Funded Graduate Student Opportunities: Watershed scale generation and transport sediment

Website University of Waterloo

Collaborative Water Program

Watershed scale generation and transport sediment associated nutrients resulting from forest management strategies at multiple spatial scales
Collaborative Water Program
Water Institute at the University of Waterloo

3 PhD and 1 MSc positions are available.

Start date: September 2018

The successful applicants will work in the laboratories of Dr Mike Stone and Dr Nandita Basu at the University of Waterloo and conduct field work at selected watershed research platforms in forested regions across Canada. Depending upon the academic background and research focus, students will enroll in either in the Department of Geography and the Environmental Management or the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and participate in the Collaborative Water Program, supported by the Water Institute at the University of Waterloo. Graduate students will be co-advised by Dr Stone and Dr Basu.

About the project
The drinking water for at least 60% of the largest Canadian urban centers originates in forested watersheds. Because the health of forested regions and waters they supply is under threat from numerous pressures, protection of drinking water sources is of increasing strategic national importance. The focus of this research network is to provide and mobilize new knowledge regarding the impacts of different forest management strategies on water quality and treatability across the major ecozones of Canada and the northern U.S. to assess their suitability as SWP technologies.

The Downstream Effects Propagation Theme of this network will focus on experimental work (field and laboratory) and modeling to describe watershed scale generation and transport of sediment associated nutrients resulting from forest management strategies at multiple spatial scales. The goal is to improve our understanding of physico-chemical processes and refine models to describe hydro-chemical responses in multiple headwater systems as a function of their unique landscape and hydro-climatic attributes on drinking water treatability. The broad research objectives are to 1) evaluate processes that drive of drinking water treatability metrics and proxies (sediment/turbidity, P, and DOC) at both headwater and regional scales and 2) model their downstream propagation in regions with different hydro-ecological characteristics and forest harvest strategies, and 3) assess the impact of forest management technologies on drinking water supplies for selected watershed research platforms across Canada.

Student will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with other members of the research team at a range of spatial scales to evaluate, refine and develop models to improve our understanding of forest harvesting strategies on water treatability.

PhD Project 1: Field and modeling studies to quantify storage and propagation of fine sediment through the river network

PhD Project 2: Field and modeling studies to quantify propagation of phosphorus and DOC through the river network

PhD Project 3: Parsimonious modelling of carbon and nutrient transport in forested watersheds as a function of forest management

MSc Project: Evaluate the effects of forest management on phosphorus form and mobility

Qualifications and skills
To be eligible, PhD applicants must have successfully defended and submitted their MSc thesis prior to the proposed start date. Applicants should have field and laboratory experience and strong interests in fundamental science and related modelling related to downstream propagation of sediment and associated nutrients The MSc applicant should have a strong quantitative background in geochemistry and sediment-associated nutrient dynamics in rivers. All applicants should be highly motivated, with the ability to work independently and collaboratively, and possess strong verbal and written communication skills.

How to apply
Qualified individuals are encouraged to submit their application by email to Dr. Mike Stone (MSC, PhD 1 and 2), and Dr. Nandita Basu (PhD 3). Please attach a single PDF file that contains a letter of research interest, curriculum vitae, transcripts and the names and contact information of 2-3 references. The subject line of the email should read Downstream Propagation Research.

Evaluation of the applications will begin February 2018. We thank all applicants for their interest in advance but only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.