Opportunities for Graduate Students

The Canadian Rivers Institute is a network of 23 Science Directors and their Associates located at 15 academic institutions across Canada and internationally. If you are interested in studying with one of the CRI Science Directors or their Associates, please contact them directly through our Science Directors page, and see below for an updated list of graduate student opportunities. 

New employment and graduate study opportunities are also posted and updated regularly on the CRI Facebook page


“There are a number of reasons that I chose CRI for my graduate education. CRI is a world-leading research institute, and it is home of a number of well-known experts in the field of Limnology. CRI provides me all the facilities I need for my research, and work in an excellent environment full of collaborative people.”

- Comments from a survey to CRI graduate students and alumni in February 2016, administered by CRI post-doctoral research fellows Dr. Meghann Bruce and Dr. Zacchaeus Compson.


Current Graduate Opportunities

ANTICIPATORY: Freshwater Fish Habitat Research Scientist

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is planning to hire Scientific Researchers focused on freshwater fish habitat science to support Departmental program needs. These research scientists would join an existing complement of DFO scientists engaged in freshwater fish habitat science and would be expected to develop diverse research programs (e.g. experimental, observational, modelling) aligned to DFO’s mandate for the protection of fish and fish habitat in Canada’s freshwaters.

A primary role for these positions is to conduct research and provide science advice related to regulatory decision-making and policy development to support management programs (e.g. related to the protection of fish and fish habitat).

Each position includes the following key activities:
· Providing expert scientific advice and recommendations within a subject-matter area (e.g. advice on the impacts of or offsetting for development projects on fish and fish habitat, advice on standards and guidelines related to the protection and monitoring of fish and fish habitat, advice on science-based tools for regulatory decision-making).
· Developing an active research program related to freshwater fish habitat science aligned with the Department’s mandate and program needs.
· Developing modified or novel approaches, theories, concepts, ideas or solutions and applying them to the design, implementation and/or evaluation of scientific research projects.
· Applying comprehensive or in-depth knowledge of concepts, theories and research methods appropriate to relevant scientific fields and subject matter areas.
· Writing, reviewing and publishing scientific papers, reports, manuscripts, and authoritative reviews.
· Leading, and/or participating in science advisory processes to transfer science advice to internal and external management clients.
· Managing assigned human, financial and material resources.
· Developing proposals for funding and cost recovery arrangements, negotiating collaborations, and acting as scientific authority for approved professional service contracts.



 Dr. Joseph Culp, Wilfrid Laurier University

MSc Position: Ecological Research in Arctic Freshwater Ecosystems

Motivated MSc student sought to participate in novel Arctic research based out of the newly completed Canadian High Arctic Research Station, Cambridge Bay, NU. (https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1314731268547/1314731373200).

PROJECT AIMS: To develop an improved understanding of how human-induced changes in Arctic freshwater ecosystems (i.e., climate change, resource development) may impact the northern freshwater ecosystems.

The research project will be part of a series of interlinked thematic studies aimed at developing a comprehensive, multi-trophic understanding of the functioning and connectivity of aquatic ecosystems within the Greiner Lake watershed, Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, using the watershed as a model Arctic ecosystem. The overall aim is to establish and validate monitoring protocols for aquatic ecosystems in the north, thereby providing tools to government agencies for the continued routine monitoring of the systems and a means by which the significance of the accumulation of future ecosystem impacts may be determined.

The WLU MSc student will work with students from the University of Waterloo and the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi in a novel and exciting integrated environmental assessment program.

