Ducks Unlimited Canada
Institute for Wetland & Waterfowl Research
PO Box 1160
Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada
R0C 2Z0

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The purpose of this fellowship is to provide financial assistance to deserving students conducting waterfowl or wetland research in North America.

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Kelsey Navarre was awarded the Dr. Bruce D.J. Batt Fellowship in Waterfowl Conservation for her planned work at Colorado State University. Kelsey’s MSc project will focus on how demographic rates such as breeding propensity, nest success and duckling survival will vary with increased environmental variation and human-induced changes to the landscape. Her research will provide a better understanding of which demographic rates drive population change, and therefore could become targets of management actions.

The continental population of scaup remains well below population objectives. Previous analyses revealed that the number of young recruited into the breeding population (recruitment) was the likely driver of declines. Recruitment is influenced by a variety of vital rates such as nest success, duckling survival, female survival, etc. Environmental conditions can cause correlation of among vital rates, which can be more important to population trends than any one vital rate alone. For her MSc, Kelsey proposes to use a long-term data set from Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana to explore the implications of environmental variability on lesser scaup populations. Her objectives are to:

  • Estimate vital rates of lesser scaup
  • Evaluate correlation in vital rates relative habitat and climatic factors
  • Incorporate these relationships into scaup population models to assess impacts on population trends.

Kelsey’s work will identify which vital rates are most important for this population and provide management recommendations under the increasingly variable environment predicted with climate change.

About the Fellowship

The competition is open to graduate students based at any North American university. It will be awarded based upon the following criteria:

  • The qualifications of the applicant
  • The scientific soundness of the student’s research proposal
  • Originality and creativity in study design
  • Expected contributions of the study to wetland or waterfowl ecology
  • The importance of the proposed research to conservation
  • Achievability of the work.

One award of up to $5,000 per year (Canadian funds) is available to provide personal or research support for the successful applicant. The award is renewable for up to two additional years for PhD students and once for students pursuing a Master’s degree, assuming annual approval of a satisfactory progress report and the need for continuing financial support.

Past Fellowship Winners

2016: Megan Ross, MSc. Ecological factors affecting midcontinent light goose recruitment, University of Saskatchewan

2013-2015: Christopher Malachowski, PhD. Factors influencing habitat selection, movement patterns, and population dynamics of the engendered Hawaiian duck (Anas wyvilliana) on Kaua‘I, Oregon State University

2011-2012: Mark Wiltermuth, PhD. Interaction of land use and wet-dry cycles on invertebrate populations in prairie wetlands: Implications of waterbird habitat conservation, North Dakota State University

2008-2010: Anne Mini, PhD. Comparative foraging ecology of two sympatric specialized grazers, Dusky Canada and Cackling Geese in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, Oregon State University