Research opportunities

There are many opportunities for doing research at the MSc and PhD levels in any of the three field of activity within our lab. Please contact prof Beland if interested.

Current funded openings:

Ph.D. student in modeling forest structure-function from lidar

I am recruiting a PhD student to join the Digital Forest Laboratory within the Faculty of Forestry, Geography and Geomatics at Laval University. Our research focuses on developing a set of physically-based phytometrical methods using LiDAR data to describe the 3D geometry of forest canopies, and integrating these descriptors into physically-based models enabling the study of links between canopy structure, reflectance and functions. The research is highly interdisciplinary and involves integrating field work, ecosystem science principles, and computer modeling. The PhD project aims specifically to (1) extend a leaf area distribution method developed for broad-leaved trees to needle-leaved using full-waveform terrestrial lidar, (2) investigate the links between 3D canopy structure and leaf biochemistry, and (3) study the influences of canopy structure on within-canopy microclimate. The modeling approach is based on earlier work on terrestrial lidar data processing and integration into process models using voxels.

Preferred Qualifications: A good background and interest in Forestry, Ecology, Biology, Geomatics, and/or Computer Science. Applicants should have an interest for intensive field work, strong skills in quantitatively processing and analyzing large volumes of data, and knowledge of scientific programming languages like MATLAB. Laval University is North America’s first French-language university, nearly all lectures and interactions are in French (language development courses are offered). Graduate students have the option of writing their theses in English.

A 19,000 $/year scholarship is available for 3 years. Further information about the position is provided by Prof Martin Béland: martin.beland@scg.ulaval.ca. Interested individuals should send a cover letter describing their research experience and publications along with a current CV and the names and contact information of three references. Review will start July 1st, the position will remain open until filled.

MSc position “Monitoring deforestation caused by palm oil production using satellite remote sensing”

A MSc position is available at the Department of Geomatics Sciences of Laval University, which offers the opportunity to explore the use of Google Earth Engine for detecting deforestation caused by palm oil plantations in Indonesia. The overall goal of the project is to develop an automated satellite remote sensing-based detection system able to generate alerts when palm oil production fields are settled in locations previously occupied by forest. The project is carried out in collaboration with a private sector partner and benefits from a unique geospatial database on palm oil producers.

This MSc research project is part of the larger research project funded by NSERC in which one other MSc student and one research assistant participate. The successful candidate will join a collaborative group conducting research in applied remote sensing. The MSc student will c ontribute to the research framework with algorithmic tool development under Google Earth Engine (GEE) and to the linkage between GEE and our private partner’s web-based geospatial database.

We are searching for a highly motivated student with a BSc in geomatics, environmental sciences, forestry, physical geography, or any related field. There is currently no field work currently planned as part of this project. The candidate should have good communication skills, a strong work ethic, and work well in a collaborative research environment. Knowledge of computer programming, basic GIS and remote sensing principles and image processing techniques is preferred. Experience with the Python language is a strong merit. Laval University is North America’s first French-language university, nearly all lectures and interactions are in French, students must therefore be sufficiently comfortable with the language (language development courses are offered). Graduate students have the option of writing their master’s or doctoral theses in English.

The position start date is flexible but is anticipated to be between January and September 2017. Full funding is available for 2 years. Further information about the position is provided by Prof Martin Béland: martin.beland@scg.ulaval.ca. Students interested in this position should send a statement of interest outlining relevant qualifications, an unofficial transcript and a CV to: Prof Martin Béland martin.beland@scg.ulaval.ca.