Required qualifications:
• B.Sc in Aquatic Ecology, Environmental Science or related discipline 

• Interest in designing experiments and conducting field monitoring in remote locations
• Ability to work as part of a team 
• Meet graduate studies enrolment requirements at Wilfred Laurier University

Additional desired qualifications:
• Experience in conducting aquatic fieldwork, ideally in remote locations
• Knowledge of univariate and multivariate statistical analyses
• Experience working with a diversity of project partners including Inuit communities 
• Experience with ArcGIS
• Ability to write and present in English 

MSc Stream habitat and productivity oriented: Research will focus on understanding the role of stream-lake connectivity by examining the importance of lake abiotic properties and associated food webs as sources of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus subsidies to stream food webs. This study will be part of interrelated studies that will examine the effect of lake systems on downstream riverine food webs, including the effects on standing crop biomass and community-wide niche space of stream food webs (e.g., juvenile fish, invertebrates, plant biomass, and decomposition).

Please send your CV, unofficial transcripts, a list of three references (along with contact phone and email), and a cover letter summarizing your qualifications and research interests to:
Dr. Joseph Culp of Wilfrid Laurier University at (jculp@wlu.ca).

Application deadline: 30 June 2018 but applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Dr. Adam Yates, Geography Department, University of Western Ontario 


PhD Position: Effects of nutrient loading from groundwater on algae communities in small, agricultural streams
Motivated PhD student sought for a unique opportunity to conduct research on algae response to groundwater inputs of nutrients in agricultural streams. The student project is a component of interdisciplinary research project funded by the NSERC Strategic Project Grant program involving ecologists, biogeochemists, hydrogeologists and engineers from Western University and Environment and Climate Change Canada. The student project will include a mix of observational and experimental field studies aimed at identifying the role of groundwater fluxes of nutrients as a control of spatial variation in algae community structure and function in small agricultural streams in southern Ontario, Canada. Student responsibilities will include designing and executing experiments, analyzing and reporting research outcomes, as well as coordinating with the larger research team.

Applicants are expected to have a strong background in aquatic ecology, environmental science or related discipline and interest in designing experiments and conducting field and lab work. Ability to work as part of a team is a must.

The successful candidate will be based in the Geography Department at Western University in London, Ontario, with opportunities for temporary placement in labs of Government collaborators.

Required qualifications:

  •  M.Sc. in Ecology, Environmental Science or related discipline
  •  Meet enrolment requirements of the Dept of Geography at The University of Western Ontario (http://geography.ssc.uwo.ca/grad)

Additional desired qualifications:

  •  Experience conducting aquatic fieldwork
  •  Knowledge of univariate and multivariate statistical analyses
  •  Demonstrated written and oral communication skills
  •  Valid Driver’s license

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 Dr. Adam Yates at adam.yates@uwo.ca. Selected candidate can start as early as May, 2018 but opportunities for a September, 2018 or January, 2019 start date are available. Applications will be reviewed as they are received and will continue until the position is filled.

Dr. Michael van den Heuvel and Dr. Andre St-Hilare, University of Prince Edward Island

PhD Position: Environmental Flows
The Canadian Rivers Institute is seeking a talented researcher to pursue a Ph.D. in environmental flows as it relates to water use and extraction on Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. The province of PEI is 100% dependent on groundwater for domestic and industrial use and is in the process of developing a Water Act to govern those resources. The purpose of this project is to conduct biological and hydraulic validation of environmental flow guidelines in order to determine whether those guidelines are appropriate for PEI stream conditions. These studies are generally being conducted within the international framework of Ecological Limits of Flow Alteration (ELOHA). The science conducted will help to develop regulations for environmental flows associated with the Water Act. Research will be focussed on the examination of stream systems where water extraction is occurring including measurement of impacts on fish populations and communities, hydraulics of PEI streams as it applies to fish habitat. Reference sites will also be sampled.

Desired qualifications:
Field experience with fish and fish capture is an advantage
- Experience with stream hydraulics or hydrological modelling would also be an asset, though training will be provided if required. 
- Competitiveness for national or regional scholarships and past research productivity will also be a criterion for selection. 

The position will be based at the University of Prince Edward Island under the co-supervision of Drs. Michael van den Heuvel (UPEI), and Andre St-Hilaire (INRS). The search will continue until a suitable candidate is found. Applications, a cover letter, CV, and transcript can be emailed to mheuvel@upei.ca.