Graduate Opportunities

MSc- Ecotoxicology of Horned Lark populations in the prairies

Project background: In partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada, this project will evaluate Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) ecology and exposure to agricultural threats in the prairie region (SK and AB). Horned Larks are early season migrants that routinely use farmlands and bare crop fields and may be at risk for consuming insecticide treated seeds and disturbance from agricultural activities. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada due to ongoing population declines. The student will examine exposure of horned larks to agricultural pesticides and other threats by studying migration timing, habitat use and reproductive biology using capture, banding, blood sampling, nest searching and Motus telemetry techniques.

Start date: January 2024 (or as soon as suitable candidate is found).

Qualifications: BSc degree with excellent oral and written communication skills. Some field or research experience desirable and mistnetting and bird banding skills an asset. Must have valid driver’s license.

Funding: Minimum $22.5K/year (domestic) for 28 months plus opportunity to receive scholarships.

Application: Send CV and cover letter describing your background, fit and interest in the project to

PhD- Bioacoustic responses of songbird communities to agricultural practices, pesticide use and climate

Project background: 
Phenological changes in the timing of key events such as the arrival and staging activity of migrants represents an important indicator of ecosystem health. This project will explore changes to timing and activity of birds in agricultural habitats and whether they are disrupted by the application of toxic pesticides or other environmental factors during the spring migration and breeding period. This project will explore the utility of using bioacoustic technologies to test hypotheses about the arrival timing and activity of farmland birds in response to agricultural practices, habitat suitability, and climate. The student will also identify changes in bird communities and indicator species associated with implementation of best management practices on research farms that are undergoing experimental manipulations and relate these to other agroecosystem indicators and pesticide levels in blood. This work is part of the Bridge to Land Water Sky Living Lab project which will provide an excellent opportunity to work with First Nations communities, farmers, government and NGO partners and will provide excellent opportunities for collaboration and networking.

Start date: January 2024 or as soon as possible.

Qualifications: MSc degree and experience with identification of birds by sound, mistnetting and banding, and use of acoustic recording units and data processing tools an asset. Ability and willingness to work with large data files and strong statistical foundation needed. Must have valid driver’s license.

Funding: Minimum $25K/year for 4 years.

Application: Send CV and cover letter describing your background, fit and interest in the project to