WANTED: graduate students

Interested in arthropod ecology?

Interested in graduate school?

I’m seeking at least two graduate students.  One, at the MSc level, on a project related to pollinator diversity within an agroecology context.  This is a Quebec-based project, and bilingualism would be required. The second, at the PhD level, will be about Arctic arthropod biodiversity with a particular focus on temporal changes in community structure. The Arctic project will involve a combination of field and laboratory work, and will in part deal with historical specimens. Both projects will require a student with interests in both taxonomy and ecology.  In other words, significant time at a microscope as well as time doing quantitative ecology.  Start dates are negotiable, but there is potential for field work to commence in May/June 2013.  Required skills include excellent communication skills, ability to work in a large, dynamic laboratory, passion for arthropod ecology, and abilities/interest in quantitative ecology.  Experience in Entomology and/or Arachnology would be an asset.

Please do your homework:  read my blog, and do research about my research; try to assess if you think you’ll be a good fit within my laboratory group.

Interested candidates should e-mail me with a brief (<200 words) statement of interest, a brief (<200 words) statement that outlines relevant experience and skills, and a brief sentence or two about your expectations in the context of graduate school at McGill University.  Please submit these to me before the end of January 2013.


Urban field work: Pollinators in Montreal

I finally managed to get a little bit of field work in this week.  Although some would question whether it’s REALLY field work, since it involved driving to a couple of cemeteries and community gardens in the city of Montreal!  This urban field work is the start of a terrific new Master’s project by student Étienne Normandin.  Here he is, happily doing field work in a community garden:

Sweeping for bees (and other insects) in a Montreal community garden

Étienne is worked with Valérie Fournier and me in a collaborative project about bees in Montreal.  In this project, we are interesting in asking about the diversity and community structure of wild and domesticated bees in urban areas, and we are working in two major urban centres: Montreal and Quebec City.   Over the past couple of weeks, Étienne has been setting up traps in community gardens and other habitats (including cemeteries) to assess the bee biodiversity.   Étienne is using a combination of approaches to collect bees, including sweep-netting (as pictured above) and  elevated pan traps, as illustrated here (the different colours are used to attract different kind of bees):

Étienne setting up elevated pan traps, to collect bees

This is the very start of what will be an interesting and important project, especially given the concern about the losses of bees, and the economic and ecological consequence of changing pollinator communities.  I will continue to post developments in this project.  And, I warmly welcome Étienne to the Arthropod Ecology laboratory!