Seeking 18 students for a large aquatic ecosystem study

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Seeking 18 students for a large aquatic ecosystem study

Beitrag von mare-mundi Redaktion » 03 Feb 2014 18:00

Seeking 18 graduate students and PDF's for a large aquatic ecosystem study

Seeking 18 graduate students and PDF's for a large aquatic ecosystem study
Mactaquac Aquatic Ecosystem Study

By 2017, NB Power will make a multi-billion dollar decision to rebuild or
remove the Mactaquac Dam (MD) on the Saint John River (SJR), near
Fredericton, NB, Canada. The Canadian Rivers Institute has been charged with
providing the environmental science to support NB Power’s decision. The
Mactaquac Aquatic Ecosystem Study (MAES) is a planned, whole-river ecosystem
study and manipulation. It begins with a minimum of eight years to study the
structure and function of a large river ecosystem, followed by a
manipulation of flow, sediment load, and thermal regime with consequential
effects on the ecosystem, and then a multi-year period to monitor the
recovery to a new river state. The manipulation will induce either an acute,
major perturbation with long-term effects, i.e., removing the dam and
restoring the river to a free-flowing form, or a minor, lesser stress event
created by the multi-year, re-construction of the dam, but chronic in that
the dam and related issues persist. A comprehensive study and planned
manipulation of an ecosystem of this scale is arguably the largest
freshwater ecosystem study and experiment that has been attempted. We are
seeking motivated, self-driven and talented post-doctoral candidates and
graduate students in Biology, Civil Engineering, Geological Engineering,
Hydrological and Hydrodynamic Modelling, and Fluvial Geomorphology.

Beginning Summer 2014
1. MScEng (Geology) - Accurate definition of sediment layering of a
reservoir. One of the primary concerns with dam remediation is estimating
the volume of sediment accreted since emplacement (45 years in the case of
Mactaquac Dam). While the total volume may be large, spread over a large
area the local thickness of the sediments may be very thin (decimetres).
Digital subbottom profiling records acquired using broadband acoustic
sources (28 kHz and 3.5 kHz) will be analyzed to define this layer as well
as gravity cores to understand impedance contrasts and advance our
interpretation of sediment layers. The 3.5 kHz profiles are also expected to
provide insights into the deeper stratigraphy (glacial and post-glacial)
that will be controlling the groundwater flux during reservoir drawdown and
potentially influencing engineering solutions for the future MD removal or
renewal. We will complement the acoustic survey with a towed low power
seismic system to obtain greater depths of penetration and/or improved
resolution in areas of particular interest. Possible options include the IKB
Seistec system previously proven for subbottom aquifer imaging at
Fredericton or a sparker-based system capable of greater penetration in
coarse sediments and tills. [Supervisor Dr. Karl Butler, UNB Fredericton]

2. MSc (Hydrological Modeling) - Climate and future hydrological regimes for
the Saint John River. Working with the modeling team
(hydrological/hydraulic/thermal models and paired with downscaled climate
information), the MSc Candidate will model trends for the hydrological and
thermal regimes predicted for the SJR for different climate scenarios.
Different approaches to downscaling climate data will be explored, for
example, Statistical Downscaling Model, using modelled climate data
available through the Canadian Climate Change Scenarios Network
( This work will set the hydrological foundation for
developing appropriate environment flow regimes for the SJR. [Supervisors
Dr. Wendy Monk, UNB Fredericton and Dr. Andre St-Hilaire, INRS Quebec City]

3. MSc (Hydrological Modeling) - Modeling predicted thermal regimes
downstream during reservoir drawdown. The objective of the project is to
predict reservoir temperatures and the water temperature downstream of the
dam under various release scenarios to minimize the temperature impacts.
Working closely with a PDF mainly responsible for downstream scenarios, the
M.Sc. candidate will concentrate on establishing the reservoir temperature
conditions. To account for vertical thermal variability in the reservoir,
e.g., seasonal stratification, a CEQUEAU thermal model complemented by a 1D
vertical water temperature model called MyLAKE(Multi-year Lake simulation
model) will be used. Thermal indices will be computed from synthetic
temperature time series. These indices are descriptive statistics that
quantify spatio-temporal variability in water temperature amplitude,
frequency, timing and duration of warm events, and will be compared with
habitat maps and biota distribution to examine implications for dam removal
and longer term, environmental flow regimes. [Supervisor Dr. Andre
St-Hilaire, INRS Quebec City – note that proficiency in French is required]

