PhD opportunities in Arctic Wildlife Health and Indigenous Knowledge Caribou Population Ecology and Muskox Parasitology:

We are seeking two highly motivated individuals to join our research group on Arctic Wildlife Health. These positions are based at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Successful applicants will work under the primary supervision of Dr. Susan Kutz, Canada Research Chair in Arctic One Health and within our international, multi-disciplinary, multi-agency, and community-based network to investigate aspects of muskox and caribou health ecology and resilience in a changing Arctic.

Our program spans disciplines from the laboratory to communities and ecosystems and incorporates Indigenous knowledge to better understand the factors influencing muskox and caribou health, emerging disease, and food safety and security in the Arctic.

 We are recruiting two graduate students for separate projects to begin in Fall 2023:

1. Community-defined and monitored indicators of recovery in barren-ground caribou (PhD student): In this project we bring together Indigenous Knowledge, hunter-based sampling, and western science to identify and analyze individual-level health indicators of population dynamics in caribou.

The student will establish benchmark limits for health indicators which will be used to guide future research and management. This project will strengthen the role of Indigenous Knowledge and community-based sampling in understanding of caribou ecology and guiding evidence based, pro-active stewardship actions for caribou populations.

Qualifications: This research requires excellent interpersonal communication skills to work collaboratively with northern Indigenous communities and government partners. Ability to work in the lab and in remote field locations is required. Background in population ecology and modeling essential. Understanding of ungulate ecology and management, disease ecology, and Indigenous Knowledge desired.

2. Climate change and the diversity and ecology of lungworms in muskoxen (MSc or PhD): Warming climate is altering the ecology and epidemiology of Arctic parasites, particularly for those with free-living stages. The lungworm Dictyocaulus sp. has been associated with yearling poor-doing and mortality in muskoxen and is abundant in some muskox populations in the Arctic archipelago.

Yet, almost nothing is known about its lifecycle, distribution, effects, and response to climate change. This work will use a combination of lab and field-based experiments and mathematical modeling to understand the life history and ecology of Dictyocaulus spp. in muskoxen.

Stipend: Graduate students will be guaranteed a minimum stipend of $25,000/year. This can be supplemented with Teaching Assistantships and scholarships

Qualifications: This research requires close interactions with northern Indigenous, industry, and government partners, proficiency in the lab and remote field locations. Background in parasitology and wildlife health desired. Candidates should be highly organized, industrious, passionate about science, and have demonstrated competence as team players.

Strong interests/competencies in wildlife health ecology, Arctic ecology and Indigenous knowledge are desired. Indigenous candidates are encouraged to apply. International students welcomed. A minimum GPA of >3.2 on a 4.0 scale is required.

Application Deadline: Applications will be reviewed immediately with positions starting September 2023. Additional positions in Arctic wildlife health ecology and surveillance may become available pending funding success.

Students will be members of our University of Calgary Wildlife Health and Ecology Research Group and the graduate specialization in Wildlife Health and Ecology. They will have opportunities to interact with the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative based at UCVM (  and the Arctic Institute of North America ( To apply: Contact Person: Dr. Susan Kutz (  & Dr. Benjamin Padilla (

Contact eMail:

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