PhD Opportunity

Supervisors : Dennis Murray (Trent University :
Gabriel Blouin-Demers (University of Ottawa :

Project : Spatial ecology and ecophysiology of Blanding’s turtles near Ottawa, 

We are initiating a PhD project on the spatial ecology and ecophysiology of 
Blanding’s turtles within the 
city limits of Ottawa, Ontario. Blanding’s turtles are at their northern limit 
in southern Ontario, which 
presents interesting challenges to turtle ecology, behaviour and population 
dynamics. Using VHF and 
GPS telemetry, accelerometry, and temperature logging, the student will monitor 
turtles in the field and 
develop bioenergetics models describing factors limiting survival and 
productivity in a northern 
environment. Because Blanding’s are listed as Threatened in Ontario, the work 
also has important 
conservation implications and there is an applied component that is mandated by 
the research contract. 
Specifically, the work will document spatial ecology and habitat use of turtles 
within the semi-urban 
setting and relative to rapid residential development; we will test the 
efficacy of mitigation such as road 
underpasses and fences on turtle survival. The PhD student will have the 
opportunity to develop 
additional research questions within the scope of the broader project.

The funding package includes a competitive stipend, foreign tuition waiver (if 
the student is not a 
Canadian citizen or permanent resident) as well as coverage of field-related 
travel and other expenses. 
Successful candidates will have an MSc in Ecology, Conservation, or related 
field, demonstrated 
evidence of peer-reviewed publications, strong field skills, and an interest in 
working collaboratively in a 
large and diverse research group. Additional desirable skills include turtle 
research experience, GPS 
telemetry data analysis, and communication with stakeholders. 

To apply, please send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, unofficial academic 
transcript, and contact 
information for 3 references to Dennis Murray ( The 
successful candidate 
should begin enrolment at Trent University by January 2017, and we will accept 
applications until a 
suitable candidate is found, so apply early.

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