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

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The objectives of the DUC-MBNA Canada Bank® Conservation Fellowship are to develop 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 Canada.

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This fellowship has been awarded to Reyd Smith, a PhD student at Carleton University, for her research on effects of oil contamination on seabirds in Nunatsiavut.

Although large oil spills often catch the media and public’s attention, smaller-scale spills and chronic leaks can also impact local wildlife, including through sub-lethal exposure. For example, oil exposure may alter gene expression, with downstream effects on reproductive success. In collaboration with the Nunatsiavut Government, an Inuit regional government, Reyd will examine the exposure patterns and toxicogenomic effects of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs). She will measure PAC levels, stable isotopes, and gene expression, primarily in female common eiders, at the site of a marine oil spill and reference site. Concurrently, Reyd will conduct interviews with local Inuit knowledge holders to improve her understanding of local bird biology through other knowledge systems. Reyd’s research embodies two conservation priorities:

  • Determining the sub-lethal effects of oil exposure, given the large quantities of oil released into the environment globally
  • Meaningful involvement of Indigenous communities in research to achieve shared conservation objectives

About the Fellowship

The fellowship is open to Canadian graduate students enrolled at a university in Canada or abroad. Subject matter for the student’s research can deal with any aspect of waterfowl or wetland biology that promises to advance conservation in Canada. 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.

Preference will be given to proposals with demonstrable management applications. One award of up to $10,000/year (Canadian funds) is available to provide personal or research support for the successful applicant. The award may be renewable for up to two additional years for PhD students, once for Master’s students.

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

Past Fellowship Winners

2020-2021: Moriah Tanguay, MSc. Wetland- and landscape-level predictors of invertebrate community composition and duck presence on wetlands in the boreal forest of the Northwest Territories, University of Saskatchewan

2016-2018: Matt Dyson, PhD. Waterfowl nest success in the Western Boreal Forest: Does industrial development alter predation rates?, University of Waterloo

2013-2015: David Johns, PhD. Landscape-level breeding ecology in prairie ducks: Patterns in settlement, reproduction, survival and physiology, University of Saskatchewan

2011-2012: Jennifer Sheppard, MSc. Habitat selection trade-offs and reproductive success of mallards in the Prairie Parklands, Canada, University of Saskatchewan

2008-2010: Kirsty Gurney, PhD. Temporal and spatial patterns of duckling survival and productivity in temperate-nesting waterfowl, University of Saskatchewan

2007: Jean-Michael Devink, PhD. Comparative Ecology and Reproductive Energetics of Boreal Breeding Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks and White-winged Scoters, University of Saskatchewan