Seven (7) PhD Positions for Lake Futures Team

University of Waterloo/Global Water Futures
Waterloo, ON, Canada
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

Positions available for seven graduate students

Lake Futures seeks seven graduate students (PhD) interested in research on the causes, impacts and mitigation of water quality issues in the Great Lakes and their watersheds. The successful candidates will work with a multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and the University of Windsor as well as with industry, government and community partners. Projects involve a combination of fieldwork, data synthesis and numerical modeling. We are specifically looking for candidates for the following sub-projects: 

Project 1: Watershed Pressures and Stressors (3 PhD positions) 

The goal of this project is to advance the predictive understanding and modeling of land-based pressures on lake ecosystems, specifically by quantifying the impacts of changing climate, land use and land management activities on changing nutrient and dissolved organic matter loadings. We are looking for 3 PhD students for this project.

PhD 1.2 will focus on the developing field of urban metabolism, where he/she will use a data synthesis and modeling approach to quantify urban nutrient flows in Toronto and the “Golden Horseshoe” Region around Lake Ontario, to assess the impact of current and future development on surface and groundwater quality and to identify externalities of urban development associated with a range of processes, from global trade to regional waste management. Supervisor: Nandita Basu

PhD 1.3 will focus on understanding climate and land use controls on the export of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) by developing a flexible modeling framework capable of predicting DOC dynamics across various spatial and temporal scales. Supervisor: Nandita Basu

PhD 1.4 will focus on developing water and nutrient models in the Great Lakes watersheds, with a specific focus on developing novel up-scaling techniques to scale up from small headwater watersheds to the Great Lakes scale. The applicants should have a specialization in biogeochemistry, hydrology, ecology, earth sciences, environmental engineering or a related field. Strong quantitative skills and experience in programming (e.g. C++, FORTRAN, Matlab, R) and/or geographical information systems would be preferred. Supervisors: James Craig and Bryan Tolson

The students will be guided by a team of researchers including: Nandita BasuSherry SchiffJames Craig, and Bryan Tolson from the University of Waterloo; Chris Wellen from Ryerson University; Scott Smith from Wilfrid Laurier University; and researchers from multiple external organizations including Environment Canada, the Grand River Conservation Authority, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. 

Project 2: Lake Impacts and Responses (2 PhD positions)

The overall goal of this project is to advance the predictive understanding and modeling of the biogeochemical responses of large lake systems to changes in nutrient inputs and climate warming at temporal scales ranging from days to decades, with an emphasis on nutrient cycling and the management of algal blooms.

PhD 2.1 will work on nearshore-off shore exchange in Lake Erie, with a focus on modeling the plume from the Grand River, via high-resolution numerical simulations using a three-dimensional numerical model. Applicants are required to have a background in fluid dynamics and computational mathematics. Supervisor: Kevin Lamb

PhD 2.3 will use remote sensing methodologies to estimate algal bloom occurrence and distributions, and link them to environmental drivers including inland (precipitation) and lake (ice cover, temperature, wind speed, solar radiation) meteorological forcings, nutrient sources, water temperature, light penetration, etc. A background in remote sensing and statistical techniques is preferred for this position. Supervisor: Homa Kheyrollah PourMore information.

The students of Project 2 will be guided by a team of researchers including: Kevin LambPhilippe Van CappellenMarek StastnaClaude DuguayHoma Keyrollah Pour, and Raoul-Marie Couture from the University of Waterloo; Jason Venkiteswaran from Wilfrid Laurier University; and researchers from Environment Canada and from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. 

Project 3: Ecosystem Impacts (2 PhD Positions)

The overall goal of Project 3 is to develop and test indicators that measure temporal and spatial changes in the environmental health of keystone ecosystems along the watershed-lake continuum.

PhD 3.1 will work with Rebecca Rooney (University of Waterloo) and Jan Ciborowski (University of Windsor) on modeling causes and consequences of nutrient loadings to Lake Erie using Fuzzy Cognitive Maps. Applicants should have strong interests in quantitative ecology and a background in food webs or nutrient dynamics of aquatic ecosystems. More information.

PhD 3.2 will work with Mark Servos and Simon Courtenay (University of Waterloo) to develop improved indicators of ecosystem change at the river–near shore interface, with a specific focus on the Grand River and the eastern basin of Lake Erie interface. Applicants should have previous research experience related to the fields of aquatic biology and/or environmental monitoring.

Application instructions 

The students should have research experience in the fields corresponding to the particular PhD position to which they are applying, as detailed above. They will work with a cross-university team of researchers and must be effective in a multidisciplinary, team-based environment. Excellent communication and organizational skills are required. To apply to any of the positions listed above, please submit a complete application as a single PDF document to Tatjana Milojevic (, with the subject line: PhD-LF_Project#_your surname.

In your application, please include:

  • The PhD position to which you are applying (if you are interested in more than one position, please note that)
  • A letter explaining your motivation for applying to the position and how your research interests align with the position(s)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Copy of transcript(s)
  • Contact information for 3 references

Closing date: Applications will be reviewed as they are received. The positions will remain open until filled.