The purpose of the fellowship is to develop critical scientific information about waterfowl and wetlands, and to contribute to the training of future waterfowl and wetland conservation professionals.
Kyla Bas is the most recent winner of this fellowship. She in an MSc student in the Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research will shed light on large-scale drivers of waterfowl population change.
Factors limiting population growth of waterfowl species is of concern to managers and hunters alike. The number of young entering breeding populations is a key component of population growth in many duck species; thus, managing for factors influencing breeding success is critical to maintaining populations. Kyla will use both long-term and new field data collected at Yellowknife, NT and Red Rock Lakes, MT to evaluate drivers of breeding success in lesser scaup and other duck species for her MSc. She will test hypotheses about density-dependence, regional climate, and predator-prey dynamics using the following objectives:
- Evaluate whether reproductive success is negatively related to local pair and brood densities
- Determine if duckling production and survival in fixed, late-nesting species (scaup) are generally lower than those of flexible, early-nesting species during early springs
- Assess if brood production (brood: pair ratio) is higher in years when local small mammals are most abundant
Kyla’s results will inform managers of mechanisms regulating scaup productivity and guide conservation initiatives designed to enhance waterfowl populations.
About the Fellowship
The 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 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 per 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 and once for Master’s students, assuming annual approval of a satisfactory progress report and the need for continuing financial support.
Past Fellowship Winners
2015-2016: Amelia Raquel, MSc. Assessment of Factors Influencing Patterns of Duck Community Composition in the Prairie Pothole Region: Effects of Climate and Land Use, University of Saskatchewan
2013-2014: David Messmer, PhD. The Effect of Wetland Abundance, Spring Phenology, and Landscape Productivity on Breeding Ducks in the Western Boreal Forest, University of Saskatchewan
2010-2012: Brandt Meixell, PhD. Prevalence, variation, and effects of low pathogenic avian influenza in waterfowl, University of Minnesota
2008-2009: Pauline Bloom, MSc. Factors Affecting Mallard Duckling Survival in Western Canada: Implications for Conservation Planning, University of Saskatchewan