4. PDF (Civil/Hydrodynamic Modeling) - Sediment resuspension, movement, and
fate post-dam removal - The PDF will develop, calibrate and validate a
hydrodynamic model that includes the entire study area of the reservoir and
river reach. The project will then integrate the bathymetric surveys and
reservoir sediment volume, grain size, and spatial distribution analyses
into “Delft3d” model that simulates the interaction of water and sediment
(both suspended and bed total load) in time and space
( <> Long- and short-term morphological
changes and sediment distributions will be predicted to best understand how
disturbed materials will move in the water column and their ultimate fate.
This dynamic-bed model will simulate seasonal streamflows to investigate the
optimal timetable for the dam removal to mitigate downstream effects of
suspended sediment concentration and spatial patterns of sediment
deposition.[Supervisor Dr. Katy Haralampides, UNB Fredericton]

5. PhD (Limnology) - Chemical and biotic source materials from the reservoir
drawdown. In a dam removal scenario, ~350km3 of water must be displaced
downstream. The PhD Candidate will conduct a complete, spatio-temporal
analyses of the reservoir’s limnological conditions to understand the
physical-biological characteristics of water released in a dam removal
scenario. The survey will produce data to build and assess a model of
downstream dispersal for various biological components (e.g., nutrients,
alga, contaminants, dissolved oxygen) using a DELWAQ model, D-Water Quality
and D-Ecology modules. We plan to develop and test a rapid phytoplankton
assessment tool using an ‘bbe AlgaeTorch’ ( as a rapid
vertical profiling sampling protocol to increase our data for modeling and
also provide guidance data during the drawdown regime when reservoir
limnological responses will be intensified by declining water volumes and
effects on temperature, concentrations of nutrients, and biota. [Supervisor
Dr. Allen Curry, UNB Fredericton]

6. M.Sc. (Aquatic ecology) -River metabolism. Led by the M.Sc. Candidate,
the project will first determine the metabolism of the planktonic and
benthic communities using the light/dark bottle incubation and benthic
chamber techniques. The objective is then to determine an appropriate
reaeration coefficient for an open water metabolism method applicable for
regulated rivers such as the SJR.[Supervisor Dr. Joseph Culp, UNB Fredericton]

7. PhD (Fish Ecology/Biotelemetry) - Reservoir transit and downstream
approaches to a large dam by Atlantic Salmon. Downstream movements of
Atlantic salmon present challenges at two spatial scales. The capability of
smolts (downstream) and adults (upstream and downstream) to negotiate the
~100km reservoir is not understood. The PhD Candidate will use acoustic
tracking with multiple fixed receivers ( and manual tracking,
to track smolts, kelts and upstream migrating adults during a multi-year
field campaign. Pathways will be mapped and synthesized with limnological
data to best understand reservoir bottlenecks. The finer scale 3D movement
by downstream migrants during the approach to the dam will use a 16 antenna,
high performance hydro-acoustic array (HTI) at the upstream face of the
existing dam to understand mechanisms dictating dam passage. Position will
start fall 2014, with field activity planned in spring 2015. [Supervisors
Dr. Tommi Linnansaari and Dr. Steve Peake, UNB Fredericton]

8. PhD (Fish Ecology/Biotelemetry) - Restoration potential for reproduction
by Striped Bass. Because Striped Bass still migrate and are distributed
throughout the SJR up to MD during its spawning period, it is a candidate
for population recovery using engineered reproductive habitats downstream of
MD, e.g., by manipulating flows. The PhD Candidate will locate the preferred
seasonal habitats of striped bass using a combination of radio and acoustic
telemetry and will link movement behavior to physical habitat variables
(e.g. depth, velocity, substrate, temperature, and flow) and biological
understanding (e.g. prey abundance) to generate an understanding of the
basic ecology of the species in the river. Verification of habitat use and
presence of associated fish species will be carried out by using SeaViewer
underwater camera system operated on a georeferenced transect grid.
Potential spawning areas will be further refined by capturing fish using
traps and electrofishing during the spawning period. Using observations from
tracking and river environment maps created in the other projects, we will
build a model of potential spawning habitat as a function of discharge using
River2D for the current and future river scenarios. In-stream and
in-hatchery experiments (Mactaquac Biodiversity Facility, Fisheries and
Oceans Canada) with SJR Striped Bass gametes will be used to test the
viability of fertilization and survival of larvae in the SJR. The cumulative
knowledge will be used to determine and model engineered spawning habitats
for striped bass. [Supervisors Dr. Allen Curry and Dr. Tommi Linnansaari,
UNB Fredericton]

9. MSc (Fish Ecology/Biotelemetry) – Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeon:
Habitats and relationships to a new environmental flow regime. The MSc
Candidate will use acoustic telemetry (Vemco) to track Shortnose and
Atlantic sturgeon to determine the location of spawning grounds of both
species and to extend the understanding of seasonal habitats of adults in
the SJR. The work builds on existing and ongoing effort and infrastructure
by Ocean Tracking Network partners. DIDSON technology and 3D tracking using
HTI acoustic technology will focus on studying the fine-scale effects of
flow and velocity fields on spawning and recruitment success. Habitat
characteristics including depth, velocity, substrate, and temperature will
be measured as a function of flow. The output from hydrodynamic models
will be combined with field data and re-analysed using River2D to build a
model of potential spawning habitats as a function of discharge. Future
spawning sites for flow regimes predicted for either the dam renewal or
removal scenarios will then be predicted. [Supervisors Dr. Steve Peake and
Dr. Tommi Linnansaari, UNB Fredericton].

