We are seeking a motivated PhD student to investigate whether waste water treatment plants (WWTP) outfalls in the Metro Vancouver area are a significant source of microfibers and microplastics in the Strait of Georgia. Ultimately, this project aims to inform provincial and federal frameworks and policy for mitigating microplastics pollution at the source. The candidate will be part of an interdisciplinary team that includes biological, chemical and physical oceanographers, and civil engineers specializing in WWTP. The student’s project will be conducted in collaboration with Metro Vancouver Liquid Waste Management Services, and under the supervision of three PIs (Profs. Roger Francois, EOAS; Ryan Ziels, Civil Eng.; Maite Maldonado, EOAS) whose research focuses on chemical and biochemical processes in the marine environment and sewage treatment plants. It will include laboratory work for the development of efficient sampling equipment and microplastic extraction protocols, as well as field work to collect samples at point sources and in the water column of the Salish Sea. The candidate will also interact with physical oceanographers to integrate their data into predictive numerical model to evaluate the ultimate fate of microplastics and microfibers in the Strait of Georgia.
Ideal Applicant Profile:
The project is extremely challenging and will require determination and a positive attitude. We are looking for a self-motivated graduate student driven to pursue a career at the cutting edge of science, able to work independently, and with strong analytical skills and proven academic excellence in chemistry, biochemistry or environmental biogeochemistry.