Can-Peat Opportunities

Interested in joining a Canada-wide peatland project?

Graduate student opportunities are available under the project Can-Peat: Canada’s peatlands as nature-based solutions to climate change. The long-term goal of the project is to identify and optimize opportunities to manage peatland ecosystems in Canada as nature-based solutions (NbS) to help achieve Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions. To apply, send a brief (one page) statement of interest, transcripts and resume to the email noted in the postings. Please note that not all positions are with the University of Waterloo. Locations are indicated in the postings.

Specific opportunities include:

PhD positions available:

Peatland-fire response modeling

A 4-year funded PhD position is available at Carleton University, Department of Geography & Environmental Studies to advance modeling of peatland carbon cycling. This research aims to evaluate future peatland greenhouse gas uptake and emission rates under changing climate and fire disturbance regimes.  This project will focus on the development and evaluation of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) coupled land surface scheme and terrestrial ecosystem model (the Canadian Land Surface Scheme Including Biogeochemical Cycles, CLASSIC), which represents the physical and carbon cycle processes linking the land surface to the atmosphere in ECCC’s family of Earth System Models. The student will also have the opportunity to visit and carry out targeted research at field sites. Candidates should have strong communication and analytical skills. Experience with ecosystem modeling and the use of evaluation datasets including, but not limited to eddy covariance flux datasets, is highly desirable. The successful applicant will join a dynamic research group with the opportunity to develop strong working relationships with academic and government scientists throughout Canada and internationally. Please contact Dr. Elyn Humphreys, for more information.

Effects of wildfire on greenhouse gas and energy balances of northern permafrost peatlands

Two fully funded 4-year PhD positions are open immediately at the Catchment and Wetland Sciences (CAWS) Research Group (, in the Department of Renewable Resources at University of Alberta, under the supervision of Dr. David Olefeldt, and at the Atmosbios Lab (, in the Département de géographie at Université de Montréal, under the supervision of Drs. Oliver Sonnentag and Kyle Arndt (Woodwell Climate Research Center).

We are looking for two talented students with interests in ecosystem greenhouse gas balance, soil biogeochemistry, peatland ecology, and Canada’s northern permafrost region. The projects will focus on the use of eddy covariance techniques to assess the greenhouse gas and energy balances of northern permafrost peatlands affected by wildfire. Field research will be conducted in northern Alberta (north of High Level, in peatlands affected by wildfire in 2007 and 2019) and the southern Northwest Territories (Scotty Creek, destroyed by a late-season wildfire in October 2022, scheduled to be rebuild in November 2022) at research sites with established infrastructure, supported by the Woodwell Climate Research Center through the Permafrost Pathways project. There is flexibility, and it is encouraged, for the students to focus on specific aspects of interest under the overarching themes.

Applicants are expected to hold, or soon complete, an MSc degree (or equivalent) in atmospheric sciences, physical geography, soil science, environmental science or similar fields. Previous experience with eddy covariance instrumentation and data handling is favourable. Proficiency in spoken and written English is needed, and, ideally, some French language skills for the position at Université de Montréal. The CAWS Research Group, the Atmosbios Lab and the Woodwell Climate Research Center are committed to the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion. We welcome people of any ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or ability to contact us about the positions. Full funding for the PhD students is available through Graduate Research Assistant Fellowships. Funding is also available to cover costs for skills workshops, national and international scientific conferences, and field gear. Additional stipends and scholarships are available to apply for from both institutional and national sources, including recruitment awards for students with high GPAs. Start date: January, May or September 2023