I have diverse interests in the fields of landscape ecology, ecosystem services, sustainability, and biodiversity science, and am always happy to discuss opportunities with creative, enthusiastic, and motivated undergraduate and graduate students. Graduate research projects can be developed with close ties to ongoing research in the lab, or based on particular student interests if applicable to our work and expertise. Research in our lab typically combines field work with laboratory and/or computer analysis, with most data collection occurring in the summer in urban or peri-urban areas. Please take a look through the Research and Publications pages to get an idea of our recent and on-going projects. Interested students are encouraged to contact Dr. Carly Ziter directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss available projects, funding opportunities, or specific research ideas they may have. Please include your CV, (unofficial) transcript, and a description of why you want to join the lab.
While the lab sometimes has funding for new graduate students (see current opportunities, below), eligible candidates are also encouraged to apply for independent research funding (e.g. through NSERC, FRQNT). Carly is happy to help you work through these applications (but be aware that deadlines are often far in advance of admission!). Concordia also offers fellowships for very strong applicants (considered at time of application). You can read more about the Biology graduate program here.
We currently do not have funding for postdocs, but there are postdoctoral funding opportunities for Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Quebec (FRQNT), and at Canadian universities (NSERC). Additional funding opportunities for postdoctoral work in Canada include Liber Ero, and Mitacs. Please contact Carly if you are interested in working on an application together.
Current Graduate Opportunities
We are currently in the process of launching our research lab at Concordia, and are looking for potential MSc or PhD students for Fall 2019 interested in interactions among urban landscape structure, biodiversity, and ecosystem services in a changing climate, using the city of Montreal as a focal case.
Why Montreal? Montreal is Canada’s second most populous urban area. Greater Montreal has expanded notably recently, with urban sprawl outpacing population growth. Like many Canadian cities, Montreal also experiences – and will continue to face – strong climate change impacts (e.g., increased heat waves/hot nights, frequent and intense rainfall), with biodiversity protection and more urban vegetation recommended for adaptation. To ensure these nature-based solutions are effective, we need to understand the links among green infrastructure, biodiversity, and ecosystem services on the ground. Dominated by high impervious cover, private land, and only 12% traditional green space (parks, cemeteries, nature reserves) the island of Montreal offers a strong case study for determining how to enhance biodiversity and ES in Canadian cities – particularly with respect to understanding the role of a larger array of green infrastructure types (e.g. residential land and vacant lots make up 38% and 14% of the island, respectively). Conducting research locally also maximizes funding and intellectual resources, and allows for relationship building with local stakeholders. An added bonus - Montreal has one of the largest concentration of ecologists in Canada, and is a growing center of excellence for urban ecology and urban forestry!
Rather than proposing a specific project, I prefer to work closely with students to develop a project idea they are excited about. Particular project directions may include (but are not limited to):
Characterizing relationships among biodiversity and multiple ES provided by green infrastructure. eg:
Does a variety of urban green space types improve landscape multifunctionality?
Which aspects of biodiversity are most strongly correlated with urban ES?
The role of urban landscape structure in moderating biodiversity and ES provision. eg:
Does configuration of urban green space - especially land sharing vs. sparing approaches to development - drive spatial tradeoffs among biodiversity and ES?
Can we leverage private management to scale up biodiversity and/or ES provision in a high-density city?
Ecosystem services (and particularly climate adaptation) provided by the urban forest. eg:
How will interacting drivers (impervious surfaces, tree canopy, weather conditions) affect urban temperatures in a future warmer climate?
How will direct and indirect changes in biodiversity alter forest-based ecosystem services?
Note: The lab currently has particular expertise in tree/plant biodiversity, and climate and regulating ecosystem services (e.g. those related to soil properties and nutrients, carbon storage, temperature regulation). However, studying additional services/taxa are certainly an option depending on the interests and expertise of the applicant (e.g. insect or avian mediated services, cultural ecosystem services).