10. MSc (Fish Ecology) - Near dam, spatio-temporal distribution of migrating
American Eel elvers. Since 1980, eel elvers are no longer reported arriving
at the MD fish trap, which corresponds to the start-up of the last two
turbine units at MD and thus suggests a velocity barrier for migration. The
MSc Candidate will study the spatio-temporal distributions of elvers on
their final approach to MD to ascertain the success of passage upstream to
this presumed barrier. Clusters of habitat traps will be distributed within
20km downstream of MD and the presence of elvers monitored to establish
spatio-temporal patterns of upstream movement. Based on abundance patterns
and measures of flow and temperature at traps and using the hydrodynamic
model output, predicted migration paths will be created and the potential
migration bottlenecks will be identified. Additionally, the hydrodynamic
models will be applied to describe predicted habitats for elvers to further
evaluate how future flows may impact the habitats of migrating elvers.
[Supervisors Dr. Tommi Linnansaari and Dr. Allen Curry, UNB Fredericton]

11. MSc (Aquatic Insect Ecology) - Environmental and future flows with
habitat implications for riparian insect species at risk. The SJR watershed
provides the critical habitat necessary for the conservation of three insect
species at risk within the province of New Brunswick: Skillet Clubtail,
Pygmy Snaketail, and Cobblestone Tiger Beetle (
Because a future change in flow regime has the potential to impact the
flooding patterns for riparian trees and island habitats, the MSc Candidate
will conduct surveys of the species in the downstream riparian areas (river
banks and islands) to locate and map occurrences. The geospatial
distributions will be evaluated against the detailed riparian maps and the
future flow scenarios to assess the potential loss of emergence habitats for
these species. [Supervisor Dr. Wendy Monk, UNB Fredericton].

Beginning Summer 2015
12. MScEng (Civil/Geomatics) - Analysis of resolution, accuracy and
information content of airborne laser ultra-shallow water surveys. The
project is a development and test of LiDAR as an effective tool in river
management. Until recently, LiDAR was inefficient in inland, shallow waters
as the depth limitation was <1m (separating the pulse waveform reflection
from the water surface and its bed). New shorter pulse systems are narrowing
that gap, but at the expense of penetration (dependent on water clarity). In
addition, these systems can provide a measure of optical water clarity and
river bed reflectance. Previous work on the underlying laser waveforms has
demonstrated detection of vegetation. The MSc Candidate will assess the
accuracy, and minimum and maximum depth limits achieved by such a system.
[Supervisor Dr. J. Hughes Clarke, UNB Fredericton]

13. PhD (River Ecology) - Trophic structure and biomonitoring metrics for a
large river. The trophic structure of large rivers is spatio-temporally
complex yet essential to understand for informative, effective decisions
regarding multi-use rivers. Trophic structure can be affected by
manipulations of flow and thus, metrics of trophic structure and organic
matter pathways ) may be informative when assessing the impacts of dam
removals . The PhD Candidate will compile a multi-parameter and scale
bio-physical assessment of the Saint John River using stable isotopes of C
and N from which trophic metrics of river ecosystem status will be created
(Stable Isotopes in Nature Laboratory, CRI/UNB) based on > 5000 samples that
are to be collected. [Supervisors Dr. Allen Curry, UNB Fredericton and Dr.
Karen Kidd, UNB Saint John]

14. MSc (Ecology/Ecohydraulics) - A quantitative model of fish habitats in a
large river: The project will take a mesohabitat approach to assess the
changes in habitat conditions if the current dam would be removed. The
suitability of existing hydromorphological unit (HMU-mesohabitat)
classification schemes designed for smaller rivers and/or single species
situations will be further developed for the SJR. Fish assemblage associated
with mesohabitats will be established. A species-seasonal habitat use matrix
will be populated by observed and literature data. Final habitat
associations based on "habitat suitability" and associated uncertainty will
be created using a novel approach of fuzzy-logic rules created via a
multi-expert consultation exercise with the goal to establish probability of
fish presence in different HMU parcels. The MSc Candidate will derive HMU’s
from the output from the “Delft3D” hydrodynamic model, use the
depth/velocity simulation output, combined with substrate data transformed
into HMU parcels in Arc-GIS based meso-CASiMiR model that can utilize the
fuzzy logic based rules alongside with standard preference functions.
[Supervisor Dr. Tommi Linnansaari, UNB Fredericton]

