Recruitment for Laboratory Assistant

The Queen’s Experimental Ecology and Ecotoxicology (QE3) research group is looking for two eager and detail-oriented undergraduate students to assist with quantifying microplastics in amphibians.

Project Description: Plastic pollution has become a global issue as more plastic waste has been found in oceans, on land, and in every continent of the world. Plastics are often classified by size as mega-(>1 m), macro-(2.5-100 cm), meso-(0.05-2.5 cm), and micro-(<0.05 cm) plastics. Studies looking at ingestion have found microplastics are present not only in natural ecosystems, but also in the digestive tracts of many species. However, the majority of studies have focused on the exposure and dispersal of microplastics, especially in marine environments. Few studies have examined the toxicity of microplastics to freshwater species, and fewer have looked at the toxicity to amphibians. Amphibians are highly sensitive and globally declining.There are susceptible to climate change, habitat destruction, and many types of pollution, yet we do not fully understand how they may interact with and be affected by widespread plastic pollution. The QE3 lab is interested in addressing the question of risk of microplastics to amphibians. We conducted two outdoor experiments that examined the route of microplastic uptake and developmental effects to tadpoles. Our next steps include laboratory and photo analysis to examine microplastic content in tissues, growth, and developmental rate. We are looking for two students who would be interested in helping with these exciting next steps.

Roles and Responsibilities: Successful applicants will help process samples in the QE3 clean lab to answer questions concerning the fate and effects of microplastics in tadpoles. Students will be trained to characterize microplastics using a microscope and ImageJ, and may participate in tissue digestions and density separations as required. Students will need to complete WHIMIS safety training. Students will work a total of 135hours (9 hr/week, on average) between November 15th and February 28st at a rate of $16.00 per hour.

Qualifications
• Must be a Queen’s undergraduate student
• Detail-oriented and organized
• Immediate availability
• Prior laboratory experience is an asset
• Interested in biology, toxicology, environmental sciences, and/or related fields
• Eager to learn and willing to ask questions.

To Apply
Interested students should email their cover letter, resume, and contact information for 3 references to Sam Gene (s.gene@queensu.ca). We recognize the diverse backgrounds and circumstances of the Queen’s student body. If you require accommodations please let us know. The QE3 Lab is committed to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). Those who wish to include anEDI/values statement are encouraged to do so. Applications will be reviewed as they are received.

Recruitment for PhD Student for 2022

Drs. Orihel (Queen’s) and Provencher (ECCC) jointly welcome applications for a PhD Student to study: “Biological Fate and Effects of Microplastics on Amphibians in a Whole-Lake Experiment at the IISD-Experimental Lakes Area”

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. The PhD student will join the pELAstic research team to assess the potential bioaccumulation and adverse effects of microplastics on amphibians in the whole-ecosystem experiment. The student will be responsible for characterizing the amphibian communities in the study lakes, as well as measuring a comprehensive suite of ecologically relevant toxicity endpoints in amphibians. The student also will have the freedom to develop their own mesocosm-scale experiments to answer mechanistic questions at a new outdoor ecotoxicological facility at 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. Jennifer Provencher, Research Scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada with strong expertise in plastic pollution. Applicants will be affiliated with 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 for PhD students is at least $24,800 CAD per year. At Queen’s, international PhD students can pay same tuition fees as domestic students. Preferred start date is May 1, 2022 or September 1, 2022.

Desired Qualifications & Eligibility
1. Research-based MSc degree in Biological Sciences
2. Interest and knowledge in herpetology and/or amphibian ecotoxicology
3. Experience in the field, preferably with herpetofauna and/or in aquatic ecosystems
4. Strong communication and interpersonal skills
This opportunity is open to domestic or international students.

Application Process
To apply, please send the following by email (with the exact subject line “PhD-2022-Herp”) to Dr. Diane Orihel (diane.orihel@queensu.ca) by December 10, 2021:
(a) Cover letter (1 pg.): stating the position you are applying for, explaining why you are interested in this project and in joining the Orihel and Provencher labs, and providing evidence of how you meet the desired qualifications.
(b) Curriculum vitae
(c) Transcript (most advanced university degree only; unofficial version is acceptable)
(d) Contact information for three references (include affiliations, with official work email addresses)
(e) One writing sample (e.g., thesis, technical report, and/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: qe3peccrecruitment2022

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 (diane.orihel@queensu.ca) 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

Recruitment for PhD Student for 2021

QE3 Research Group welcomes applications for a PhD Student to study “The Effects of Microplastics on Amphibians in a Whole-Lake Experiment at the IISD-Experimental Lakes Area.”

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. The PhD student will join the pELAstic research team to assess the potential adverse effects of microplastics on amphibians in the whole- ecosystem experiment. The student will be responsible for characterizing the amphibian communities in the study lakes, as well as measuring a comprehensive suite of ecologically relevant toxicity endpoints in amphibians.

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. Applicants will be affiliated with 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 for PhD students is at least $24,800 CAD per year. Preferred start date is September 1, 2021.

Essential Qualifications & Eligibility
1. Research-based MSc degree in Biological Sciences
2. Interest and knowledge in herpetology
3. Experience in the field, preferably with herpetofauna
4. Strong writing and interpersonal skills

Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this opportunity is only open to domestic students.

Application Process
To apply, please send the following by email (with the exact subject line “QE3PhD21”) to Dr. Diane Orihel (diane.orihel@queensu.ca) by April 15, 2021:
(a) Cover letter (1 pg.): stating the position you are applying for, explaining why you are interested in this project and in my research lab, and providing evidence of how you meet the desired qualifications.
(b) Curriculum vitae
(c) Transcript (most advanced university degree only)
(d) Contact information for three references (must include affiliations with official work email addresses)
(e) PDFs of your journal publications, if applicable (or MSc thesis, if you have not yet published your work)
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 encourage applications from Indigenous, Black, and other equity-seeking persons.

You are welcome to download our poster and share it on your networks: qe3phdrecruitment2021

Popular Article on the Toxicity of Treated Oilsands Wastewater to Fish

Diane Orihel and Jessie Reynolds have co-authored an article in The Conversation based on their recently published scientific article.
Learn more about the treatment process employed (titanium dioxide microparticles) and the study conducted to assess the toxicity of the treated water on fathead minnows in The Conversation or the original scientific article in FACETS.

Update on Sep 26:
Our research has now also been featured on CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks with Bob McDonald! You can read and listen to this interview through their website.