Graduate Research Opportunities

I’m always happy to chat about research opportunities for students with interests in terrestrial hydrology and/or remote sensing. Positions are available for students at the PhD or MSc level. Several funded positions are typically available to students interested in the applied use of GIS and remote sensing for observation of soil moisture (both passive and active sensors), soil freeze thaw processes, and agricultural land management.  All projects provide excellent opportunities for combining field work, laboratory and computer analysis.  We have field sites in the arctic, within boreal forests, and in agricultural regions.  Students with backgrounds in Physical Geography or Geomatics, Physical Sciences, Engineering or Computer Sciences are encouraged to contact me to discuss available projects and funding opportunities.

Environmental Governance

I am always looking for outstanding graduate students with interests and expertise in environmental governance most generally. More narrowly, my current research funding would support: MA and PhD students focused on any of: novel governance in Canada's mining sector; Indigenous communities, energy transitions, and carbon management; and agri-environmental stewardship in highly productive landscapes.  Looking for students to begin fall 2020.

Social and Spatial Dimensions of Energy Transition

Graduate research opportunity with Kirby Calvert.  (PDF file)

Interested candidates should email Dr. Kirby Calvert at (email address). If planning to apply, please first provide Dr. Calvert with an unofficial transcript, a writing / research sample, and a resume before submitting an application to the University.

We are seeking motivated and enthusiastic applicants to join the Surface Processes Research Group in the Geography Department at University of Guelph.  At present we are recruiting for 2-3 MSc projects, involving field and lab work, and include opportunities to attend and participate in conferences.  These opportunities offer you the chance to truly get your feet wet and be the researcher in those pictures you've been looking at in lectures throughout your undergrad career.

More information about graduate opportunities and undergraduate research opportunities are listed on my webpage

Students will receive financial support following the policy in the Department of Geography. Research expenses and conference participation will also be covered.

Information on MSc program at the University of Guelph

Application information

Forest Ecology, Climate Change, Wildfire

Please contact me regarding potential graduate student opportunities ( (email address) ). I encourage applications from not only biogeographers, but also individuals with backgrounds in ecology, botany, climatology, forestry, statistics, or other related disciplines.

Political Ecology, Marine Conservation and Resource Management

I welcome inquiries from prospective graduate students (MA or PhD) who share my research interests in marine conservation governance and/or the science-policy interface in the context of conservation and environmental governance. Please contact me directly to discuss possible opportunities, including a CV/resume, unofficial transcript, writing sample, and statement of interest.

Funded MA/PhD Opportunity: Global Biodiversity Targets and Indigenous-led Conservation

I seek a student to join a long-term project examining knowledge politics in relation to global biodiversity conservation.  In particular, I am looking for a student who is interested in the intersection between Global Biodiversity Targets (especially for protected areas, “other effective area-based conservation measures”, and Indigenous knowledge) and national and local Indigenous-led conservation efforts. Applicants should have strong oral and written communication skills and hold (or be near completing) an undergraduate and/or Masters degree in Geography or a related social science (Anthropology, Political Science, International Development, Environmental Studies, etc). *I particularly welcome inquiries for this project from students who identify as Indigenous.

Students will receive full financial support.  Additional funding is also available to cover some research expenses, including research at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Fall 2020 (in China).

For more information about this opportunity please contact Dr. Noella Gray at, ideally before submitting a formal application

Ethical Consumption, International Development, Feminist Perspectives

I am actively seeking Masters students for next fall. Applicants with an interest in: ethical consumption, feminist theory, critical development studies, and/or the politics of philanthropy are encouraged to apply. Students will receive financial support following the policy in the Department of Geography. Research expenses will also be covered. Funded student research projects may include:

  1. Investigating how ethical consumption campaigns (e.g. Product RED, Toms Shoes) play out on the ground through international development projects
  2. Analyzing the use of social media by corporations and NGOs to share stories of 'development' with North American audiences
  3. Researching the gendered dynamics of sustainable consumption decisions

Please note that this MA degree in geography can also be combined with the collaborative MA in international development. Looking for students to begin fall 2020.

GIS, Geomorphometry, LiDAR Remote Sensing, Spatial Analysis, Hydrology

Prof. John Lindsay is looking for 2 new graduate students to join the Geomorphometry and Hydrogeomatics Research Group in Fall 2019. These students will take on research projects related to a broad range of geomorphometry (digital terrain analysis) and spatial hydrology topics actively studied within the GHRG. Specifically, Prof. Lindsay is looking for students to work on projects related to the processing of the newly acquired Southern Ontario LiDAR topographic data set. Students will be involved in the application and development of novel techniques for handling these data in spatial hydrological applications. GHRG students are provided advanced training in GIS and geomatics more broadly and have opportunity to gain experience with terrain mapping equipment, LiDAR data, and spatial analysis software (GIS and remote sensing). Interested students are encouraged to email Prof. Lindsay ( (email address)) with a statement of interest and experience and an unofficial transcript.

Postdoctoral Fellow/Research Associate – Geomorphometry (Digital Terrain Analysis)

The Department of Geography, Environment, and Geomatics at University of Guelph is seeking a postdoctoral fellow/research associate to join the Geomorphometry and Hydrogeomatics Research Group(GHRG) led by Dr. John Lindsay(in collaboration with Drs. Berg and Yang). The research team members, comprising graduate and undergraduate research students, have versatile expertise in the fields of geomorphometry (i.e., the quantitative analysis of digital elevation data), LiDAR remote sensing, and spatial analysis applied to hydrological and geomorphological research problems. As active members in the open-source GIS development community, the GHRG is home to the WhiteboxToolsand Whitebox GATsoftware.  

The successful candidate is expected to play an important role in lab-related research projects, including a large research study focused on predicting soil organic carbon (SOC) within southwestern Ontario’s agricultural lands using LiDAR-derived terrain data. S/he should: 1) have a research background that includes spatial analysis (GIS), remote sensing, LiDAR, and/or geomorphometry, 2) be familiar with commonly used GIS tools (e.g. ArcGIS, QGIS, Whitebox GAT, WhiteboxTools), and 3) have hands-on experience with GIS development and related programming languages. Demonstrated computer programming skills are necessary, with preferred experience using one or more of the Python, C/C++, Java, or Rust programming languages. The position may be filled as either a postdoctoral fellow or a research associate. For the postdoctoral fellow, a Ph.D. degree is required at the time of appointment, whereas, the excellent candidates holding a master degree will be considered for hire as a research associate. This is a full-time, grant-funded research position for one year with possible renewal upon fund availability and a satisfactory performance.  

The screening process will start from September 1, 2019 and continue until the position is filled. Applicants should submit a curriculum vita, a one-page statement of research philosophy and interest, and the contact information of three referees, to:

Dr. John Lindsay
Department of Geography, Environment & Geomatics
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario, Canada, N1G 2W1


Two Masters Positions Available in the People, Plants and Policy Lab at the University of Guelph, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics with Dr. Faisal Moola.

I am currently recruiting two Masters students (MA or MSc) to join my research group, that is focused on bio-cultural approaches to conservation and forest management with Indigenous Nations. I encourage interested applicants to contact me with a copy of their curriculum vitae, transcripts, statement of research interest and sample of writing. The positions are fully funded.

The successful applicant is expected to enrol at the University of Guelph for the fall 2019 term. Details on University of Guelph’s graduate program at the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics.

Research Area 1: Bio-cultural knowledge and conservation of plant communities in north-central Newfoundland

Plants have always played a significant role in the cultural fabric of Indigenous people living in Newfoundland and Labrador. Food and beverage plants provide significant nutritional benefits and the knowledge of plant medicines continue to be important in the holistic healing practices of local communities. First Nations in the boreal have developed sophisticated systems of horticulture, such as the management of fire, which has been encoded in indigenous peoples’ languages and has been passed on through stories and place names. This type of detailed information on the ecological and cultural importance of berry-producing shrubs and other ethnobotanicals is important in the management of bio-cultural resources in parks and protected areas. Ethnobotanicals also offer great potential as bio-cultural indicators for achieving ecological integrity and other objectives in the management of parks and protected areas. The project will be developed in partnership with Indigenous partners and Parks Canada. The project includes the participation of Dr. Hannah Harrison who is an environmental ethnographer and conservation social scientist with expertise in qualitative and ethnographic approaches to biosocial research on changing land and waterscapes.

Potential Projects:

  1. To investigate the importance of heathland and other plants as bio-cultural resources in north-central Newfoundland.
  2. To investigate the role of fire, insect outbreak and other types of disturbance on plants that are of particular cultural significance to First Nations and local communities in and around Terra Nova National Park, Newfoundland.
  3. To integrate traditional ecological knowledge with western science in the development of management activities that can be employed to promote bio-cultural species, such as enhancing berry yields for wildlife and local visitors to Terra Nova National Park.

Research Area 2: Exploring Indigenous governance for the stewardship of cultural keystone plants in managed forests

Forest management practices, such as logging and forest herbicides, can adversely impact plants that are important to Indigenous Nations as food, medicine and for other purposes.  Such plants are typically not considered to be at risk by scientific and government bodies and thus receive minimal regulatory protection in forest policy. In the absence of state stewardship, Indigenous peoples are increasingly exerting their own forms of conservation and land governance including bans on forest herbicides, the establishment of protected reserves for red cedar, the resurgence of traditional fire practices, and other methods of Indigenous land stewardship. This project is focused on understanding the impacts of forest management on plants that are important to Indigenous Peoples and for exploring Indigenous systems of governance and forest management. The project will be developed in partnership with Indigenous partners and potentially will happen in Nova Scotia.

Potential Projects:

  1. To understand the impacts of forest management on cultural keystone and other plants important to Indigenous peoples in Canada.
  2. To explore systems of Indigenous governance for the stewardship of berry patches and other important bio-cultural elements in managed forests
  3. To examine how Indigenous bio-cultural knowledge and objectives can be incorporated into colonial systems of forest management, including forest planning and management.
  4. To investigate how Indigenous-led forestry could be done differently to better protect bio-cultural resources, such as berry resources.

Digital Environmental Governance

I am recruiting a Master's student with interests in agri-environmental stewardship, geospatial technology, and science-policy interfaces, to start in Fall 2019. The student will complete a social science research project on ag data governance and use, conducting interviews with and surveying stakeholders including crop advisors, government agency staff, and representatives of farmers groups. The thesis will be developed alongside collaborators who are creating a soil carbon accounting and profit mapping tool (see Capmourteres et al. 2018) that will require assessing existing/best practices for farm-level data management and how users might actually employ such information in their decision-making. The research is funded by the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph via the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

The Master’s student will gain experience with semi-structured interview and Q survey methods, as well as cartographic analysis (depending on interest and qualifications). A key component of the research will involve knowledge mobilization alongside collaborators - an opportunity for the student to enhance their project management and public communication skills.

Prospective applicants should contact me via email - (email address) - and forward an unofficial transcript, resume or CV, and a statement outlining their interests as they relate to the project description above. [pdf description]