Recruitment for MSc or PhD Student for 2022

Drs. Orihel (Queen’s) and Rooney (U. Waterloo) jointly welcome applications for a MSc or PhD student to study “Effects of microplastic pollution on freshwater invertebrate communities.”

Project Description: The pELAstic Study is an ecosystem-scale experiment that will help us better understand the effects of microplastic pollution on boreal lakes and their wildlife. This ambitious study is led by a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary team of academics, government scientists, and NGO partners from across North America. Based at the world-renowned IISD-Experimental Lakes Area, the pELAstic Study will experimentally add microplastics to a whole-lake ecosystem and monitor the environmental fate and ecological effects of these emerging contaminants. This student will join the pELAstic research team to assess the potential adverse effects of microplastics on aquatic invertebrates in the whole- ecosystem experiment. The student will be responsible for characterizing the benthic and emerging invertebrate communities in the study lakes, as well as conducting mesocosm-scale experiments to answer mechanistic questions, at IISD-Experimental Lakes Area and/or a new outdoor ecotoxicological facility at the Queen’s University Biological Station.

Academic Environment: The successful applicants will join the QE3 Research Group directed by Dr. Diane Orihel, Assistant Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in Aquatic Ecotoxicology, and will be co-supervised by Dr. Rebecca Rooney, Associate Professor of Biology with strong expertise in community ecology. The student will be enrolled in a graduate program in the Department of Biology at Queen’s University, one of Canada’s top universities.

Funding. This research project is funded by an NSERC Plastic Science for a Cleaner Future Grant. Guaranteed stipend is a minimum of $24,300 CAD per year (MSc) and $24,800 CAD per year (PhD). At Queen’s, international PhD students can pay same tuition fees as domestic students. Preferred start date is May 1, 2022 (but September 1, 2022 is also possible).

Desired Qualifications & Eligibility
1. BSc or MSc degree in Biological Sciences
2. Interest (and preferably, knowledge) in invertebrate ecology/ecotoxicology
3. Interest (and preferably, experience) in fieldwork, especially in lake ecosystems
4. Strong communication and interpersonal skills
This opportunity is open to domestic students only for the MSc position, but applications for the PhD position is open to domestic and international students.

Application Process
To apply, please send the following by email (with the exact subject line “Position 2022-Invert”) to Dr. Orihel ( by December 1, 2021:
(a) Cover letter (1 pg.): stating the position you are applying for, explaining why you are interested in this project and joining the Orihel and Rooney labs, and providing evidence of how you meet the desired qualifications.
(b) Curriculum vitae
(c) Transcript (most advanced university degree only; unofficial copy is acceptable)
(d) Contact information for three references (include affiliations, with official work email addresses)
(e) One writing sample (e.g., lab report, thesis, or journal article)
Incomplete applications will not be considered, and only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

The QE3 Research Group strives to be an equitable, diverse, and inclusive research community where everyone is welcomed, supported, and empowered to grow to their fullest potential. We especially encourage applications from members of under-represented groups.

You are welcome to download our poster and share it on your networks: qe3uwatrecruitment2022