So you want to go to grad school?
Thematically, we are very interested in six main ares of research:
A. Metabolic physiology, life histories, and the links to population phenomena, including: population growth rates, density dependence, black-swan extreme events, sustainability, and extinction risk.
B. The evolution of sharks and rays, particular the evolution of live-bearing, maternal investment and connections to the evolution of brain size and organisation.
C. Conservation and spatial patterning in shark and ray diversity, including species richness, evolutionary distinctness, endemicity, and functional distinctiveness.
D. Species interactions and scaling size-based dynamics of species into ecosystem properties and dynamics, for example ecosystem baselines and ecological pyramids and the role of predator-prey mass ratios.
E. Global change and the future of fish and fisheries.
F. Comparative evolutionary ecology of vertebrates. Chondrichthyans are the basal gnathastome emboding the original vertebrate brain 'bauplan'. Hence they are the perfect group with which to view the orientation in the evolution of traits, such as home range size, thermal physiology, and brain structure, and the consequences for their ecological function, such as feeding interactions.
We mainly work on sharks and rays and fisheries issues, but we are also very keen on vertebrate-wide hypotheses. In the recent past we have worked on coral reefs and climate change and can consider working in these areas if there is a connection to sharks and / or fisheries. We mainly work on top-down and bottom-up control of species and ecosystems, using large-scale natural gradients as 'experiments'. Fishing pressure and the removal of predators constitutes the top-down element and climate change the driver of the bottom-up element. Almost all of our work involves compiling and analyzing large datasets using statistical modeling and simulation. we are now moving into the morphological and physiological basis for population dynamics and there is increasing need for skilled lab work and occasional field sampling.
1. You are entering grad school to get yourself a degree. How are you going to fund that degree? Have you applied for an NSERC CGS Masters? Are you going to apply for an NSERC? Are you aware that an NSERC will only span one year, hence you need a plan to fund the rest?
2. Do you have any experience of programming in R, or using GIS or histology, microscopy and dissection? If so get in touch right away? We are always short of those skillsets.
3. Have you been traveling or have you worked overseas? We are always keen to hear from people with unusual career paths and experiences.
Before you apply.... READ this essential blog post on Conservation Bytes by Prof Corey Bradshaw