University of Northern British Colombia Position

Ph.D. Research Assistantship in Cumulative Impacts of Land Cover Change

The University of Northern British Columbia is seeking a Ph.D. student to work 
with an interdisciplinary team engaged in the NASA-funded project “Maintaining 
Life on Land (SDG15) under Scenarios of Land Use and Climate Change in 
Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru”.  Under the supervision of the Principle 
Investigators, the student will develop and execute methods for forecasting the 
impacts of changing human pressures on ecosystem values in the region.  The 
work will be done to support decision making by relevant ministries in 
Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru regarding Sustainable Development Goal 15.  The 
student is expected to work in collaboration with full project team including 
two Ph.D. students at the Montana State University and Northern Arizona 

This a 1.0 FTE Ph.D. Research Assistantship position that is expected to be 
available for a four year period.  In addition to the assistantship, limited 
funds for travel to collaborate with partners will be provided.  The intended 
start data is September 2019 or sooner. 

Students must meet the entry requirements for UNBC Natural Resource and 
Environmental Studies PhD Program  
(, which includes an MSc degree, 
English language proficiency and a minimum GPA.

Assess the needs of the collaborating countries with regards to SDG15 regarding 
human pressures to ecosystems.
Adapt global Human Footprint maps of cumulative pressure using national and 
regional datasets.
Compile predictor data sets that include biophysical and socio-economic drivers 
of human pressure for a historic calibration period and future scenarios.
Develop statistical functions for the historic period relating changing 
patterns in Human Footprint with potential drivers.
Use the statistical functions to forecast future human footprint and 
biodiversity impacts.
Analyze and interpret the results with regards to conservation strategies aimed 
at meeting the SDG15 targets identified by each collaborating country.
Perform spatial and statistical analyses using Esri products, Google Earth 
Engine, R, and other software;
Contribute to the writing and preparation of scientific publications;
Manage, archive, and serve numerous large data sets;
Maintain the lab web pages;
Coordinate multidisciplinary research teams; and 
Prepare maps, graphics, resource briefs and other visuals for communication to 
diverse audiences.

Required Qualifications: 
M.Sc. in ecology or related field;
Demonstrated understanding of or aptitude for attaining and understanding 
theory and application in ecology and human threats to ecosystems.
Strong training, experience, or aptitude in spatial analysis and statistical 
Interest and/or experience in working with natural resource managers on 
national-scale conservation application and reporting.  
Potential to execute and publish ecological research;
Experience in working on integrated science teams.  

Desired Qualifications
Proficiency in or aptitude for learning Spanish
Demonstrated proficiency in the use of Esri products, Google Earth Engine, 
Python, and/or R.
Experience in publishing peer reviewed scientific papers;
Successful collaborations with large research teams;
Experience in managing large data bases.

Application Procedures:
Email a letter of interest, C.V., and the names and contact information of 
three references by March 1 2019 to  Address the email 

Oscar Venter
Ecosystem Science and Management Program
University of Northern British Columbia
Prince George, BC, Canada, V2N 4Z9

The position is contingent upon funding and will remain open until a qualified 
applicant is recruited.

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