PhD announcements


A PhD opportunity in dendrochronology –  History and drivers of forest fires over the Canada’s Northern Territories in multi-century perspective

Fires are the primary factor of natural dynamics in boreal forests. Large areas of the boreal forest, burning annually in boreal North America reflect a fundamental link between large-scale atmospheric circulation processes and fire regimes. Climatically-induced changes in fire regimes impact the functioning of the boreal ecosystem by affecting regeneration and growth conditions for dominant tree species, forest composition, and its successional pathways. As a result, these interactions affect different ecosystem services such as carbon storage and biodiversity preservation, and also have an impact on the availability of forest products. Understanding their drivers and spatio-temporal dynamics of fire regimes is therefore of paramount importance for sound modelling of future climate variability on boreal forest dynamics.

The doctoral project will seek to develop multi-century reconstruction of fires in an area located within Canada’s Northern Territories and to provide a mechanistic interoperation of fire regime drivers and to discuss future trends in fire activity in that region, using output of regional climate models. The doctoral project will rely heavily on a combination of dendrochronological methods, statistical and process-based modelling techniques. This doctoral opportunity is a part of the project “Impacts of climate change on wildfire risk in boreal forests of the Northern Territories” (leading PI – Prof. Hugo Asselin), supported by Government of Canada through Polar Knowledge Canada program. Additional funding for this phd comes from Canada Research Chair in Ecology and Sustainable Forest Management of Prof. Yves Bergeron.

We are looking for an ambitious and highly motivated PhD student with a completed master degree in forest ecology, climatology, geography, or ecosystem modelling. Documented experiences with dendrochronology, GIS-added analyses, and large relational databases are strong assets during the evaluation process. Knowledge of R is a must.  The candidate should be fluent in English and has a good ability to formulate himself/herself both orally and in writing. Knowledge of French is an asset. A record of scientific publications is highly valued. We put a great emphasis on personal characteristics of the successful applicant, solid work ethic, and in particular – the ability to independently manage a large volume of laboratory and analytical tasks and to meet reporting and publication deadlines. The candidate is expected to be physically fit and capable of conducting field work in remote yet aesthetically superior environments.

The position is supported by three year fellowship (~ 20k Can$ per year). Selected candidate will enjoy a partial waiver of tuition fees (which depend on the nationality of the student).

The successful candidate will join a dynamic and international team of the Forest Research Institute at the University of Quebec at Abitibi-Temiscamigue, Quebec Canada. He/She will be closely integrated in a number of transnational projects aiming at analyses of fire regimes across boreal zone of the Northern Hemisphere (GDRI Cold Forests, and PREREAL,

It is expected that this 3-year PhD project will start in the late fall of 2017 or early in 2018.

Interested students should send their CV and one page cover letter to Please note that the deadline for sending application for this position is August the 1st, 2017.