We are recruiting a PhD student to study habitat selection, movement, and
social behaviour of the endangered St. Lawrence Estuary beluga population.

The project is part of a broader research program aimed at proposing
effective solutions to mitigate the impacts of navigation on belugas in the
St. Lawrence Estuary (ongoing process).

The full announcement is available at the end of this message.


Thanks and have a nice day!


Prof. Clément Chion <http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Clement_Chion/>,
Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO)
Département des sciences naturelles
ISFORT <http://isfort.uqo.ca/nos_etudiants/clement-chion>
819-595-3900 poste: 1858


*Habitat selection, movement, and fission-fusion dynamics of the St.
Lawrence Estuary beluga population *

*Project Description*: The St. Lawrence Estuary beluga population is
currently listed as *Endangered *under the Canadian Species At Risk Act and
the Loi sur les espèces menacées et vulnérables du Québec. Several threats
to its recovery related to the navigation activities occurring in the
population’s summer habitat are identified such as exposure to underwater
noise and disturbance. Mitigating navigation impacts requires a good
understanding of the factors underlying the behaviours of habitat selection
along with the movements of this species in the St. Lawrence Estuary and
the Saguenay (i.e. summer habitat). However, this understanding is
currently incomplete because: i) few studies have tried to identify the
mechanisms underlying the spatial distribution and movements of the belugas
in the summer habitat, and ii) the rare studies did not consider beluga’s
social behaviour or group fusion-fission dynamics. This PhD project aims at
identifying the factors (biotic and abiotic) explaining the spatial
distribution and the movements of beluga groups in their summer habitat,
acknowledging that habitat selection behaviours and movements might be
influenced by the social and gregarious behaviour of this species. The
project will also look into the group fusion-fission dynamics in the
beluga’s summer habitat by exploring the conditions (e.g. habitat
characteristics, time of day, group size and composition) under which pairs
of known individuals are encountered in the same groups or not. This will
allow to interpret the spatio-temporal variation in group size and
composition and ultimately contribute to explain the spatial distribution
of this species in its summer habitat. This project will provide valuable
knowledge to improve our understanding of navigation impacts on the St.
Lawrence beluga’s habitat selection and movements in its summer habitat.
These results will be integrated in a model that simulates the movements of
individual belugas via a collaboration with modellers.

This project will be carried out using existing datasets and might also
require additional fieldwork to collect new observational data. The
selected candidate will be part of the Natural Science Department and will
be based in Ripon (QC) at Institut des Sciences de la Forêt tempérée
(ISFORT: http://isfort.uqo.ca/). She/He will work with researchers from the
GREMM (Tadoussac) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Mont-Joli).

The desired candidate will show dynamism, motivation, intellectual
curiosity and creativity, ability to work independently and as part of a
team, along with a great sense of initiative. She/He will be encouraged and
supported to travel for scientific communications (conferences, workshops),
meetings with partners and stakeholders. The project funding is provided by
the Government of Quebec. The selected candidate will contribute to the
production of deliverables for the Ministry for Forests, Wildlife, and
Parks and Ministry for Maritime Affairs on a yearly basis.

*Skills*: The candidate must hold a Master’s degree in biological sciences,
or related field. The following expertise and skills will be considered as

- expertise on animal behaviour related to habitat selection and movements;

- expertise on social behaviour and fusion-fission dynamics in gregarious

- expertise on marine mammals;

- great expertise in data management and analysis with R software.

*Project start*: September 2019

*Treatment*: 20 000$/year for 3 years

*Director*: Angélique Dupuch (UQO-ISFORT)

*Co-director : *Véronique Lesage (DFO)

*Collaborators*: Clément Chion (UQO-ISFORT), Robert Michaud (GREMM), and
Tyler Bonnell (Lethbridge University)

*Application:* Email your academic CV (long form), all academic records for
bachelor’s and master’s degrees, an application letter (detailing your
skills and assets related to the project requirements), and the name and
contact information of 3 academic references to:  *angelique.dup...@uqo.ca
<angelique.dup...@uqo.ca>*, *clement.ch...@uqo.ca
<clement.ch...@uqo.ca>,* *rmich...@gremm.org
<rmich...@gremm.org>, *veronique.les...@dfo-mpo.gc.ca*, *and
<tyler.bonn...@uleth.ca>**. *

Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

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