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Post-doctoral position in biological oceanography at UBC


Position description:
Zooplankton are the principal dietary items for juvenile salmon and herring, and changes in plankton communities are key factors limiting these fishes’ growth and survival. How plankton respond to changes in the ocean’s physical and chemical conditions is largely mediated by the complex interactions between phytoplankton, microzooplankton, and zooplankton. The objectives of this project are to:

i. Determine plankton food-web pathways to juvenile salmon and herring in the Strait of Georgia (SoG);

ii. Determine the spatial and temporal variability of plankton food-web structure in the SoG, and the response of this structure to environmental conditions;

iii. Quantify the nutritional value of plankton species as prey, and the importance of plankton food-web pathways in the transfer of essential nutrients and energy to juvenile salmon and herring;

iv. Develop biochemical plankton indicators that can be routinely measured and made available to improve salmon and herring stock recruitment forecasting.

To meet these objectives the candidate will apply biochemical approaches (bulk and compound specific isotope analysis; fatty acids) to a case study in the SoG. The SoG supports the largest salmon and herring populations in British Columbia. Currently there are multiple initiatives conducting research into declines of salmon in the SoG and recruitment drivers of juvenile herring. These include the Salish Sea Marine Survival program (, the Hakai Institute ( Juvenile Salmon and Ocean Observatory programs, and collaborating programs at the University of British Columbia and Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The candidate will be expected to participate in and collaborate with these ongoing field programs to collect plankton and fish samples for this study, and will additionally have access to archived samples from 2015-2016. In addition, the candidate is expected to work with concurrent ecosystem modelling efforts, specifically through providing a regionally specific food-web framework to guide coupling of the physical, chemical and biological model components.

Location: The candidate will be based at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (, University of British Columbia.

Start date: Immediate
Position Length: Two years
Salary: CA$50,000 / year + benefits
Necessary qualifications:
• A PhD in biological oceanography, fisheries biology, food web ecology, or equivalent;
• Knowledge of plankton food web ecology;
• Experience in stable isotope and fatty acid ecology;
• A quantitative background with experience in multivariate statistics and isotope mixing models preferred;
• Demonstrated R and/or Matlab computing skills will be advantageous;
• Field and laboratory experience;
• Ability to independently manage a large multi-faceted project.
The candidate will be part of a large SoG network, and is expected to work collaboratively.

Applicants should submit:
– a CV, including the e-mail and phone numbers for three references;
– a short letter (1 page) explaining the applicant’s motivation for working on the project
and how previous experience qualifies them for this position;
– a copy of the PhD thesis;
– reprints of published papers, if available;
– confirmation of ability to work in Canada.

Submit applications to:
Dr Brian Hunt (

Post-doctoral Fellow: Process-based modelling of responses of small streams to reach-scale and catchment-scale disturbance. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Closing date for applications: 17th February 2017, but applications accepted after the deadline.

Start date: 1st May 2017 or soon thereafter

We are seeking a Post-Doctoral Fellow for a collaborative project between University of British Columbia, Swedish Agricultural University (Umeå, Sweden) and University of Oulu (Finland), to develop process-based models for interactions between small streams and surrounding forests, as well as catchment effects from forestry. The processes of interest include hydrology, geomorphology, chemistry & biology, although we appreciate that most candidates will not be expert in all fields.

The ideal candidate will have excellent quantitative skills in process modelling, and expertise with flowing-water ecosystems, especially their hydrology, geomorphology or biology. Ability to program in a language such as R or Matlab would be highly desired, as would experience with ecosystem model platforms and spatial statistics with GIS. The most qualified applicants will have relevant experience, expertise in biological and physical processes in streams, and a strong interest in stream and riparian systems and disturbance.

Evidence of successful participation in team projects would be helpful. Applicants must have completed and defended their Ph.D. by the start of the appointment. Previous peer-reviewed scientific publications are highly desirable. Interested applicants should submit the following:


  • Cover letter, C.V., and the names and contact information for three references
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Examples of your published work


Funding is available for one year, with a second year for reappointment pending satisfactory performance.  Only those called for interviews will be contacted.

The position will mostly involve modelling work at the University of British Columbia, but also require international travel to meetings with partners. The position will involve limited field research in a number of locations in southern British Columbia. The Post-Doctoral Fellow will be based at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of John Richardson.

UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. All qualified persons are encouraged to apply. However, Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Canada will be given priority. We especially welcome applications from members of visible minority groups, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and others with the skills and knowledge to engage productively with diverse communities.



For more information or to apply, contact:

Dr. John Richardson, University of British Columbia

Longest running successional plot network in the world: All photos

The longest running ecological plot network in the world looking at succession (1916-present) is in Glacier Bay, and now all available photographs have been compiled.  They show a plant community evolving, from mostly bare rock to a variety of current states – spruce, alder, and willow, very different endpoints and something apparently unique to this portion of the bay.  For more information, higher resolution, and some data, see


New map of yellow-cedar decline published

A new map of both the range and decline of yellow-cedar has been published in Global Change Biology with help from researchers in Alaska, BC, and Washington.  The high resolution range map stretches from northern California to southcentral Alaska, from sea level in the north to treeline in the south.  The decline, now quantified at ~400,000 ha (about 7-8% of the total range area), covers southeast Alaska and central coastal BC, down to about 50 degrees north.  It is primarily located in areas where the mean winter temperature is between -2 and +2 degrees C, as anticipated.  The future climate of the region is expected to warm to that threshold by 2070 in most locations.  However, there are a few places above that threshold where cedar is apparently healthy, probably due to a lack of cold winters to trigger the decline when there is no snow on the ground like the outside of Vancouver Island.  How representative these sites are of the population at large needs to be further quantified.  Next steps include a predictive model of decline and comparison of the decline maps to other sources of mortality data.

Buma B, Hennon PE, Harrington CA, Popkin JR, Krapek J, Lamb M, Oakes LE, Saunders SC, Zeglen S.  Emerging broad-scale mortality driven by climate warming and loss of snowpack.  Global Change Biology.  In press.


New range layer of yellow-cedar and observed mortality.  Insets show detail at extreme range edge.   A:  Northern California and southern/eastern Oregon (red box).  B:  Prince William Sound and Icy Bay.  Inset arrows show small, disjunct populations.

Yellow-cedar, meet red cedar


It’s very wet on Prince of Wales Island.

Yellow-cedar, a prominent tree species along the coastal margin (ranging from California to Alaska) is dying, in some places rapidly.  About 8% of the current range is currently affected, and in places where the mortality hits, generally about 70% of the basal area dies.  Basal area is a measure of how much area the trunks (stems) cover near the ground. This mortality is directly related to a warming climate, as it is related to low snow coverage and subsequent root freezing in cold snaps. Continue reading “Yellow-cedar, meet red cedar”

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