Soils PhD: Impact of variable retention harvest on carbon and water cycling of southern forest plantations in Canada

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Soils PhD: Impact of variable retention harvest on carbon and water cycling of southern forest plantations in Canada

We invite applications from students seeking a Ph.D. degree in Earth and Environmental Science program at McMaster University, starting from September 2018 or January 2019.

This research is part of a larger Global Waters Future Project: Southern Forests Water Futures Project based at the School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The student will have an opportunity to collaborate with researchers from Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests – Ontario Forest Research Institute, Brock University, University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, University of Guelph and University of British Columbia.

The main objective of the project is to determine major shifts in forest structure and their hydrologic and carbon sequestration functions in response to harvesting disturbance (e.g. variable retention harvesting (VRH)); and to determine how VRH will impact the forest growth trajectory, hydrologic regime and their ability to respond to future climate stresses and extremes (e.g. drought, heat and nutrient status).

More specifically this PhD student will address how the different harvesting treatments impact soil carbon sequestration, soil microbiota, soil microclimate and nutrient status. Based on their findings and supplementary data from concurrent studies, the student will study which of the forest harvesting treatments results in a forest stand most resilient to any future climate change and extremes (in terms of carbon sequestration potential, increased biodiversity and reduced water stress).

The ideal candidate should have previous independent research experience in soil science, Environmental studies, or another related field. The ideal candidate should have an interest in soil science, be responsible, self-motivated, available for frequent field work travel and accustomed to working outdoors in adverse weather conditions year-round. A valid driver’s license preferred.

Field research will take place at the Turkey Point Flux Station in Norfolk County, Ontario – a research site of the McMaster Hydrometeorology & Climatology Group, supervised by Dr. Altaf Arain.

Experience in any of the following would be an asset: soil CO2

efflux measurements, including heterotrohic and autotrophic; soil microbiota analysis; stable C-13 isotopes; soil nutrient analysis; micrometeorology; soil texture analysis; root density analysis; vegetation surveys and biometric measurements. Please send your cover letter and CV, including contacts for three academic references, in electronic format, as a single PDF-document to Application deadline – September 1, 2018, or until position is filled.

For more details or questions, please contact: Dr. Altaf Arain, School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, Canada, L8S 4K1 Ph: 905-525-9140 Ext. 27941 Fax: 905-546-0463 Email: