Postdoctoral position in paleo-ecohydrological modelling

The Geotop research center (Université du Québec à Montréal) in collaboration with the University of Leeds (United Kingdom) is looking for a postdoctoral candidate for a twelve months position in Montreal (Québec, Canada) accompanied with a two months traineeship in Leeds, UK.  


Starting date from January to March 2020 (the latest) with competitive salary (Canadian $$). Travel expanses to UK will be supported by supplementary funding.


The position aims at simulating late Holocene ecohydrological dynamics in northeastern Canadian peatlands using the DigiBog model (Morris et al., 2015; Young et al., 2017). Peatlands are mainly represented by patterned fens that developed in topographic depressions of the Precambrian Shield. They are characterized by mildly minerotrophic conditions with current surface patterning similar to that observed in western Labrador, central Sweden and the aapa mires of northern Finland. In eastern Canada, those patterned fens have shown recent ecohydrologic disequilibrium expressed by a general water table rise with degradation of drier features such as strings, and expansion and coalescence of pools (Garneau et al., 2018; van Bellen et al., 2013, 2018). 

Holocene quantitative paleoclimate reconstruction using pollen, plant macrofossils and testate amoebae (water tables) have been developed to support modeling peatland water dynamics (including groundwater exchanges) in order to identify the most sensitive parameters that influenced the large-scale ecohydrological disequilibrium phenomenon in northeastern Canada over the past millennium.

A 2-D or 3-D realisation of the most recent version of the DigiBog model (Young et al., 2015) will be used to simulate the Holocene development of the study sites, and in particular their response to climate change from the Neoglacial onwards. Previous work has shown that peatlands can exhibit complex responses to changes in precipitation and temperature (Morris et al., 2015), and the model will be used to study climate change impacts at the sites but also the role of linkages with the wider catchment (e.g., surface and groundwater exchanges).


The candidate must have a sound understanding of modelling principles, from parameterisation through calibration and sensitivity analysis. We would like the postdoc to be competent in adjusting model code, rather just being a model user, so some experience of coding is also required. Ideally, the candidate would also be someone who knows something about peatlands and their representation in models. 


Interested candidates should send a cover letter with their CV (including the name of at least 3 referees) and transcripts to professor Michelle Garneau (Garneau.michelle [at] Deadline is December 15, 2019 with a starting date as soon as the paper work (including visa) is completed. Montreal is a bilingual city (French and English) and functional English is required for the position.