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

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The objectives of the fellowship are to assist in developing talented young professionals who are dedicated to furthering the conservation of wetlands and wildlife, and to advance the scientific understanding of waterfowl and wetland biology in North America.

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Kyle Kuechle is the current recipient of the Edward D. and Sally M. Futch Graduate Fellowship. He is studying the relationship between landscape characteristics and concentrations of neonicotinoid pesticides in Missouri wetlands. The goal of his MSc project at the University of Missouri is to develop a model that helps wetland managers predict the presence and concentration of this pesticide for use in planning management activities.

Neonicotinoids are a class of pesticide widely adopted for agricultural use throughout North America and Europe, in large part because they are selectively more toxic to insects than vertebrates. Neonicotinoids are highly water soluble and can have reported half-lives of greater than 1000 days. The combination of these characteristics in conjunction with their widespread use suggests neonicotinoids may runoff into wetlands, which could affect aquatic ecosystems across large spatial scales. However, the abiotic and biotic landscape factors that influence neonicotinoid concentrations in wetlands are unclear. The objective of Kyle’s MSc research is to better predict neonicotinoids levels in Missouri public wetlands. Specifically, he will:

  • Quantify neonicotinoid concentrations in wetlands and evaluate landscape characteristics correlated with those concentrations
  • Develop a predictive model for temporal and spatial variation in neonicotinoid concentrations in Missouri wetlands, based on watershed and wetland characteristics

This tool will allow wetland managers to predict the ecosystem level effects that may be associated with varying neonicotinoid concentrations and provide additional information when considering the potential impacts of management decisions to aquatic ecosystems.

About the fellowship:

This fellowship is open to graduate students enrolled at any North American University.  Subject matter for the student’s research can deal with any aspect of waterfowl or wetland biology that promises to advance conservation.  Fellowships 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 research to furthering waterfowl conservation
  • The achievability of the work.

One award of up to $7,000/year (U.S. 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, once for Masters students, assuming annual approval of a satisfactory progress report and the need for continuing financial support.

For additional information on this fellowship, download the Graduate Fellowships Background document.

Past Fellowship Winners

2013-2015: Adam Janke, PhD. Evaluating wetland-ecosystem health in the prairie pothole region of eastern South Dakota using real-time nutrient dynamics of waterfowl, South Dakota State University

2010-2012: Sarah Thompson, PhD. The impact of encroaching woody vegetation on waterfowl nest success and site selection, University of Minnesota

2008-2009: Leah Domine (Laurich), PhD. Mechanisms influencing carbon sequestration in the prairie pothole wetlands, University of Minnesota

2008: Chris Nicolai, PhD. Implications of reproductive decisions and fitness of black brant nesting on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska, University of Nevada Reno

2006: Vanessa Harriman, MSc. Parasite-host interactions in colonial artic-nesting geese, University of Saskatchewan