Postdoctoral fellowship
MITACS-Merinov-UQAR
Postdoctoral fellowship in population genetics – seaweed aquaculture
Project: Population genetics of sugar kelp of the Canadian Atlantic Coast
Project details
Seaweed aquaculture is increasing worldwide including in the Atlantic Canadian coast, with Quebec and
Nova Scotia being pioneers of this new green economy. More than increasing CO2 sequestration, seaweed
have several potential high values-added products, ranging from food for human consumption, extracts
for nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals, ingredients for natural health supplements, as well as agricultural
fertilizers. Within the Canadian East coast, farming seaweed is a new industry and still in its infancy. The
most commonly grown seaweed is the sugar kelp Saccharina latissima and there are multiple knowledge
gaps regarding the future of this economy especially with regards to climate change.
Knowledge gaps include sugar kelp ecology and morphology relationships with environmental conditions
and mechanisms behind performance for cultivation, as well as origin of the seeds. Due to regulation, all
seeds for cultivation must be from local broodstock. However, some strains can be more performant than
others and few is known about geographic repartition of sugar kelp populations and gene flow (SNP
DArtSeq). This postdoctoral fellowship proposal will focus on defining the genetic diversity and population
limits within sites located in various parts of Québec and Nova Scotia (and potentially larger in Atlantic) as
well as potential gene flow. Genetics along environmental conditions will also help in understanding the
morphotype observed between regions.
The academic partner for this fellowship will be with the professor France Dufresne (UQAR). Pr Dufresne
has an extensive knowledge in evolutionary biology and has worked on sugar kelp genotyping. Moreover,
this project is integrated in a bigger collaborative program with NRC and Merinov within the Ocean
supercluster. The larger program aims to identify morphotype and potential of performance of some
population and / or strains for cultivation in the context of climate change and develop a seed bank.
Defining population and diversity genetics will provide important insights in the scope of the larger project.
Mandate
The postdoctoral fellow will be responsible for the sampling and phenotypic, genetic and nutritional
analyzes of seaweeds as well as the collection of environmental data. The mandate also includes the
genetic analysis of populations and the assessment of the relationship between these populations and
abiotic / phenotypic factors. The postdoctoral fellow will be under the supervision of Professor France
Dufresne from UQAR and industrial researcher Flora Salvo from Merinov. It is expected scientific
publications in peer reviewed journal.

Qualifications
• PhD in population genetic, marine biology or molecular biology, evolutionary biology.
• Expertise in project management and coordination
• Coastal field experience (asset)
• Genetic extraction and analysis, genotyping and genomic understanding
• Bioinformatic
• Population genetic analysis
• Data management
• Multivariate analysis
• Scientific writing skills
• French and English speaking (asset)
Employment
• Fulltime, Rimouski and Gaspésie
• 18 months
• Travel within and between Nova Scotia and Québec
• Paid internship
Contact information
Flora Salvo
Flora.salvo@merinov.ca
418 361 2639
To apply

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