MSc or PhD position: The ecology and evolution of non-transitive competition and its effect on biodiversity

An NSERC-funded graduate student position (MSc or PhD) is available. The student will be co-supervised by Brandon Schamp of Algoma University, and Rob Laird of the University of Lethbridge; the position will be housed in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada). The focus of the project is non-transitive competition (as in the game Rock-Paper-Scissors) and its potential to promote the maintenance of biodiversity via indirect facilitation. The project will include some combination of lab work, field work, and mathematical/computer modeling -- ideally all three! Our previous empirical work has examined coexistence in plant and invertebrate communities, but we welcome applicants interested in working on other systems as well. Interested candidates should explore our web pages for details and previous publications (Rob Laird's web page: and then contact us by email (robert.laird(at), brandon.schamp(at) In your email, please include your CV and a brief statement of your research experience and interests.

Graduate Student Prospects (General)

I am always interested in hearing from enthusiastic students interested in working with me. Positions are generally dependent on the availability of funding. I encourage all prospective applicants to apply for NSERC funding, as well as an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. Keep your keyboard peeled for opportunities that may be posted on this page.

Are You Interested?

How do you know if you'd like to work with me? Here are a few suggestions on how to decide:

1. Talk to students I have worked with in the past. I can put you in touch.
2. Meet me and ask me questions...I enjoy talking about cats, politics, music, and oh yeah, science
3. Ask me hard questions about money, expectations, and weird quirks I might have. 
4. Read the methods sections of my papers. These will tell you what kind of work my lab does. Ask yourself whether this is the kind of work you'd enjoy. Note: I really don't work with anything cuddly or even cute. So if you come work with me, it's BYOFA (Bring your own fuzzy animal) or you can offer to babysit my cat.

If you contact me, I'll likely ask you to provide a few things that will help me determine whether you are the right student for me. I'll ask for a copy of your transcript (can be a photocopy or unofficial copy at first), two references that I can call to find out what kind of person/worker you are, and a sample of your writing (this can pretty much be anything, from poem to science fiction novel to actual science writing.

Algoma University (Why would you want to come here?)

Algoma University does not currently have a graduate program in biology. However, I am an adjunct professor at both Laurentian University in Sudbury, and Queen's University in Kingston. This basically means that I can host graduate students, who will then earn a graduate degree from either Laurentian or Queen's. Ask me for details about how this would work. There are interesting opportunities for collaborative work as a result of this

Sault Ste. Marie (More on why you might want to come here)

The Soo, as it is called, sits at the foot of beautiful Lake Superior on the St. Mary's River. The city has much to offer, especially to those who crave nature, and good Italian food. There are dozens of hiking trails nearby, with over 50 km of trails within the city borders at Hiawatha Conservation Area, and Lake Superior Provincial Park is well within a day's drive. Pukaskwa National Park, one of Canada's most beautiful parks, is also only a few hours away. The city is at the northern border of the mixed hardwood forest region and therefore yields a blindingly beautiful fall display, with the hills nearly bursting into flame with colour. The region is famous for its contributions to Canada's identity as driven by the work of the Group of Seven. Click here for some of Canada's most celebrated paintings of this area. The Soo is a city in the wild, with animal life thriving all around. Click here to see the 2008 bear map in Sault Ste. Marie and here to see a map of local trails.