Wilfrid Laurier University

PhD Student Opportunity in Subarctic Limnology

Dr. Homa Kheyrollah-Pour (WLU), Mike English (WLU) and Mike Palmer (Aurora College).

We are recruiting highly qualified undergraduate thesis, MSc, and PhD students in fields of remote sensing and modeling in cold region hydrology. We are especially interested in students who have northern research experience, have expertise in UAS and orbital remote sensing analysis, model development and machine learning techniques. 

We are seeking a motivated individual interested in joining the Remote Sensing of Environmental Change research group in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies and Cold Region Research Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU), Waterloo, Canada.

Position description:
The PhD position is supported through a project funded by the Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program (CIMP), “Investigating the seasonality of subarctic lakes in a changing climate using satellite & field data” in collaboration with WLU and the Aurora Research Institute, Northwest Territories (NWT).  

Subarctic lakes are undergoing rapid change with climate warming. One of the most widely observed consequences of climate warming on arctic and subarctic lakes has been a decrease in the duration of ice cover. Ice cover has an important influence on water quality by reducing atmosphere-water interactions, wind mixing, and light penetration.We are interested in exploring the cycling of metals and nutrients under ice and how changing lake ice conditions may influence some of these processes.A better understanding of the physical and chemical limnology of lakes is important as changes in nutrient cycling impact overall productivity of lakes and changes in metal cycling influence the recovery of lakes from metal pollution. 

  • This research is a collaboration between the ReSEC Lab at WLU and the Aurora Research Institute.  The student will be actively involved in defining the actual scope, objectives and methodology of their projects.  The project is expected to be primarily field-based out of Yellowknife, NT.  The candidate may supplement field data collection with field and laboratory experiments to explore geochemical processes between sediments and lake waters.

The selected candidate will work with Drs. Homa Kheyrollah-Pour and Mike English (WLU) and Mike Palmer (Aurora College).

Students interested should have a strong background in aquatic geochemistry or experience in a combination of physical geography, earth science, hydrology, limnology, or biogeochemistry. Strengths in programming, writing, statistical analysis, and the ability to work both independently and in a team are essential. The candidate will preferably have prior experience in the field as well as interest in working in cold regions.  This project will involve winter field work, which can be very cold, but very exciting! 

If this opportunity interests you, and you meet all of the above requirements, please submit your application electronically as a single pdf file to Dr. Kheyrollah Pour ( hpour@wlu.ca ) and include “CIMP_PhD_yourname” in the subject line.

Your applications should contain: 

  • CV
  • A cover letter stating your motivation for applying to this position and your research interests
  • Copy of transcript(s)
  • Contact information for 2 references

Closing Date:
Applications will be reviewed as they are received. The positions will remain open until filled. Only those individuals selected for an interview will be contacted.


Posted: May 31, 2021

Wilfrid Laurier University

Graduate student opportunities in Integrating SWOT Altimetry and Physics Based Modelling to monitor and predict changes to Arctic-Boreal Lakes

Professors Philip Marsh, Wilfrid Laurier University and Roderick Melnik, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

The Arctic-Boreal region has vast numbers of lakes that cover a large percentage of the total land surface. Although these lakes are ecologically important and very sensitive to a warming climate, our understanding of the current state of these lakes or how they may change in the future is poorly known. We have a recently funded, multiple year project, aimed at improving the monitoring and prediction of Arctic-Boreal lakes through the development of a novel program that integrates field observations, Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) remote sensing, and high-resolution lake hydrology modelling. 

This project will focus on the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Corridor (ITC) in the western Canadian Arctic but will have cross Arctic-Boreal applications. The ITC is the site of extensive hydrologic monitoring and research, including research at the Trail Valley Creek (TVC) Research Station (Trailvalleycreek.ca). The ITC was also the location of one of the NASA Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) study transects where AirSWOT was flown.

We invite applications to the following MSc and PhD positions:

1.   PhD. Mathematical modelling of coupled climate an d hydrologic processes for increased predictive capabilities,

2.   MSc. Field studies of lake hydrological processes and variability across the ITC, and

3.   PhD. Physics based hydrologic modelling of lake dominated watersheds along the ITC. 

Position 1 will be in the Interdisciplinary Mathematical and Statistical Modelling PhD program at Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier). The program is unique in Canada. This PhD position will focus on integrating physics-based mathematical models into a unique hydrologic model platform as required to consider the impacts of climate change, thawing permafrost, and vegetation change on the hydrology of the Canadian Arctic. Prior experience with CFD and high-performance computing would be considered an advantage for this position.

