MSc position at UNBC

Dr. Michael Preston has the following MSc soil science positions available for 2024/25 at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, BC. These projects will be suitable for students interested in soil health/soil ecology/soil organic carbon. All projects are funded and start dates are somewhat flexible.
  1. Ultramafic tailings restoration (2 positions): projects could look at the use of bioamendments to restore semi-natural wildlife habitat optimized for moose or caribou. Or students could  examine the use of non-food agricultural crops, such as biofuels. Another project will look at the impact of extreme climate events (drought, flood, prolonged high temperatures) on the stability of proposed amendments and the ability of the soil biological community to adjust and recover from the event.  Students would look at soil biological and physical properties to determine soil health.
  2. Tree restoration: Trees can sequester carbon in above and belowground carbon pools, as such Canada has pledged to plant 2 billion trees. However, trees should be planted on marginal land to reduce land use conflicts, but it is unclear how this will impact carbon sequestration. Potential projects will look at the impact of tree planting on marginal agricultural land in BC with a focus on understanding how soil ecology impacts the soil organic carbon pool and soil health that could improve existing and future tree restoration projects.
  3. Silvopasture: Silvopasture is the deliberate integration of trees and grazing livestock operations on the same land and has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of the cattle and dairy industry. However, little is known about the impact of this practice on soil organic carbon stocks, and soil health in general. Students will assess the impact on the soil microbial community and the carbon and/or nitrogen cycle.
All these positions are linked with industry partners, and students will have the opportunity to spend time with managers to gain industry experience and insight. Suitable students will have some background in one of the following areas: environmental science, soil science, biology, microbiology, or other suitable field. The stipend is $20,000 per year and students can receive ca. $30,000 if they undertake a TA position in the fall and winter semesters.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Michael Preston ( for further details.