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.
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, jvenkiteswa...@wlu.ca.
FORMBLOOM is funded by the Global Water Futures program, gwf.usask.ca.