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Project offers - Graduate studies

MSc and PhD on the interactions between the daphnia microbiome, mercury and warming temperatures in the Canadian Arctic


We are recruiting one MSc student and one PhD student to join our research group, to investigate the interactions between the daphnia microbiome, mercury and warming temperatures in the Canadian Arctic.

Methylmercury pollution and temperature are two important stressors in the high arctic and of special concern to Inuit people. Daphnia are keystone species of Arctic freshwater ecosystems. They provide an efficient experimental model to examine the effects of microbiota on the response to multiple stressors as they can be grown clonally thus exposing multiple individuals of a single genotype to different environmental factors. The Daphnia microbiota has been shown to be implicated in nutrient acquisition, breakdown of toxic compounds, pathogen protection as well as on temperature adaptation. Our research aims to 1) obtain a portrait of Daphnia microbiota in relation to methylmercury levels, dissolved organic carbon, and bacterioplankton, 2) determine if inoculation of microbiota from Daphnia from contaminated lakes to Daphnia from low contamination environments can help them better tolerate methylmercury, 3) expose arctic Daphnia to different temperature and algal species for multiple generations and assess microbiome composition and temperature tolerance. The proposed research will have implications for our understanding of the potential effects of metal contamination and changing climate on Daphnia microbiome. It will help to inform the Inuit community of the consequences of these stressors for freshwater ecosystems.

MSc : 2-year program, 16,000$/year
- Field sampling, MeHg quantification, DNA extraction and sequencing, data analysis

PhD : 3-year program, 20,000$/year
- Field sampling, experimental Daphnia cultures, Daphnia microbiome inoculations, DNA extraction and sequencing, bioinformatics

Ideal applicants for these positions should have a background in zooplankton ecology, molecular biology or biogeochemistry. Experiences in mercury analyses, bioinformatics and zooplankton culture are a plus. Applicants must be willing to perform fieldwork in the Canadian Arctic, and to contribute to an interdisciplinary project. Students will be based either at UQAR or UQAC.
Applications are open to all but we welcome applications from women, racialized/visible minorities, Indigenous/Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ2+ persons.

Submit your CV and a motivation letter (including any career interruptions of factors that may have influenced academic performance such as maternity leaves, family responsibilities, medical leaves, etc) and the names of two references, before May 30th to :
- France Dufresne (UQAR) - France_Dufresne@uqar.ca
- Catherine Girard (UQAC) – Catherine5_Girard@uqac.ca
- Milla Rautio (UQAC) - Milla_Rautio@uqac.ca

Responsible person: Milla Rautio (Milla_Rautio@uqac.ca)
Deadline: May 30, 2021




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Start date: September 1, 2021
Deadline: September 1, 2021
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