We are seeking 2 Graduate Student positions for September 2017 for the following two projects:

Project 1. Effect of Snow Melt from the Athabasca Oil Sands on Amphibian Health

FrogThe Canadian oil sands industry is a major emitter of air pollutants such as sulfur and nitrogen oxides, as well as toxic pollutants such as mercury and polycyclic aromatic compounds. While there is a growing body of evidence that mining and upgrading of bitumen in the Athabasca oil sands region has increased contaminant loadings to surrounding ecosystems, the ecological consequences of this pollution are poorly understood. Some species of amphibians are particularly vulnerable to atmospheric contaminants scavenged by snow, as their reproduction and early life development coincides with the timing of snow melt. In this project, we will explore potential impacts of exposure to contaminants in snow adjacent to oil sands operations on the health of amphibians during their early stages of development.
Project location: Queen’s University Biological Station ( Key collaborators: Dr. Christina Davy, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry; Dr. Jane Kirk, Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Project 2. Response of Freshwater Phytoplankton to Diluted Bitumen Spills

SpillDiluted bitumen (‘dilbit’) is a type of crude oil derived from the Canadian oil sands. It is a combination of bitumen, the heavy oil extracted from the oil sands, and a diluent such as a natural gas condensate. Transportation of dilbit through pipelines raises concerns about potential environmental impacts should a breach occur. Little toxicological data exist on the effects of dilbit on freshwater ecosystems and their associated food webs. In this project, we will simulate a dilbit spill in large mesocosms installed in a boreal lake to better understand the fate and toxicity of dilbit in freshwater ecosystems. This student will be responsible for assessing how a dilbit spill impacts the structure and function of phytoplankton communities.
Project location: IISD Experimental Lakes Area ( Key collaborators: Dr. Jules Blais, University of Ottawa; Dr. Scott Higgins, IISD-Experimental Lakes Area

Students may enroll in a Master’s program at Queen’s University in the School of Environmental Studies ( or the Department of Biology (, under the supervision of Dr. Diane Orihel ( Students will officially start their graduate programs in September 2017, but summer employment may also be possible. Interested candidates should send an application package consisting of: (i) cover letter (please explain: why do you want to do graduate work? what are your research interests? which of the above projects interests you and why? are you interested in the MES (Environmental Studies) or MSc (Biology) program?); (ii) curriculum vitae; (iii) transcripts; (iv) names and contact information of three references. Please email your complete application package to Dr. Diane Orihel ( by January 25, 2017. Short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.

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Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

It's a parts list... If I gave you the parts list for the Boeing 777 and it had 100,000 parts, I don't think you could screw it together and you certainly wouldn't understand why it flew

Eric Lander

What is true for E. coli is also true for the elephant

Jacques Monod

The world becomes full of organisms that have what it takes to become ancestors. That, in a sentence, is Darwinism

Richard Dawkins

Shall we conjecture that one and the same kind of living filaments is and has been the cause of all organic life?

Erasmus Darwin

Nature proceeds little by little from things lifeless to animal life in such a way that it's impossible to determine the line of demarcation


Cells let us walk, talk, think, make love, and realize the bath water is cold

Lorraine Lee Cudmore

In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history

Charles Darwin

It is my belief that the basic knowledge that we're providing to the world will have a profound impact on the human condition and the treatments for disease and our view of our place on the biological continuum

J. Craig Venter

Imagine a house coming together spontaneously from all the information contained in the bricks: that is how animal bodies are made

Neil Shubin

A grain in the balance will determine which individual shall live and which shall die - which variety or species shall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally become extinct

Charles Darwin

The stuff of life turned out to be not a quivering, glowing, wondrous gel but a contraption of tiny jigs, springs, hinges, rods, sheets, magnets, zippers, and trapdoors, assembled by a data tape whose information is copied, downloaded and scanned

Steven Pinker

We wish to discuss a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid. (D.N.A.). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biologic interest

Rosalind Franklin

We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget

Mary Roach

The systems approach to biology will be the dominant theme in medicine

Leroy Hood

I've always been interested in animal behavior, and I keep reading about it because it's so surprising all the time - so many things are happening around us that we neglect to look at. Part of the passion I have for biology is based on this wonderment"

Isabella Rossellini

Because all of biology is connected, one can often make a breakthrough with an organism that exaggerates a particular phenomenon, and later explore the generality

Thomas Cech

Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution

Theodosius Dobzhansky

Biology is now bigger than physics, as measured by the size of budgets, by the size of the workforce, or by the output of major discoveries; and biology is likely to remain the biggest part of science through the twenty-first century

- Freeman Dyson

Nothing can be more incorrect than the assumption one sometimes meets with, that physics has one method, chemistry another, and biology a third

- Thomas Huxley