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Queen's University

Available Graduate Student Positions

Queen’s University is a leading research-intensive institution with a strong graduate program in biology. The Department of Biology provides a stimulating and dynamic research environment with an interactive and supportive atmosphere for graduate studies.

Below are listed some positions that are available in our department. This is by no means an exhaustive list so please explore the research programs of all of our faculty by visiting their individual web profiles. Up to $250 is available to help defray the travel cost of bringing potential graduate students to Queen's for an interview.

Positions available for MSc and/or PhD students.


I am looking for one or two PhD or MSc students or a post-doctoral fellow to join my research team studying adaptation in seabirds. We have two main study systems:

1)    Band-rumped storm-petrels represent an exciting case of repeated parallel evolution of sympatric allochronic races (populations separated by breeding time – basically, feathered sticklebacks). Initial studies in my lab documented the pattern of divergence. We are now investigating the mechanisms of parallel adaptation and speciation using genomic methods. The new project will entail combination of molecular data with an existing large data set to estimate heritability of various morphological and life history traits. Other projects within this study system are possible. Field work on barren tropical islands will be required.

2)    Thick-billed Murres breed throughout the north Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans, and are increasingly challenged by climate change. The need, and the potential, for a species to adapt to anthropogenic change depends on the plasticity of key traits such as breeding time and heat tolerance. I am looking for a new student to combine genetic data with an existing large dataset to study the fitness effects and heritabilities of several physiological and life history traits.  Field work on a remote arctic island will be required. This student will be co-supervised by Dr. Kyle Elliott (McGill University).

Applicants must have some background in evolutionary genetics. Practical experience with genomics and bioinformatics is an asset. The successful applicant(s) will join a dynamic group of faculty and students studying ecology and evolution at Queen’s University. Please send a resume or curriculum vitae, informal transcript, and contact information for two academic references to Dr. Vicki Friesen (address below). Acceptance is conditional on scholarship funding through either Queen’s University or an external agency. Positions are not restricted to Canadians. Please see for further information.


Dr. Vicki Friesen, Professor

Department of Biology,

4443 Biosciences, 116 Barrie Street,

Queen’s University,

Kingston, ON

K7L 3N6, Canada

Tel: 613-533-6156

Fax: 613-533-6617

Email: vlf at queensu dot ca


PhD and MSc graduate positions in Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology

Our lab is focused on understanding how terrestrial ecosystems function and why they are structured the way they are (  We investigate biogeochemical interactions between plants, herbivores, soil microbes, and soils that significantly affect ecosystem functioning.  Right now, we are interested in gaining a better understanding of the controls on carbon and nutrient cycling and their interactions in arctic tundra, temperate grassland and forest ecosystems, and have experiments and collaborations across Canada as well as in Alaska and Scandinavia.  The underlying rationale for our research is that an improved understanding of biogeochemical interactions is essential to predicting the impacts of perturbations such as changes in climate and land-use management, and therefore to developing appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies.  Here are just four of many questions that I would be interesting in developing with new graduate students:

How do the differences between nitrogen and phosphorus biogeochemistry influence the functioning of low arctic tundra ecosystems, and our understanding of how they will be affected by climate change?

How will thawing permafrost alter vegetation structure, biogeochemical cycling, and methane production in low arctic tundra ecosystems?


What is the relative importance of bottom up controls (water and/or nutrient availability) compared to top-down controls (deer herbivory) on plant community structure and productivity in old field meadow grasslands of E. Ontario?


What are the likely impacts of decreased summer precipitation on these grasslands as climate changes over the next 100 years?

Applicants should e-mail me ( with a short CV and an insightful paragraph outlining specifics of how your interests and experience would contribute to our lab research, and the kinds of questions you would like to address. [Posted 9 February 2015]






Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000