FORMBLOOM (Forecasting Tools and Mitigation Options for Diverse Bloom-Affected 
Lakes) seeks 2–4 graduate students (MSc and/or PhD) to research the drivers of 
freshwater cyanobacterial blooms and develop tools for bloom prediction and 

Successful applicants will work in a co-supervised environment with Prof. Helen 
Baulch (School of Environment and Sustainability and Global Institute for Water 
Security, University of Saskatchewan), Prof. Sherry Schiff (Department of Earth 
and Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo), and Prof. Jason 
Venkiteswaran (Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Wilfrid 
Laurier University) and will enroll in the MSc or PhD program at one of those 
universities. Opportunities to work at multiple universities are available.

Start dates: September 1, 2017 and January 1, 2018.

Project Summary:

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) in lakes and reservoirs constitute a major threat 
to human health and, by extension, to the Canadian economy. HABs, especially 
those associated with cyanobacteria (cyano-HABs), have direct impacts on the 
safety of drinking water supplies by producing a variety of liver and nerve 
toxins in addition to causing taste and odour problems. Cyano-HABs have been 
increasing in recent years across Canada from Newfoundland to British Columbia. 
There is an urgent need to improve the science and to develop risk management 
tools for cyano-HABs.

Field campaigns in Buffalo Pound, Saskatchewan, Lake 227, Ontario, and 
Conestogo Lake, Ontario combined with laboratory experiments and modelling 
exercises will evaluate the contributions of nutrients, metals, and lake 
structure to the timing and severity of cyano-HABs. Carefully selected samples 
and datasets from other lakes and reservoirs across Canada (including the 
47-year dataset from IISD–ELA) will be incorporated into cyano-HAB forecasting 
and mitigation efforts.

Graduate student research projects will (1) examine nutrient and trace metal 
dynamics through bloom progression; (2) assess links between physical 
conditions, sediment-surface redox and cyano-HAB development; and (3) perform 
long-term data analysis with a focus on winter conditions and bloom severity.

Graduate students will benefit from working with a multi-university and 
multidisciplinary research team and will interact with partner organizations 
and ecosystem managers. Students will have opportunities to participate in 
enhanced training opportunities associated with the NSERC CREATE in Water 
Security, and the Global Water Futures program.


Students will perform applied lab and field research, and require quantitative 
abilities, a hearty appetite for boat-based field work, and possess strong 
verbal and writing skills. Students with experience with sensor-based 
instrumentation are particularly welcomed.

Applicants should send their areas of research interest in a cover letter, with 
CV, unofficial transcripts, and contact information of three references as a 
single PDF file to Prof Jason Venkiteswaran,

FORMBLOOM is funded by the Global Water Futures program,

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