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Postdoctoral Opportunities

Position 1

Optimizing the eDNA approach to monitor biodiversity in Canada’s Marine Protected Areas [see full posting on Workday]
We seek an exceptional early-career researcher to work with a research team focussed on optimizing eDNA metabarcoding for monitoring biodiversity in Canada’s Marine Protected Areas. The candidate will have strong demonstrated skills in data science, biodiversity analysis, data visualization, and writing. The candidate will analyze downstream biodiversity data generated from water sampling, eDNA metabarcoding and bioinformatics results, will run optimization routines to understand how certainty increases as a function of sampling effort, and will create a decision framework for managers to plan eDNA sampling designs for monitoring regions of Canada. The candidate would be based at McGill University, but work closely in consultation with a team that spans academic (McGill University), agency (Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)), and non-profit (Hakai Institute) members. Specific experience in downstream biodiversity analysis from metabarcoding data is a strong asset. We highly encourage applications from members of groups that have historically been underrepresented in this field.

More information available on our project website.
If interested, please get in contact before April 15, 2022, with (1) a short cover letter explaining your interest, experience, and eligibility, (2) a CV, and (3) names of three referees to: emaan.qazi [at] mail.mcgill.ca as well as apply through Workday.

Dates: Start date is flexible between June 1 and Sept. 1st. Initial position is 16 months with possible extension to 2 years.

Skills required:
Biodiversity analysis, strong writing skills, ability to work on a deadline, collaboration skills, strong data visualization skills, interest in applied conservation management.

Salary range: $34,611 to $50,000 + benefits.

Duties: 

  • Lead the analysis and writing of our main deliverable: a decision framework for implementing eDNA metabarcoding for MPA monitoring in Canada.
  • Lead the analysis and writing of a high-impact paper that considers spatial sampling designs for optimizing monitoring in offshore and deep marine protected areas.
  • Assist with training and mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students working on biodiversity analysis with eDNA within the scope of the project.
  • Deliver presentations at conferences and for key user groups, including the National eDNA Working Group at DFO.

Training received:  The candidate will join a vibrant research group in the Sunday Lab at McGill University, and will work closely with the project team. The candidate will liaise with the Hakai Institute and Fisheries and Oceans Canada and gain skills in knowledge translation and implementation.
Qualifications: PhD in related field. Biodiversity analysis, strong writing skills, ability to work on a deadline, collaboration skills, strong data visualization skills, interest in applied conservation management.


Positions 2 & 3

BIOSCAN: Transforming Biodiversity Science: An Exceptional Opportunity for Early Career Researchers [Download PDF]

The International Barcode of Life Consortium (iBOL) is coordinating a series of research programs that will register all multicellular species and activate a global biosurveillance system within 25 years. BIOSCAN, its current program, is an 8-year, $180 million effort involving organizations in 40 nations. Its scientific work focuses on three major themes – species discovery, interactions, and dynamics. This work will be advanced by exploiting the latest developments in DNA sequencing, AI, data science, and machine learning. This scientific work will support important applications designed to improve the sustainability of agriculture, forestry, and mining. Furthermore, BIOSCAN aims to ensure its science influences society through policy change. Further details are available at https://bioscan.life/

Because BIOSCAN’s activities are rapidly expanding in Canada and internationally, this is the perfect time to join an enterprise that will transform our understanding of biodiversity and our capacity to manage it. We seek early career researchers (ECRs) to join us in leading Canada’s contribution to BIOSCAN.

If selected, you will work with leading Canadian researchers in biodiversity science, genomics, and computer science to achieve BIOSCAN’s mission. There will be strong opportunities for cross-disciplinary training, for national and international travel, and for carrying out impactful science.

See below for a detailed description of each position

To apply: Candidates should submit a 2-page letter of interest (outlining key skills and background), a full CV, and contact information for two references as one PDF to: BIOSCANCanada [at] ibol.org. Applicants should clearly indicate the position(s) that are of most interest.

BIOSCAN supports a culture of inclusion as an organizational imperative. As a result, we encourage applications from all qualified individuals, especially those from groups traditionally underrepresented in science.

Closing date: Review of applications will commence on March 21, 2022.

Postdoctoral fellow (2 positions)
Principal Investigator: Dr. Melania Cristescu
Summary: Determining the number of species present at particular locations and quantifying how these assemblages vary in space and time is at the core of biodiversity science. The postdoctoral fellows will work with the BIOSCAN team to scale up molecular approaches based on eDNA and eRNA to study species dynamics by examining species composition at selected sites (terrestrial and aquatic) covering half the world’s ecoregions (~2000 sites). Analyses will target arthropods and fungi which represent among the most diverse groups available. Candidates should have experience in working with eDNA, metabarcoding laboratory techniques, analysis of HTS data and a keen interest in ecological modeling.

Postdoctoral fellow
Principal Investigator: Dr. Andrew Gonzalez
Summary: Understanding the extent and magnitude of human impacts on biodiversity is a core research objective of BIOSCAN and central to policy efforts aimed at meeting national and international biodiversity targets. Our aim is to assess how species assemblages vary in space and time using a novel detection and attribution framework for biodiversity change. The postdoctoral fellow will apply state-of-the-art statistical inference methods using essential biodiversity variables (a compact set of metrics describing the state of genomes, species, populations, or ecosystems) to provide a robust assessment of how biodiversity is changing across the 2000 sites in BIOSCANs dataset. This research will contribute to the information generated by BIOSCANs Global Biosurveillance System.


McGill University hires on the basis of merit and is strongly committed to equity and diversity within its community. We welcome and encourage applications from racialized persons/visible minorities, women, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, as well as from all qualified candidates with the skills and knowledge to productively engage with diverse communities.

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