PhD position, coastal geoecology - Québec City, Canada

A PhD position is being offered by the newly established Research Chair in Coastal Ecosystems and Port, Industrial and Maritime Activities, at Université Laval, Québec City, Canada.


This three-year position will be with the Department of Geography. An internship at the Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski (ISMER, Rimouski) is also planned over the course of the PhD program.

The start date can be September 2020, January 2021 or May 2021.


The newly established Research Chair in Coastal Ecosystems and Port, Industrial and Maritime Activities is a partnership between Université Laval, INREST (the Northern Institute for Research in Environment and Occupational Health and Safety) and the Port of Sept-Îles.

With the goal of insuring sustainable practices and management of anthropized coastal environments, the Chair aims to conduct fundamental research that will improve knowledge on the structure and function of ecosystems located in high-use industrial port zones, specifically within the Bay of Sept-Îles and other similar locations along the St-Lawrence Estuary. Bioindicators of human impacts on coastal ecosystem dynamics in the context of global change will be developed to quantify change at various timescales (decades to centuries) using sediment archives from the Bay.

Doctoral project

Environmental dynamics in the Bay of Sept-Îles during the late Holocene

Using the paleo approach, the student will conduct multi-proxy analyses of sediment cores taken in the Bay of Sept-Îles (BSI) with the goal of establishing baseline conditions and quantitatively inferring past environmental variation in the region over the course of the last few centuries. Biological (diatom and pigments) and sedimentological analyses of the sediment cores will be conducted simultaneously. We anticipate that the analyses will allow us to detect the transition between natural conditions and anthropogenically-induced ecosystem changes in the BSI and to quantify them. Results will form the basis of environmental assessment in this northern, high-use coastal area where urban, port, industrial and tourism activities interact.

The student recruited as part of this PhD project will have the opportunity to participate in at least one oceanographic campaign in the St. Lawrence Estuary aboard the R/V Coriolis II, as well as attending national and international scientific meetings.

This project will be supervised by Prof. Émilie Saulnier-Talbot at Université Laval in Québec City and conducted in collaboration with Prof. Jean-Carlos Montero-Serrano of the Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR), who will act as co-supervisor.


The candidate should hold an MSc degree in Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Oceanography, Geology, Geochemistry, or any related discipline at the time of appointment.

Having experience in the study of microfossils, pigments, sedimentology, paleoclimatology, and mineralogy will be considered an advantage.

Applicants must have excellent communication skills in English, both written and oral, and should have a strong desire for interdisciplinary work and research, as well as intercultural experiences.

As all lectures are given in French at Université Laval, a working knowledge of the language is necessary. The successful applicant is expected to acquire it rapidly if they do not possess it on arrival. French as a second language courses are provided at the University’s École de langues.

We are committed to equality and respect and we offer exciting research projects in well-equipped laboratories using state-of-the-art technologies, a communicative atmosphere within an excellent scientific network (the student will be a member of Québec-Océan). We also offer mutual exchange with a broad range of institutions and participation in international and national conferences and workshops.


Please submit your application (in English or French), consisting of one pdf-document, via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the following subject line: Application for PhD position in coastal geoecology.

The pdf-document should contain the following:

- A cover letter including motivation and research interests for the chosen thesis topic
- Curriculum Vitae (CV), including publications (if any)
- Copy of Bachelor and Master (or equivalent) certificates, title and abstract of your thesis and copy of BSc and MSc transcript (list of courses/lectures)
- Contact details of two referees (academic teachers/supervisors) willing to provide letters of recommendation. We will directly contact the referees of shortlisted candidates.
- Any additional information which you consider relevant and important for your application (e.g. special circumstances that have affected your productivity).

Interviews with shortlisted candidates will be held via video conference. Review of applications will begin now and continue until the position is filled.

Further information

Questions about the project can be emailed to Prof. Émilie Saulnier-Talbot: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We welcome applications from all qualified students. We encourage women, First Nations, Métis, Inuit, members of visible or cultural minorities, LGBTQ and all who may contribute to further diversification of research approaches, ideas and group dynamics.

More information on admissions at Université Laval and on the university itself is available here: