Information For Prospective Lab Members

I am always looking for creative, capable, and collaborative individuals to join the lab.  My lab is a dynamic environment in which team members are given the opportunity to explore personal interests, while also expected to contribute to a positive lab culture.  The members of the lab regularly collaborate on research projects, and have the opportunity to learn a diversity of ideas and techniques.  My personal philosophy is to bring creative and motivated people into the lab, help them a bit, but mostly try to stay out of their way.  If you are independent, ambitious, and have (or are likely to secure) external funding, I encourage you to contact me.

Please note that at this time I am unable to recruit students or PDFs who do not have, or are not likely to receive, a scholarship or other source of external funding.

Postdoctoral Researchers:

I am always open to hosting PDF in the lab, however, such individuals must bring their own funding.  There are funding opportunities available through the University of Alberta to Canadian and International applicants, in addition to NSERC PDF and NSF Postdoctoral Awards.

Graduate (PhD and MSc):

There are a small number of spaces available in the lab for new students in most years, and preference is given to students who are likely to secure external funding (e.g. NSERC PGS/CGS/Vanier) and who wish to work in one of the thematic areas of the lab. 

PhD students are given substantial freedom in the development of a thesis topic. Though I enjoy talking about ideas and helping as needed, I do not hand out canned projects. Instead, I am comfortable advising graduate students on a wide range of topics in ecology (see my publication history for examples).  The design of a research program is of great importance to the success of any graduate career, and I encourage students to discuss ideas with anyone who will listen as early and as often as possible. 

MSc projects are typically more modest, more directed, and more rapidly determined. I do not think it benefits MSc students to take many years to complete their degree, as such prolonged research is better suited for a PhD.

I believe the graduate program is more rewarding, and the quality of the work is greater, when a collaborative and collegial atmosphere exists among lab members.  To help facilitate this, lab members regularly collaborate on projects of interest outside of their own thesis work and we regularly focus lab-discussions on career development.  Combined, these lead to a strong and supportive lab group – all with the focus on producing and publishing innovative research of the highest quality.

Students coming from my lab are broadly trained, with substantial experience in experimental design, statistical analyses, and scientific writing.  All lab members are expected to aggressively pursue funding opportunities while they are in graduate school. 

Students interested in graduate work in my lab should feel free to contact me and other lab members, and to explore the departmental web page for general information. Funding at UA is generous, and opportunities are available to both Canadian and non-Canadian citizens.

Undergraduate:

I regularly have positions available for creative, self-motivated, and dependable undergraduate students. These can take the form of research courses and occasional field or lab technician positions in summer/school year.  These positions are highly competitive, and fill up very quickly. I encourage interested students to contact me early. 

I am a big supporter of undergraduate research, and I know that undergraduates are capable of outstanding science. I also believe that undergraduate projects should be ambitious, creative, and fun. Yes, they are hard work, but it sure is enjoyable to find answers to questions you are curious about. The outcome of this combination of creativity and quality, and a supportive lab culture, is undergraduate regularly publish papers as lead and coauthors from the work conducted in the lab.

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