About the Positions
One funded MSc studentship or one funded PhD studentship in the area of arctic ecosystems, climate change, remote sensing/image processing, plant roots and analysis of root-soil-microbial interactions are available under the supervision of Dr. Cameron Proctor at the University of Windsor. These students will support a multi-year monitoring program based on low-cost automatic minirhizotrons, remote sensing, and field campaigns to monitor how root systems of various species respond to a warming environment. Field travel to northern sites during the summer months will be required to deploy monitoring infrastructure (temperature loggers, spectral reflectance sensors, etc.) and collect baseline data on plant photosynthesis. Above and belowground vegetation are equal components controlling arctic plant growth, yet this is a rare opportunity to study them together. By studying the how plant shoots and roots respond a warming Arctic the impacts on local ecosystems and the communities that depend on them for food and traditional medicines will be quantified to aid in community climate adaptation planning and natural resource management.
Start Date: September 2023 (January 2024 start will be considered)
Application Deadline: All applicants should contact Dr. Proctor directly at email@example.com to discuss program and start options, and possible summer work. For a fall 2023 start, applicants are encouraged to submit a complete application package by May 1st, 2023 to be eligible for the Graduate Entrance Scholarship. The final deadline to have your application and all fees submitted is July 1st, 2023, so interested candidates should contact Dr. Proctor ASAP.
Research Project: Developing a Remote Sensing Targeting Arctic Root Traits (RSTART) to link Artic Ecosystem Regulators and Root Biomass
Cold and wet conditions in the tundra have led to the accumulation of nearly one-half of global soil organic carbon, the majority held in soils perennially frozen since the last glaciation. Yet these regions are experiencing anthropogenic induced warming at higher rates than the global average, inducing changes in vegetation and soil. Permafrost warming particularly affects plant root production and distribution and may shift plant community structure by conferring advantage to species that can access previously thermally protected nitrogen. There are considerable knowledge gaps about how new roots interact with old soil carbon, yet the consequences for carbon cycling maybe significant. At present, however, few frameworks exist for inferring belowground biomass based on remotely sensed aboveground vegetation and surface properties (e.g., temperature, soil moisture), despite the potential of remote sensing to supply the necessary spatial-temporal datasets for modelling purposes.
This project will remediate data deficits in above and belowground linkages by deploying tandem monitoring of root biomass phenology using minirhizotrons, concurrently with aboveground monitoring of aboveground biomass and photosynthetic activity. The project involves considerable collaboration with Northern partners and engagement with the local community.
• BSc in Biology, Chemistry, Earth or Environmental Science (or similar for MSc applicants)
• MSc in Biology, Chemistry, Earth or Environmental Science (or similar for PhD applicants)
• Experience working with quantitative data and strong quantitative skills
• Field experience or remote sensing experience is an asset
• Experience in community engagement and outreach
• Excellent written and oral communication skills
• Strong organization skills
• Attention to detail
• Demonstrated ability to work independently
How to apply
Please send the following to firstname.lastname@example.org
• A cover letter explaining why you would like the position and how you meet the search criteria
• A current curriculum vitae (CV)
• An unofficial copy of your academic transcripts (if available)