NSERC USRA Research Opportunities for VIU Undergraduates

Undergraduate Research Assistants setting up experiment on oyster farm

Interested in getting involved in some exciting marine biological research?  The NSERC USRA competition is coming up and Dr. Sarah Dudas is looking for some VIU undergraduate students (ideally 3-4 year) who might be interested in competing for NSERC USRA funding opportunities.   Sarah has two projects (below) and has three student opportunities available.

Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are meant to stimulate your interest in research in the natural sciences and engineering. They are also meant to encourage you to undertake graduate studies and pursue a research career in these fields. If you would like to gain research work experience that complements your studies in an academic setting, these awards can provide you with financial support through your host university. NSERC encourages qualified Aboriginal students to apply to this program. NSERC USRA Program

These awards pay $4,500 from NSERC plus a minimum additional 25% or more, for a minimum 16-week consecutive period. NSERC encourages qualified Aboriginal students to apply to this program.

Are coastal benthic and pelagic communities influenced by shellfish aquaculture activities?

Shellfish aquaculture activities that occur in the intertidal environment can directly and indirectly affect vegetation and the organisms that live on and within the sediment.  These activities include altering species compositions and densities, placement of fencing and anti-predator netting and predator removals.  The placement of structures and the practice of outplanting oysters on the beach changes a naturally soft-bottom habitat type to a mixed soft and hard bottom; potentially changing the abundance and type of organisms that utilize and live in these habitats.

This project will compare benthic and pelagic species diversity in two very different landscapes – the ‘natural’ sites being relatively flat and simple versus the altered, more complex aquaculture sites.  This information is valuable for improving aquaculture practices to ensure sustainable development of an important industry for BC.  It is also important from an ecological perspective to understand how organisms respond to, and utilize, anthropogenically altered habitat.

The Ecological Interactions Research Program at the Centre for Shellfish Research is looking for two motivated and enthusiastic students to assist with field and lab aspects of this project.  Students will gain experience in invertebrate and fish surveying techniques, experimental design and implementation and environmental monitoring.  Each student will also have the opportunity to conduct their own research project as well.

To apply please send a cover letter, CV and transcript copies to Sarah.Dudas@viu.ca

Identifying Olympia oyster restoration sites

Olympia oysters are BC’s only native oyster and were listed under SARA as a species of special concern in 2003 and are Blue listed by the Province of BC. Historically this species supported sustenance and commercial fisheries, until over-exploitation, habitat alteration and pollution led to significant declines along the entire coast and near-extirpation in some areas.  Since the early 1900s, impacts on the Olympia oyster have been dramatically reduced with the collapse and closure of the fisheries and reductions in pollution and habitat alteration.  Despite this, their populations have not rebounded.  This has led to impressive restoration efforts in the United States; more than $1 million has been spent on restoration projects, despite a serious lack of basic research and knowledge of the species.   This project will investigate the biological and physical site characteristics that serve as indicators for successful restoration sites and monitor Olympia oyster recruitment.

The Ecological Interactions Research Program at the Centre for Shellfish Research is looking for a motivated and enthusiastic student to assist with field and lab aspects of this project.  Students will gain experience in invertebrate and habitat surveying techniques, experimental design and implementation and environmental monitoring.  The student will also have the opportunity to conduct their own research project as well.

To apply please send a cover letter, CV and transcript copies to Sarah.Dudas@viu.ca

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: