Galpern Lab @ Faculty of Environmental Design | University of Calgary

Positions available

MSc /PhD opportunity in Landscape ecology and beneficial arthropods in Canadian Prairie agroecosystems (1 or 2 positions) [OPEN]

The Galpern Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary is seeking students interested in working at the interface of habitat conservation, insect ecology and prairie agriculture. We will consider both MSc and PhD applicants. Our lab is animated by the possibility that there could be “win-wins” between habitat conservation and agricultural objectives in prairie croplands, and that these might be achieved through the strategic retention of non-farmed spaces such as wetlands, shelterbelts and forest patches. The student will join a project which aims to: (1) understand if proximity to non-farmed spaces can improve crop yields; and, (2) explore the role of beneficial arthropods (such as bees, beetles and spiders) as a mechanism for this ecosystem service delivery.  There will be considerable freedom in defining a project within this context. Our lab has a strong quantitative emphasis, and applicants should demonstrate preparedness to learn and work with advanced statistical techniques, as well as enthusiasm for insect taxonomy and summer field work under adverse conditions.  Students will receive a stipend of $23,000/yr for each of two years (MSc) or four years (PhD), with support coming from teaching assistantships and research funds. If you are interested in applying, please email Paul Galpern ( a short cover letter underlining your interest and capacity to succeed at this work, a CV, a sample of independent written work, and an unofficial transcript from your undergraduate institution. Applications will be reviewed as they are received in order to meet a May 1st application deadline for a September 2019 start date.

 Post-doctoral position available to study Landscape ecology and biodiversity in Canadian Prairie agroecosystems [SECOND POSITION AVAILABLE]

We have a two-year postdoctoral position to support our investigation of ecosystem service delivery in Canada’s Prairies. Our lab ( is animated by recent findings that land sharing practices in agricultural landscapes have the potential to improve both crop yields and conservation outcomes, representing a “win-win” for biodiversity and farmers. We are also part of a network of researchers assessing the status of biodiversity and services provided by arthropods and birds across this vast agricultural region.

As a postdoctoral scholar joining this team, you will be capable of applying your computational and analytics skills to several “big” spatial data sets that we have collected. These include precision agricultural yield data and an occurrence database for pollinators and other beneficial arthropods. Ideally your research background will be in a related discipline such as landscape ecology, quantitative ecology, environmental science, remote sensing, or spatial statistics. However, we will also consider candidates with data science skills as applied to any discipline who are motivated to pursue ecological, agricultural and spatial questions. Strong programming skills (e.g. in R) and successful application of advanced statistical models are key qualifications. Collegiality and evidence of strong written and oral communication skills are also essential. Familiarity with Bayesian modelling (e.g. in Stan or JAGS), GIS, and remote sensing methods are assets, but not requirements.

Apply to PAUL GALPERN ( Send a cover letter expressing: (1) qualifications; and, (2) preparedness to begin this appointment as soon as possible but no later than August 31st, 2019. Please also forward: (3) a CV; and (4) one or more research products providing evidence of your abilities in written English communication and advanced statistical modelling. If possible, please combine all documents into a single PDF and include as an email attachment. Candidates selected for interview will be asked to provide the names and contact information for two academic references.

We will begin to review applications on March 1st, 2019, but will continue to accept applications until the position is filled. The stipend for this two year position ($55,000 CAD/yr + benefits) and is conditional on receiving a Mitacs Accelerate with matching funding coming from an industrial sponsor. An application to Mitacs Accelerate will be made after a top candidate is identified, and this has a good likelihood of success given the presence of eligible matching funding. The position will require some travel to interact and work with the industrial sponsor. Applications from both international candidates and Canadian citizens are encouraged. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact Paul!

The University of Calgary is Canada’s leading next-generation university – a living, growing and youthful institution that embraces change and opportunity with a can-do attitude. Located in the nation’s most enterprising city, the university is making tremendous progress on its Eyes High journey to be recognized as one of Canada’s top five research universities, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community it both serves and leads. The University of Calgary inspires and supports discovery, creativity and innovation across all disciplines.

PhD position available to study pollinator ecology in Canada [CLOSED]

This is a renewed search for a position advertised last fall. We are seeking a graduate student to begin work on a PhD in September 2018, to join the labs of Paul Galpern and Ralph Cartar at the University of Calgary, in a biology department with considerable expertise in pollination and pollinator ecology, and in beneficial insects.

This federally funded research program brings together researchers in applied mathematics, optimization, computer science, and ecology. The project will involve landscape-scale study of wild-nesting bumble bee pollinators at field locations in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia. The research will involve consideration of landscape context, off-crop foraging alternatives, distance-based foraging, foraging competitors, and reproductive success of bumble bee colonies in the context of wild bumble bees providing ecosystem pollination services to blueberries. It integrates landscape ecology, behavioural ecology, and chemical ecology, and spans basic and applied ecology.

Calgary is Canada’s fourth largest city situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The University of Calgary is Canada’s leading next-generation university – a living, growing and youthful institution that embraces change and opportunity with a can-do attitude. Located in the nation’s most enterprising city, the university is grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community it both serves and leads. The University of Calgary inspires and supports discovery, creativity and innovation across all disciplines. For more information, visit

Applications are welcome immediately, with the search closing on 01 April 2018.  But please get in CVs as soon as possible.

To apply, please email a statement of interest, a CV: Paul Galpern <> or Ralph Cartar <>. Candidates selected for interview will be asked to provide the names of two referees who can speak to their academic and/or research accomplishments.

Pollinator landscape ecology field and lab assistants [CLOSED]


(April 5th, 2016) Would you like to spend your summer in the field and the lab? Interested in bees? Landscape ecology? Entomology? Sampling in or near agricultural fields? Making occasional sampling expeditions to alpine meadows?

The ECOLOGICS LAB has paid positions for up to THREE spring/summer research assistants.

Two positions will run from May to the end of August, and a third from late June to late August. Start date, end date, working hours and time off can be somewhat flexible. Most field work will involve day trips from Calgary.


  • Willingness to work alone or in groups in agricultural locations
  • Willingness to work full days out-of-doors in remote places and in adverse weather
  • Enthusiasm for identifying insects and plants
  • Advanced class 5 driver’s license is an asset (not GDL)
  • Undergraduate courses in ecology or entomology also an asset

Please send a resume to Paul Galpern ( and underline your academic preparation and experience relevant to this position in the accompanying email.

Postdoctoral position in bee informatics [CLOSED]

(September 15th, 2015)  Effective conservation of pollination services is increasingly urgent work that must occur at both national and regional levels. We have an exceptional opportunity for a postdoctoral scholar to investigate broad-scale influences on pollinator abundance and distribution. The project, based in the lab of Dr. Paul Galpern at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada (, will build on our recent “big bee data” work that demonstrated climate change impacts to bumble bees occurring in parallel across two continents (Kerr, Pindar, Galpern, et al., 2015; Science 349:177-180).  You will join a team of researchers working at the University of Calgary and the University of Ottawa.

Research at these large spatial scales is a data intensive endeavour. We seek a candidate capable of applying their computational and analytics skills to ecological, remote sensing, and other large data sets.  The successful candidate will bring strong programming skills (e.g. in R), and experience using GIS and a variety of statistical techniques.  Qualified candidates with research backgrounds in ecology, geography or in data science as applied to any discipline are welcome to apply. Collegiality and strong written and oral communication skills are essential.

Apply to PAUL GALPERN ( Send a cover letter expressing: (1) qualifications; (2) preparedness to begin this appointment as soon as possible but no later than January 18th, 2016; (3) a thorough CV; and, (4) contact information for three academic references. Applicants with backgrounds outside ecology should also explain why they feel prepared to contribute to ecological research. The search will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.  The stipend for this two year position ($50,000 CAD/yr + benefits) is to be supported by the University of Calgary’s prestigious Eyes High Postdoctoral Funding (  Candidates must commence the appointment within five years of being awarded their PhD degree. Applications from both international candidates and Canadian citizens are eligible.

PhD and Master’s research opportunity in pollinator conservation [CLOSED]

[UPDATE NOVEMBER 2015:  Still seeking PhD or MSc student for position in landscape genetics/molecular ecology]

(May 1, 2015) A landscape ecology research group based at the University of Calgary is seeking up to THREE PhD or Master’s candidates to be supervised by Paul Galpern.  One of these positions will be jointly supervised by Jeremy Kerr (Biology, University of Ottawa).

Stipend support will be based on a combination of teaching assistantships and research assistantships (supported in part by NSERC and provincial agencies).  We seek applicants that are motivated, independent as well as friendly and supportive.  Strong quantitative skills, especially with R and with geographic information systems (GIS), a track record of research success from earlier academic efforts, and excellent written and spoken language skills are important.

Potential graduate students are invited to contribute to our research on the mechanisms of pollinator decline and resilience by joining one of the following active projects:

1.  LANDSCAPE GENETICS FOR POLLINATORS IN ALPINE ENVIRONMENTS. We aim to assess how reduced landscape connectivity has affected bumble bee dispersal in fragmented landscapes, and to predict the resilience of this important group of pollinators to changing climatic conditions. Some laboratory experience in molecular genetics is an asset.

2. LANDSCAPE INFLUENCES ON POLLINATION SERVICES IN PRAIRIE AGROECOSYSTEMS.  We are studying how landscape context may influence the wild pollination services provided by bumble bees using a large area field experiment in a canola-dominated agroecosystem.  Experience working with landscape ecological data is an asset.  Field work starts this summer.

3.  RECENT CHANGES IN POLLINATOR DISTRIBUTION AT CONTINENTAL SCALES.  This is an exceptional opportunity in informatics for a PhD candidate with experience coding in R, Python, or similar programming languages.  We combine geospatial and long-term ecological databases to examine trends in pollinator communities, and to identify potential drivers of these trends.  Current efforts consider neonicotinoid use and land use as mechanisms, drawing on a century of bumble bee observations.

Interested applicants should forward a cover letter, an up-to-date CV, and the names and contact information for 3 referees to with cc to Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until filled.  More information about these projects can be found at

Modelling landscape connectivity for caribou in Canada [CLOSED]

(May 1, 2015) A position is available for a PhD or Masters student interested in modelling landscape connectivity in forested environments. Boreal woodland caribou are a species-at-risk in Canada, and provincial jurisdictions are faced with the challenging task of planning for this species while maintaining the industrial, recreational and conservation values of the boreal forest landscape. Network models describing the arrangement and connectivity of habitat for caribou can be powerful tools to achieve these ends: they can help us examine the amount, the quality and the connectivity of habitat in an integrated framework, and enable us to predict how proposed changes to land use might impact populations.

We are seeking a student to join our landscape ecology and informatics lab ( at the Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada to take the lead on a caribou landscape connectivity project. In this role, you will consult with wildlife managers, analyze spatial data, and build network models of habitat. A major goal of this work will be the development of tools that are helpful for decision-support. In addition to making applied contributions in landscape ecology, your task will also be a design exercise with the goal of creating and evaluating tools that are practical, accessible and informative for end users in wildlife management and landscape planning.

Applicants from any educational background are welcome, although those with degrees in ecology or geography are particularly encouraged. Please email in PDF: (1) a CV; (2) a short cover letter in which you mention your GPA, discuss your research goals, and explain how these intersect with landscape connectivity research; (3) the names and contact information for two academic referees; and (4) a sample of your best written work.

A good grasp of GIS and the R programming language will be essential to succeed in this task. In your application please discuss your experience using these software packages. If you do not have relevant experience, do not be discouraged. Rather, demonstrate convincingly that you are likely to be successful at learning how to use these tools, given appropriate training opportunities.

Don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Paul Galpern, Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary for more information. Please submit your application to him by email ( Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.  Stipend support is available.


Summer research assistant in urban walkability [CLOSED]

(April 14, 2015) Our project The student walkshed aims to study walkability in Calgary using GPS data crowdsourced from students’ smartphones.  We are a team of researchers at EVDS (Paul Galpern, Francisco Alaniz Uribe and Mark Lindquist) and are seeking a Research Assistant who will take a lead role in the coordination and administration of this project.

Duties will include:

  • Preparation and administration of online surveys
  • Recruitment of student participants
  • Communication of project goals to participants
  • Assisting participants to contribute their spatial data
  • Management and visualization of spatial data


  • Interest or experience in planning for human mobility and walkability in urban environments
  •  Competent use of ArcGIS for mapping and visualizing spatial data
  • Excellent written and spoken English
  • Experience interacting with the public and handling confidential information

Project period:
Approximately 250 hours; May to August; Start date, end date, and schedule negotiable.

To apply:
Please send a CV and cover letter emphasizing your fit for the position to Paul Galpern before April 22nd at 5:00pm.  See for more on the project.  Don’t hesitate to contact Paul for more information about the position or the project.



FEB 5/17 We've re-opened our search for a PhD student to work on bumble bees in Fraser Valley, BC blueberry fields. Co-supervised with Ralph Cartar here at University of Calgary. See posting here for more information.

OCT 13/07 We're recruiting a PhD student to work on bumble bees in Fraser Valley, BC blueberry fields. Co-supervised with Ralph Cartar here at University of Calgary. See posting here for more information.

JUL 17/17 University of Calgary is using our bumble bee and climate change work as part of a national advertising campaign. See this poster snapped as we sped by on Calgary Transit. Our part of the campaign can be found here

JUN 13/17: Summer is here, and we have started sampling in canola fields and in ditches in the Calgary area, near Duchess, and near Claresholm, Alberta. Big thanks to our grower-cooperators who allow us into their fields to sample insects and measure yield. And also to Canola Council of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute and Alberta Conservation Association whose ongoing support has enabled us to expand this prairie cropland ecosystem services and conservation program.

JUN 8/17: We have been in the news. Here our beneficial insect project coordinator Jess Vickruck and Canola Council agronomist Gregory Sekulic talk to Grainews about our collaborative prairie research project. University of Calgary also reported recently on our bee work, here.
APR 1/17: Our field program is building. We have FOUR paid positions this summer for our various Prairie beneficial insect projects. Please contact Jess Vickruck if you are interested in applying. [Thank you for your interest. All positions are now filled. Closed.]

APR 5/16: We have THREE paid positions for field/lab assistants on our pollinator landscape ecology projects. See here for more information. Apply soon. [Thanks to those who applied. Now closed.]

DEC 14/15: It's always Bombus rufocinctus! We are looking for undergraduate volunteers starting in the new year to help us identify bumble bees from this summer's field collection. 1picrufo The infamous and abundant rufocinctus is anything but red-belted as the latin scholars among you have already suggested. Rather, it is a brilliant mimic with thirteen different colour pattern morphs that make our game of identifying prairie bumble bees especially fun. Fortunately we have a secret up our sleeve. Come join the rufocinctus gang and find out how to tell a real rufo (err--we think). Thanks to artist and bee ecologist Riley Waytes for our mascot.

OCT 26/15: University of Calgary tweets about our bumble bee climate change study as one of five "research advances that could change our world." There's always hope!

SEP 15/15: Very pleased to be advertising for a University of Calgary Eyes High Postdoctoral Scholar in pollinator informatics--or is that bee-o-informatics? See the job posting here.

JULY 16/15: We're quite excited about our team's new bumble bee climate change study just out in Science (Kerr, Pindar, Galpern, et al., 2015). The findings were covered by over 400 media outlets around the world (here's a list), with stories appearing in print, on the web, on the radio, in streaming video, on several Canadian TV networks, and in a few languages.

JULY 10/15: Here's University of Calgary's coverage of the main findings of our new bumble bee climate change study in Science.

MAY 1/15: We are advertising for several graduate positions in pollinator conservation and in landscape modelling (for caribou). Please read the ads here. Applications accepted immediately until filled. Start dates as early as Fall 2015 are possible.

APR 14/15 We are advertising for TWO summer field assistants to help with our landscape-scale pollinator field experiment. Please email Paul Galpern to inquire. UPDATE: These positions have now been filled.

APR 14/15 We are advertising for a summer research assistant to take a lead role in our walkshed project. Please see the job ad here. UPDATE: This position has now been filled.

FEB 1/15: We are gearing up for our summer pollinator field experiment in the Calgary area where we will look at how landscape context has influenced insect pollinators. We are also looking for volunteers to help us collect samples from insect traps.

DEC 1/14 We're looking for graduate students. Get in touch if you have any overlapping interests!

AUG 16/14: MEMGENE, new software for detecting, visualizing and conducting inference on spatial genetic data is now published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution. The package is available on CRAN. Helpful for landscape genetics!