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Research Opportunities in the Doucet Lab

There are several means by which students can gain research experience in my lab. Please follow the links below to learn about different kinds of research opportunities that may be available.

Graduate Students
Honours Thesis Students
Undergraduate Research Volunteers, Work-Study, NSERC USRA

Graduate Students
Graduate Positions
My research focuses on behavioural and evolutionary ecology, with a particular emphasis on visual communication in birds. One of my main areas of interest is the form and function of elaborate plumage coloration. If, after reading the information below, you are interested in joining my lab, please send me an email: sdoucet AT uwindsor DOT ca. Include a description of your research interests, a recent CV, and a copy of your transcripts (unofficial print-screen version is fine). Preference will be given to students with prior research experience, students with major external scholarships (e.g., NSERC, OGS), and/or students with a demonstrated potential to earn these scholarships. NSERC  deadlines are in October and OGS deadlines are in late October or early November. If you are not familiar with these programs and are interested in joining my lab, I would be happy to provide guidance with the application process.

Project development
Most projects in my lab involve both field work and laboratory work. I am currently seeking to fill graduate positions for ongoing research projects in Costa Rica and Canada. I encourage students to develop projects based on their own interests within the framework of larger project goals and of the general research focus in my lab. I have all of the necessary spectrometry equipment for detailed studies of animal coloration patterns. I also have equipment available for radiotelemetry and GPS data collection of animal movement patterns. In the department, I have access to equipment for molecular analyses including microsatellite paternity analyses, analyses of genetic relatedness, molecular sex assignment, and sequencing. 

Funding
Graduate students admitted to the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor are guaranteed a minimum salary stipend. Students stipends are funded either through external scholarships or through a combination of wages earned by serving as a teaching assistant and salary paid by the student's advisor. Students with NSERC scholarships are eligible for full tuition waivers, as are students with an average of A- or higher. These perks, in combination with the modest cost of living in Windsor, enable graduate students here to live quite comfortably.

I will provide research funding for students working in association with one of my major projects. However, I expect all graduate students in my lab to apply for all scholarships and grants for which they are eligible. This not only reduces the demand on my research grants, but also provides students with valuable experience in grant writing. Grants and scholarships are also excellent additions to student CV's.

What to expect
I take an active role advising my graduate students. I meet with each student on a regular basis. I also hold lab meetings on a weekly basis. During these meetings, we brainstorm project ideas and project design, read and discuss each others' manuscripts and grant proposals, or comment on papers in the current literature. Students in my lab can expect to gain experience in all aspects of research including project development, field data collection, laboratory data collection, data analysis and interpretation, and scientific writing. I strongly encourage my students to submit their findings for publication in scientific journals and I provide assistance with manuscript preparation and all other components of research projects. I also encourage students to attend regional, national, and international conferences such as the Ontario Ecology and Ethology Colloquium, the Animal Behaviour Society Meetings, the American Ornithologists' Union Meetings, and meetings of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology. We frequently socialize as a lab group over pints at the Grad Club, during bird-watching outings, or at parties we host in honour of lab visitors or visiting seminar speakers. I expect my students to be enthusiastic about research, to be dedicated to their research projects, to work hard, and to actively participate in lab activities.

The University of Windsor
The University of Windsor is located in southern Ontario, Canada. It is a major comprehensive university and an important research institution. The Department of Biological Sciences comprises an active group of scientists with diverse research interests. It is a rapidly growing departement - several new faculty members have been hired in the past few years. Many of the faculty have expertise in Ecology, Evolution, Behaviour, and Sensory Ecology. As such, graduate students in my lab have a great group of researchers among which to choose committee members. Students also benefit from interacting with these and other faculty members, as well as with their graduate students, in various capacities during the completion of their degrees. There is a weekly departmental seminar series that brings in speakers from throughout Canada and the US. There is also a biweekly seminar series hosted by the Behaviour, Cognition, and Neuroscience group. The department also hosts biweekly biobeers on Friday afternoons, when we get together to chat, snack, and, of course, drink beer (or your beverage of choice). Please see the Department of Biological Sciences homepage and the Facutly page to learn more about the department and its members. 

The City of Windsor
The city of Windsor is a great place to live. It is a culturally diverse city with many excellent restaurants serving almost any type of cuisine you can think of. It also has good pubs, a great riverside walkway/bike path that runs along the length of the entire city, access to nearby hiking trails, lakes and rivers, and reasonably-priced housing. The bird-watching around Windsor is excellent year round. Point Pelee, which is world-renowned as a migratory stopover site, is only forty minutes away and the Ojibway nature preserve is only a few minutes away. Windsor's proximity to Detroit provides access to all the amenities of a large city, including an international airport, while still maitaining the benefits of a small city (there isn't much traffic and it is very safe). Learn more about the city of Windsor here.
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Honours Thesis Students
Each year, I will have a limited number of positions available for students to conduct honours thesis projects in my laboratory (55-420). An honours thesis is a challenging but rewarding learning experience. I highly recommend this course of study to students who want in-depth research experience. An honours thesis is also an ideal way to determine whether you might be well-suited for graduate studies. The research experience that you will gain from an honours project will almost certainly improve you chances of being admitted into a graduate program. Of course, an honours project is a requirement for all students in the Behaviour Cognition and Neuroscience (BCN) program. Because of the limited number of positions available for honours students, you will improve your chances of securing a 55-420 position if you begin volunteering in a lab early on during your undergraduate degree. If you are keen to develop an honours project and are interested in the research conducted in my lab, please contact me and we can discuss this possibility (sdoucet AT uwindsor DOT ca).
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Undergraduate Research Volunteers, Work-Study, NSERC USRA
Undergraduate students can gain research experience as early as their first year by volunteering in research labs. Volunteering in a lab is a requirement of the BCN program, but Biology majors can also take advantage of this opportunity. Some students can receive payment for conducting research through the work-study program (based on financial need) or through the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award Program (a prestigious and very competitive award that will pay your most of your salary while you work in a research lab - your supervisor pays the rest). If you are keen to gain research experience and are interested in the research conducted in my lab, please contact me and we can discuss this possibility (sdoucet AT uwindsor DOT ca).
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University of Windsor
Last updated: January 2010
All content © S. Doucet unless otherwise indicated.