Dynamic Biofouling Research Technician Position Available

NOTE: this position has been filled

The Wyeth Lab and Centre for Biofouling Research (CBR) at St. Francis Xavier University is seeking a research technician. Our fundamental and applied research program explores both marine biofouling (the growth of unwanted organisms on marine infrastructure) and novel low-toxicity approaches to antifouling (the mitigation of biofouling). The technician will help develop and coordinate a new dynamic testing system that incorporates water flow into our field work. Real-world conditions for marine infrastructure typically includes water movement over surfaces colonized for biofouling: ship hulls during vessel travel, aquaculture pens during tidal flow, etc. The technician will contribute to designing, prototyping and operating a dynamic test system that generates flow over novel antifouling technologies. The technician will work under the supervision of Dr. Russell Wyeth. Activities working towards completion of the project will entail working with both the supervisor and students to plan and implement field work, undertake sampling, and, once completed, prepare oral and written communications about the project. Interaction with industry members and other stakeholders will also be expected. Administrative tasks in support of the supervisor will also be involved, as well as opportunities to engage with other active research projects.

Note: position is subject to final budgetary approval once a candidate is selected  

Duties and responsibilities

• materials management
• equipment set-up and operation
• data collection and analysis
• coordination of dynamic testing research projects
• help the project lead with overall organization of research activities
• co-supervision of student researchers
• help with report and manuscript writing

Knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge and skills
• ability work independently
• meticulous organization
• time management
• effective oral and written communication
Desirable knowledge and skills:
• principles of marine biofouling
• antifouling technologies
• basic hydrodynamics
• research experience
• custom equipment construction (e.g. maker-space experience)
• reading and summarizing scientific literature
• digital photography
• image processing
• software: MS Excel, SPSS, R
• statistical analysis
• scientific presentation
• scientific writing
• small boat experience
• marine field work experience

Eligibility Requirements (based on this program)

  • Post-secondary graduates
  • No more than 30 years of age at the start of the position
  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents or persons granted refugee status in Canada*
  • Legally allowed to work according to the relevant provincial and Canadian legislation and regulations
  • Available to work for at least six months (26 weeks)

Employment Period

07/16/2022  – 02/28/2023, with the possibility of an extension


$1200 + 4% in lieu of vacation, biweekly

 Application Procedure

Send a resume/CV, unofficial transcript, and a statement of interest to rwyeth@stfx.ca

a busy Wyeth lab

Lots going on this summer in the lab and field! The lobster foraging group (Grace, Aidan, Gavin , James, and Laura) are continuing to use underwater video and audio to record how different types of lobster bait and natural prey affect foraging responses and other behaviours in American lobsters. The biofouling group (Ally, Kristyn and Kylie) are busy testing the effectiveness and validating the low toxicity of graphene-based antifouling coatings (formulated by our industry collaborators, GIT) as well as continuing to explore the relative effectiveness hourly vs daily cycles of UV-light as an antifoulant. The gastropod neuroethology group (Makayla, Kali, and Noah) are tackling three different projects with pond snails: how they move in response to fine scale odour and flow stimuli, testing electrophysiological responses to food odours in the lips, and some more work on the neuroanatomy of the cephalic sensory organs (to take advantage of our department’s brand new confocal microscope).

Kali Hudson

My name is Kali Hudson and I am from Antigonish, Nova Scotia. I’m going into my fourth year at StFX planning to graduate with an Advanced Major in Biology and a minor in Psychology. I love sharing my passion for science and I spent the last two years working as a science outreach leader with X-Chem Outreach. This is my first summer researching with the Wyeth Lab as part of the gastropod neuroethology project, where I will be using electrophysiological techniques to study the nervous system of the great pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis. This project is a perfect intersection of my interests in biology and psychology and I’m so excited to be involved!

Aidan McGowan

My name is Aidan McGowan, and I am from Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. I am going into my second year at StFX, where I am taking a BSc in Biology. This is my first summer working with the Wyeth lab, specifically assisting with the Lobster Foraging group. I am grateful to be a part of this lab, as it is extending my knowledge, as well as firsthand experience with collecting data out in the field. It has also cemented my plan in wanting to eventually become a marine biologist. I hope to continue with the Wyeth Lab throughout my BSc as it would be a great asset for my degree and future research ​opportunities.

James Hanlon

My name is James Hanlon, I grew up in Cambridge, Ontario but now live in Linwood, Nova Scotia. I am going into my second year here at StFX and will be majoring in Biology. I enjoy playing guitar and being outdoors whether it be camping or fishing I love the fresh air. I will be working on the lobster foraging project this summer with Wyeth Lab for my first foray into the world of research, excited to learn many skills and techniques. I hope doing research will help me ascertain what I’m passionate about and help guide me towards a future I enjoy. I’m delighted to be a part of Dr. Wyeth’s team this summer and hope I can work with such amazing people in the future as well.

