Two MSc positions in Biophysical Modelling, Mapping and Valuation in Lake Ontario

Website University of Waterloo

Global Water Futures

Two Master Student Opportunities – Biophysical Modelling, Mapping and Valuation of changes in Lake Ontario Ecosystem Services affected by Urban Phosphorus Export under Climate Change

These MSc positions are related to a project recently funded by the Global Water Futures,‘Managing Urban Eutrophication Risks under Climate Change:An Integrated Modelling and Decision Support Framework’ at the University of Waterloo. The project aims to develop a toolbox for assessing the vulnerability and exposure of Lake Ontario’s water quality to excessive phosphorus (P) export due to urbanization and climate change. The focus will be on eutrophication risks and Cladophora growth in the littoral zone of the Western basin of Lake Ontario (WLO) driven by urban P inputs from Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe, which includes the Greater Toronto Area.

Position #1: We are seeking a Master student to study how water quality changes, driven by urban P loads and frequency of algal blooms, affect recreational water use possibilities in Lake Ontario.The student will apply biophysical modelling and mapping tools to the littoral zone of the WLO and investigate how changes in ecosystem status are likely to affect recreational ecosystem services along the shoreline of WLO. This research is expected to contribute to Lake Ontario management actions by informing decision-makers (i) how changes in lake water quality are expected to affect valuable recreational ecosystem services, and (ii)to analyse cost-effectiveness of different management options for reducing urban P export.

Supervisors: Prof. Philippe Van Cappellen, Prof. Roy Brouwer, Dr. Rute Pinto

Eligibility: Applicants should hold a degreein environmental science, eco-hydrology, environmental geography, environmental or ecological economics, or a related discipline. The candidate should have good quantitative skills (for example in statistics or mathematical programming), as well as interest in spatial analysis of large datasets (for example using ArcGIS). Funding is available for two years.

Position #2: We are seeking a Master student to study the retrieval algorithm of Cladophora and Chl-a concentration utilizing remote sensing sensors to calibrate the developed algal growth model of western Lake Ontario. This research is a collaboration between Ecohydrology Lab at the University of Waterloo and ReSEC Lab at Wilfrid Laurier University. The research will contribute to assembling the suite of modeling and assessment tools that will link variable urban nutrient export fluxes to the ecological, social and economic impacts of eutrophication in the receiving surface waters.

Supervisors: Prof. Philippe Van Cappellen, Prof. Homa Kheyrollah Pour

Eligibility: Students interested should have a strong background and experience in one or a combination of Geography, Physics, Earth Science, Geomatics, and Biology. Strengths in programming, writing, statistical analysis, and the ability to work both independently and in a team are essential.The candidate should have good quantitative skills, Python programming as well as interest in spatial analysis of large datasets.Funding is available for two years.

Application Information Enquiries: For further information about position#1, please contact Dr. Rute Pinto ( Further information about position #2 can be obtained by contacting Dr. Kheyrollah Pour (

Application Process: Interested candidates can submit a letter of application for position #1 to Dr. Rute Pinto (, and for position #2 to Dr. Kheyrollah Pour ( The letter of application should include (1) a cover letter outlining the student’s interest and motivation to work in the project, (2) relevant background and experience to increase eligibility, and (3) a full curriculum vitae.

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.