Positions 2 and 3 will be in the Geography and Environmental Studies Department at Laurier. This is a joint graduate program with the University of Waterloo and is the second largest Geography graduate program in Canada, and the sixth largest in North America. Through both the Modelling and Geography programs you will find a unique combination of students, research associates, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty exploring a wide range of research interests through a combination of field studies, modelling, and remote sensing. This combination will offer you a unique, challenging and stimulating research environment.  Further information on both programs is available at:



Ideal candidates should have previous degrees in relevant disciplines (e.g. numerical methods, hydrology, geography, environmental science, engineering, physics, and/or atmospheric science), and should possess aptitude and enthusiasm for understanding the integrated impacts of climate change on Arctic lakes. For the modelling positions, we especially encourage applicants with an interest in high-resolution hydrologic modelling, and proficiency in numerical methods, physics and with appropriate modelling tools. Experience in northern environments is an asset for all positions but is not required.

Graduate students at Laurier receive competitive funding packages that come from a combination of teaching assistantships, internal scholarships, and research assistantships. All students are strongly encouraged to apply for a variety of external scholarships. Students in Melnik’s and Marsh’s research teams have been very successful in receiving such external awards over the past years. Canadian applicants are strongly encouraged to apply. Funding for Arctic field research is provided by external research grants.


For admission in September 2021, candidates are encouraged to contact both Drs. Marsh and Melnik. Please submit a cover letter highlighting relevant experience and your interest in joining our research team, a list of courses taken and marks, and a curriculum vitae to pmarsh@wlu.ca and rmelnik@wlu.ca with the subject line “Mathematical lake hydrology graduate students”. Applicants will be reviewed in order they are received until successful candidates are found.

Dr. Philip Marsh, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Cold Regions Water Science, Wilfrid Laurier University

Philipmarsh.ca and trailvalleycreek.ca

Dr. Roderick Melnik, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Modelling, Wilfrid Laurier University 


Posted: April 23, 2021

Wilfrid Laurier University

Master’s or PhD opportunities in Indigenous Environmental Stewardship

Dr. Alex Latta & Dr. Miguel Sioui, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

We are recruiting two students at the master’s or PhD level for our SSHRC-funded project titled, Advancing Indigenous Environmental Stewardship. The project involves work with Dehcho First Nations (in the NWT) and the Cree Nation Government (in northern Québec). The research objective is to support Indigenous-led environmental monitoring and governance, including Indigenous Guardians programming, protected areas, climate change adaptation, traditional food systems, and youth engagement to promote transmission of Traditional Knowledge and cultural skills. As part of our research team, students will support the wider project goals and also engage in their own research within the scope of the project.

The Waterloo-Laurier Graduate Program in Geography is one of the largest in Canada, providing students with a wide community of peers and mentors.

We are looking for applicants with a social science background in Geography, Environmental Studies, Global Studies and related fields. Candidates will preferably have prior experience in inter-cultural and community-based settings, particularly with Indigenous Peoples. Studies, research or work experience related to environment, natural resources, conservation and related fields is a significant asset. We especially encourage expressions of interest from First Nations, Inuit or Métis candidates.

Master's students can expect to receive about $14,500 in core funding, comprised of scholarships and Teaching Assistantships. In addition, we would guarantee a Research Assistant stipend for the spring/summer semester of year one ($7,000), with the likelihood of further funding as student availability and project resources permit.

Ph.D. students are guaranteed a minimum of $22,000 in core funding, comprised of scholarships, Teaching Assistantships or Course Instructor roles, and a Research Assistant stipend. The Research Assistant portion would be increased by up to $6,000 per year, as student availability and project resources permit.

Both master’s and Ph.D. students will also receive travel funding to support their work within the project, which will include their thesis/dissertation research.

Further information is available on the funding page for Laurier’s Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Note: Due to COVID-19 public health measures, our community-based work in the two project regions is currently on hold, with only remote research engagements continuing. We hope to resume fieldwork by summer 2022 at the latest, but this will depend on the lifting of current restrictions on research activities.

Posted: November 11th, 2020