15. MSc (Biogeochemistry) - Reservoir sediment composition, chemistry, and
potential for downstream displacement. The Candiate will determine spatial
distribution of sediment composition and chemistry in the reservoir by
collecting grab and core samples. Shallow (5 cm) sediment layers will be
sampled to examine spatial variability in and magnitude of contaminants and
nutrients. From the gravity cores, slices will be used to assess differences
among deposition layers for erosion mapping and sediment transport
consequences and to inform ongoing collection of sediments. Analyses will
include grain size, %N, %P, total organic and inorganic carbon and
contaminants (PCBs, chlorinated pesticides, metals, PAHs). The MSc Candidate
will assess nutrients and contaminants and their implications for the dam
removal scenario, and the project potentially includes numerical modelling
of transport and deposition of nutrients and contaminants using DELWAQ
models.[Supervisor Dr. Karen Kidd, UNB Saint John]

16. MSc (Fluvial Geomorphology/Ecohydrology) - Final river setting following
a dam removal. Predicting the final setting of the river in the dam removal
scenario informs the ecosystem studies because the new river includes
habitats that can be defined by predicted flows and depths, sediment
transport and deposition, and barriers. The MSc Candidate will predict these
physical characteristics of the new river using a channel evolution model
approach based on existing dam removal projects (Elwha River -) and modeling
experiments . Once channel placement and forms are predicted, the Candidate
will use knowledge from the whole ecosystem study and literature to predict
the habitats and barriers for fishes in a new river.[Supervisors Dr. Wendy
Monk and Dr. Allen Curry, UNB Fredericton]

17. MSc (Fish Ecology/Biotelemetry) – The ecology of muskellunge, an
introduced predator, in the vicinity of a large dam. Muskellunge originated
upstream of MD from an introduction and now occur up- and downstream of MD,
but spawning sites remain unknown. Their impact on the SJR ecosystem is
similarly unknown, but management of the species either with or without a
dam will have significantly different objectives if muskellunge are
reproducing downstream. The MSc Candidate will locate habitats downstream of
MD using both radio- (Lotek) and acoustic telemetry (Vemco). Successful
spawning will be confirmed by collecting eggs and/or fry from vegetation in
the area, and/or by collection of young-of-the-year (YOY) in trap or seine
nets later in the season. Quality of nursery habitat will be assessed by
monitoring growth rate and abundance of YOY. [Supervisors Dr. Steve Peake
and Dr. Allen Curry, UNB Fredericton].

18. PhD (Aquatic Ecology) - Historical, current and future lateral
connectivity within the floodplain. The SJR ecosystem boasts substantial
wetland habitats sustained by the lateral connectivity with its largely
intact floodplain, which is rare in a temperate zone river of this size
flowing into either side of the Atlantic Ocean. The Grand Lake Meadows is a
116,000 hectare wetland and a Provincial Protected Area with several species
of concern. The PhD Candidate will examine historical records using aerial
photographs paired with historical water level records to quantify the
connectivity among wetland habitats and the main channel and then structure
sampling of the current wetland biodiversity (measured through DNA-based
biodiversity analysis) along a wetland habitat connectivity gradient. Using
these temporal-spatial patterns, the goal will be to predict future wetland
connectivity modification under environmental flow scenarios derived from
the ongoing hydrological modeling.[Supervisor Dr. Donald Baird, UNB

To apply:
Prospective candidates should email a cover letter, CV, unofficial
university transcripts and contact information for three people who can
serve as references. The cover letter must clearly indicate the project
being applied for, and outline how the candidate’s previous experience has
prepared him/her to function as a leader of the respective MAES study
component, and what specific qualifications the candidate will bring to the
large, multidisciplinary MAES Team.

Review of applicants for the projects starting in summer 2014 will begin 21
February 2014 and continue until the positions are filled. Ideal start date
for 2014 projects is in March/April. For positions starting 2015,
applications can be provided until fall of 2014. Send complete application
packages to Project Manager Gordon Yamazaki by email (

The Canadian Rivers Institute (CRI) was founded in 2000 as a collaboration
of researchers at the University of New Brunswick. The mandate of the CRI is
to develop the aquatic science needed to understand, protect, and sustain
water resources for the region, nation, and the planet. Currently, the
research network is led by a team of 20 Science Directors, all of which are
leading experts in Aquatic Research Sciences and includes 7 Canada Research
Chairs. A large network of associates, students, and a team of more than 20
technical and management staff comprises the support network of CRI. For
more information about CRI, please visit

Please note that full-time faculty members of the University of New
Brunswick are currently on strike, and regular email communications and
professional websites have been disabled for the (unknown) duration of the
labour dispute. Therefore, all related enquiries during the labour dispute
should be directed only to the Project Manager email address provided below.

Biologische Unterwasserforschungsgruppe der
Universität Salzburg <>


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