research programs and in numerical modeling.
The successful candidate will be co-supervised by Drs. Barret Kurylyk and Clare Robinson and will have the option to be based in the RESTORE Research Group (http://www.eng.uwo.ca/research/restore/) at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario or the Centre for Water Resources Studies (http://centreforwaterresourcesstudies.dal.ca/) at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Both groups have state-of-the-art facilities, and both institutions are leading research-intensive universities. The student will collaborate with colleagues at the Royal Military College of Canada and will interact with Parks Canada Agency personnel. Please send your CV, a list of two references (along with contact phone and email), unofficial transcripts and a cover letter summarizing qualifications and research interests to both Dr. Barret Kurylyk (email@example.com) and Dr. Clare Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org). The preferred start date is September 2018 but opportunities for a January 2019 start date are possible. Applications will be reviewed as they are received and will continue until the position is filled.