Employment Opportunities


Postdoc Position in kelp resilience to changing conditions across the British Columbia coast

Closing Date: 19-Jul-2020
Date Posted: 09-Jun-20

Applications are being accepted for a Pacific Salmon Foundation Postdoctoral position at the University of Victoria, Department of Geography. The postdoc will be based in Victoria, Vancouver Island, and work under the supervision of Dr. Costa in the SPECTRAL Remote Sensing Lab. The focus of the research is to quantify kelp resilience to changing conditions across the British Columbia coast, encompassing overlapping gradients at an appropriate scale to tease apart biological and climate drivers. The research is expected to address the following:

I. Define spatiotemporal kelp resilience. Develop a spatiotemporal map of kelp extent based on (a) Contemporary (2005 to present) satellite data, including the Google Earth Engine kelp mapping tool (developed by the Hakai Institute) and high-resolution satellite imagery in collaboration with the BC Kelp Analytical Mapping Group; (b) Intermediate (70s to 90s) data from large-scale coastal kelp inventories, as well as archived government data and coarse resolution satellite imagery from the Google Earth Engine kelp mapping tool; and (c) Available historical (1850-1950) spatial data based on British Admiralty Charts. (publication expected)

II. Define the environmental and biological drivers of kelp change. Examine how environmental gradients in temperature and other climate drivers influence the spatiotemporal extent of kelp. From this analysis, we will determine the status of this critical habitat and its capacity for resilience (resistance and recovery). (publication expected)

Ideal qualifications: A Ph.D. degree (completed by the time of appointment) in biology/geography/oceanography/marine ecology disciplines. Expertise in nearshore ecology, large spatial data analytics and strong collaborative skills are ideal.
Technical skills required: Programming (example: R, MATLAB®, python), statistical analysis, analysis of multi-dimensional large data sets.
Application closure date: July 15, 2020.
Start date: As soon as possible
Position Length: Two years, pending annual review
Salary: $55,000

Applicants must submit:

  • A CV, including the e-mail and phone number for three references;
  • A short cover letter explaining the applicant’s motivation for working on the project and how previous experience qualifies them for this position;
  • Reprints of 3 published papers, if available.

Submit applications to:
Maycira Costa

Overall project background: Bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) and giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) are important canopy-forming kelp species found in marine nearshore habitats on the west coast of Canada. These kelp species form complex, three-dimensional habitat that supports a diversity of fish, invertebrates, and marine mammals. Canopy-forming kelps show high seasonal and interannual variability as their recruitment, growth, and survival are influenced by several abiotic (e.g., temperature, salinity, nutrients, light) and biotic (e.g., grazing, intraspecific competition) drivers. As a result, kelp populations are expected to change in response to shifts in underlying environmental conditions associated with climate change. They may also shift in response to changes in the biotic community (e.g., sea otter recovery, sea star wasting disease) or human activities (e.g., sea urchin harvest, kelp harvest). Traditionally, kelp ecology has focused on individual research sites or regions encompassing a gradient of climate or biological drivers. We aim to quantify kelp resilience to changing conditions across a larger scale – focusing on the British Columbia coast – encompassing overlapping gradients at an appropriate scale to tease apart biological and climate drivers.

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