PhD: Modeling Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the Metro Vancouver Region

University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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We are seeking a PhD student to map and model biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Metro Vancouver region. This work is targeted at developing new approaches and knowledge to spark and foster change toward net positive futures for biodiversity and ecosystem services in the region and more broadly. The biodiversity models will likely involve habitat suitability models for a range of indicator species, based on extensive local data for birds and other data sets available from Metro Vancouver and the provincial British Columbia government. Ecosystem services models will likely integrate both ecological capacity to supply benefits as well as social demand for a range of ecosystem services, such as pollination, water provision, carbon storage, and recreation. The successful candidate will interact with decision-makers, including municipal officials, NGOs, and First Nations, to help advance transformative change towards sustainability.

Students are invited to propose alternative approaches and add-ons, including components with fieldwork, both social and biophysical, depending on their interests and skill set.

The successful candidate will be co-supervised by Kai Chan and Matt Mitchell, and therefore will be part of vibrant communities of interdisciplinary scholars at UBC, in CHANS Lab, IRES (Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability), Land and Food Systems, and the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems.

Eligible Candidates

Canadian and International students are encouraged to apply. The applicant should have successfully completed a MSc and have a strong background in species habitat modelling and/or ecosystem service modeling (including potentially hydrological modeling), programming and/or scripting, and data analysis. Ideal candidates will have strong communication and organizational skills, the ability to work collaboratively in a team, and a keen interest in interdisciplinary research. Candidates should generally have a first-authored article in a peer-reviewed journal published or in press.

An annual Graduate Research Assistant Stipend will be available for 4 years to ensure funding at a minimum rate of CDN $25,000/year plus benefits. If the candidate does not have NSERC or similar funding they will be expected to be proactive in applying for awards.

Interested applicants should apply to the RES PhD program ( by January 2021. Students wishing to indicate and assess interest before applying can send a cover letter, CV, a statement of grades (including TOEFL score if international student) by email to and The anticipated starting date will be September 1 2021 assuming UBC entrance requirements are met.

Reference Number

Please mention reference number GPS-54415 in all your correspondence about this Doctoral student position.

Enquire about this position

This position will be supervised by

Kai Chan

Interested applicants will have to gain admission to this graduate program

Doctor of Philosophy in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (PhD)

The position is affilated with / related to

Biodiversity Research Centre

Centre for Sustainable Food Systems

Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability

Classified under

Earth and related environmental sciences

Ecological applications