PhD in permafrost thaw and its impacts on communities in the Western Arctic.

Posted: October 16, 2020
Anticipated start:  January 2021 or September 2021
Supervisory team: Dr. Trevor Lantz

The Arctic Landscape Ecology Lab at the University of Victoria is seeking a PhD student to join a team of researchers exploring permafrost thaw and its impacts on communities in the Western Arctic.

Permafrost landscapes are undergoing changes that affect ecosystems, local livelihoods, and infrastructure. To understand the impacts of these changes and place them in a longer-term context we are collaborating with land users from Inuvialuit and Gwich’in communities. Specific objectives include documenting: 1) traditional knowledge related to permafrost, 2) the historical range of variation in permafrost conditions, and 3) local observations of anomalous permafrost conditions. The student that takes on this PhD project will also contribute to the development of an observer-driven permafrost monitoring program.

Interested applicants should hold a graduate degree (MA/MSc) in indigenous studies, anthropology, geography, or related field, and have experience conducting and analysing semi-structured interviews. Applicants must be self-motivated, have strong communication skills, the ability to manage multiple tasks, and be willing to travel to remote locations, potentially for extended periods. Preference will be given to students with previous experience in northern communities and a background in GIS.

Stipend funding of $21,000 per year is guaranteed for four years and support for travel to communities in the Western Canadian Arctic is also in place.

This research project is part of NSERC PermafrostNet, a multi-sectorial research network of twelve Canadian universities and more than 40 partner organisations. As a member of the network, the successful applicant will have opportunities to engage with government (provincial, federal, indigenous), industry, and international partners, as well as graduate students and researchers from across Canada.  

The Arctic Landscape Ecology Lab and NSERC PermafrostNet are strongly committed to fostering diversity as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to further diversification including, but not limited to women; visible minorities; First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples; persons with disabilities; and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

The student will be supervised by Dr. Trevor Lantz and based in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. To apply, please email a summary of your qualifications and interest in this project, along with a CV, and unofficial transcripts to Dr. Trevor Lantz ( The deadline for applications is November 2, 2020.