Cherie Westbrook



Postdoctoral Fellowship Available in Beaver Science
Using imagery from smartphones and machine learning to monitor changes in beaver-dominated landscapes

Project description: The postdoctoral position is part of a project forming an evidence base for understanding the potential for, and the potential costs/challenges of, using beavers to mitigate the impacts of climate change on stream and wetland functioning. The project is led by Dr. Cherie Westbrook; Dr. Glynnis Hood and the Miistakis Institute are co-investigators. The  geographic scope of the project spans the province of Alberta but focuses on beaver-dominated systems in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. 
Project objectives: The postdoctoral fellow will develop toolboxes to monitor changes in beaver-dominated landscapes using community-acquired imagery from smartphones and machine learning as part of the Castor Tracker community science project. Toolboxes may include algorithms to digitize and extract beaver dams, estimate beaver dam dimensionality and structural composition, extract the wet/dry shoreline from imagery, and monitor shoreline changes. These data will be the starting point for a system that helps to mitigate conflicts between humans and beavers as they arise in an effective and sustainable manner. 
The candidate must hold a Ph.D. granted within five (5) years of time of appointment (time extension for career interruptions is provided) in an environmental field (e.g., landscape ecology, geoscience, remote sensing, etc.) and have published in their field. Advanced skills in the areas of machine learning (Python), cloud computing, image analysis is required and knowledge of wetlands is preferred. Other requirements include excellent oral and written skills, the ability to work independently on a project with defined deliverables and timelines, and the ability to collaborate with diverse stakeholders on a dynamic and diverse research team. This is a 24-month position with competitive salary and benefits commiserate with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Local 40004 collective agreement. The position is open to national and international applicants. 
Location and synergy: The postdoctoral researcher will be based out of the Beaver Ecohydro Lab at University of Saskatchewan, led by Dr. Cherie Westbrook, but will engage with and potentially be co-supervised by Dr. Glynnis Hood of University of Alberta Augustana. The candidate will have opportunity to become a member of the Global Institute of Water Security, which is Canada’s #1 ranked program in water resources research. University of Saskatchewan is one of Canada’s 15-research intensive universities is located within Treaty 6 in the City of Saskatoon, which straddles the beautiful South Saskatchewan River. 
How to apply: Applicants are asked to submit in one continuous document the following: (i) A letter of motivation, describing your research interests and relevant experience (max. 1 page); (ii) Curriculum vitae including information on potential career breaks (max. 2 pages); (iii) List of publications (max. 2 pages); (iv) Digital copy of PhD certificate or equivalent (this can be in native language); and (v) Names and contact details of two referees who are willing to provide a reference letter by separate request. Please send applications to with ‘PDF in landscape ecology’ in the subject line. 

The preferred start date for this position is June 1, 2024, but is flexible.

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