International PhD School
2 - 12 July 2019, Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik (Nunavik, Canada)
Under the leadership of the Sentinel North program at Université Laval (Quebec City, Canada), the International PhD School (IPS) is a unique transdisciplinary training program aiming to understand the key role of microbiomes in shaping the structure and functioning of the Arctic, including their impacts on food webs, ecosystem services, and human health.
Taking place at the Centre for Northern Studies (CEN) research station in Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik (Nunavik, Canada) on the eastern shore of the Hudson Bay (55°16’N, 77° 45’ W), the school will provide participants with an integrative, hands-on experience spanning a wide range of disciplines such as Arctic microbiology and molecular ecology, biogeochemistry, complex system networks, environmental optics/photonics, remote sensing and human health.
The school will be centered on the themes detailed below, with a multifaceted approach including lectures, case studies and hands-on experiences supervised by renowned researchers from various disciplines. It will also include an introduction to the emerging field of environmental optics/photonics as a means to improve our understanding of the northern environment and its impact on human health.
Arctic microbiomes and ecosystems
- Microbial diversity: community structure and function
- Polar ecosystems: from ice and land to the oceans
- Microbial ecosystem services
Microbiome responses to change
- Evolutionary change
- Responses to climate change
- Resilience and ecosystem adaptability
- Extreme life in the past, present and beyond Earth
Human health and microbiomes
- Microbiomes and nutrition
- Food and water security
- Contaminants and bioremediation
- Pathogens and diseases
- The search for new biomolecules
Field and lab work
- Field excursions to sample microbiomes in various habitats: methane-producing thaw lakes; microbial plankton in the river and sea; benthic biofilms; biofilms on fish; forest-tundra soils.
- DNA sequencing
- Data analysis of environmental microbiomes
The school will foster the development of transversal skills such as networking and international scientific collaboration, ethics in northern research, as well as communication and planning in a transdisciplinary research context.
During the school and over the course of the following weeks, participants will be invited to contribute actively to the analysis of the data, which could potentially lead to the publication of a joint paper.
Prior to the course, the students should plan some time for assigned reading, which will be made available 6 weeks prior to the beginning of the school, and seminar preparation (approximately 1 week of full-time study).
Who should apply
Up to 20 international graduate students with various backgrounds will be selected. The target audience are PhD students, but in some cases, postdoctoral fellows or M.Sc. students (or equivalent) with relevant professional qualifications may also apply.
Note: Due to the practical and hands-on approach of fieldwork in northern environment, all applicants should be in reasonably good physical condition, and be equipped/dressed accordingly. Details will be provided to selected participants.