Noah Ruscica

My name is Noah Ruscica and I’m from Aurora, Ontario and I just finished my first year at StFX pursuing an Honours in Biology with a minor in Chemistry! I am extremely excited to be working with the Wyeth Lab and cannot wait to develop and strengthen all my skills throughout this summer, and hopefully many more. As a member of the Gastropod Neuroanatomy team, I will be studying the nervous system of pond snails and performing electrophysiological experiments with the goal of gaining insight on how this organism’s behaviour is influenced by its sensory organs. With my true passion of understanding and learning more about the crossover between the central sciences, this project presents the perfect opportunity for me to develop, demonstrate and learn new and interesting skills that will benefit me in both my research and academic fields!

Kristyn Boutilier

My name is Kristyn Boutilier and I am from Antigonish, Nova Scotia. I recently graduated from StFX in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with Distinction. I’m excited to begin my second summer working with the Wyeth Lab on the biofouling project; doing research on environmentally friendly antifouling treatments for marine vessels. I love spending time outside and near the ocean, and I’m very interested in pursuing a future research career in marine biology or ecology. Working with the Wyeth lab has given me the amazing opportunity to learn and experience research in a hands-on setting, and I’m very grateful for the insight into future career paths it has provided.

Integrative Aquatic Chemosensory Biology Graduate Student Position Available

Interested in aquatic animal behaviour or integrative fields such as neuroecology or neuroethology?

Interested in building expertise at more than one level of inquiry in biology, from field studies, through behavioural experiments, neurophysiology and microscopy, to gene expression and bioinformatics?

Dr. Russell Wyeth in the Biology Department at St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) is accepting applications for an MSc student position to start January 1, 2023 (or earlier).


Biofouling Graduate Student Position Available


Are you interested in developing technology that supports coastal communities? Are you interested in sustainable solutions to global economic challenges? Would you like to collaborate with a diverse group of specialists toward a common goal?

The Canadian federal government has invested in the development of sustainable anti-biofouling technology through the provision of an NSERC Alliance Missions grant for a partnership of Atlantic Canadian academic researchers and industry. Researchers at Cape Breton University have partnered with teams at Dalhousie University, St. Francis Xavier University, and Memorial University of Newfoundland Grenfell Campus to form a multi-institutional research network to coordinate graduate training, research outcomes and deliverables, intellectual property development, and market translation of novel sustainable marine coatings. We are collectively recruiting three graduate students who will work synergistically towards our overall goals. More information on the overall partnership is here.

The fully funded graduate position in the Wyeth Lab is focused on experimental approaches for evaluating anti-biofouling activity during high-throughput and field testing of coatings and/or UV-C irradiation. The candidate will be registered in a Master of Science program at St. Francis Xavier University and will interact with the Center for Biofouling Research, but also participate in the multi- institutional team including some travel to do experimental work at Cape Breton University. The target start date for this project is January 1, 2023.

Read more: Biofouling Graduate Student Position Available

For questions regarding the Wyeth Lab graduate project research please contact Dr. Russell Wyeth at rwyeth@stfx.ca

Submitting an Application

NEW Deadline for Submissions: June 17, 2022

Please submit a cover letter and a résumé or curriculum vitae detailing your experience and any peer-reviewed publications, an unofficial transcript, a writing sample (for example, your undergraduate thesis or other relevant work), and a statement of interest indicating the project(s) that you are interested in to Andrew_Carrier@cbu.ca (note the underscore) using the subject “Graduate Opportunities”. For works with multiple authors please indicate your specific contributions.  

We invite applications from all eligible applicants, with preference given to Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Applicants from under-represented groups, including women, visible minorities, transgender individuals, those with disabilities, etc., may choose to identify themselves in their correspondence.

Outstanding, Ella Maltby!

Ella Maltby has received the St. Francis Xavier University Outstanding Graduate Research Award! Ella finished her MSc in fall 2021, and her research has been judged to be the top graduate work of the year. Here’s an excerpt from her nomination package:

Maltby’s thesis plays a crucially significant role in the science that will surround the complicated historical, societal, economic, and political issues related to Boat Harbour, its remediation, and the knock-on effects in both the fishing and forestry industries. Maltby’s first chapter surveyed contaminants at three different sites in Northumberland Strait, across three different age classes of lobsters.  Maltby found that overall, contaminant levels were low across the three sites and all age classes.  The only contaminant of concern was Arsenic, which, as has been found in a range of studies of both marine and terrestrial studies, tends to be elevated in and around Nova Scotia, linked to our underlying geology. Any future assessments of the effects of remediation of Boat Harbour will rely on Maltby’s baseline study as a comparison prior to remediation or prior to effluent release.

Maltby’s second chapter reports the first attempt at developing a behavioural bioassay for lobster.  Maltby found effects of the common contaminant Cadmium on several aspects of behaviour.  This proof of principle supports the notion that such behavioural bioassays could be used for future testing of pollutant effects on lobsters.  On the other hand, the relatively subtle behaviour effects combined with some effects on mortality, suggest that behaviours are relatively robust to the toxic effects of Cadmium at least, and thus there is a relatively narrow window in which behavioural effects could be detected before the pollutant becomes lethal. 

Congrats again Ella!