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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This fellowship has been awarded to Alec Schindler, a PhD student at the University of Saskatchewan, for his study of trade-offs in reproduction and survival in the Greenland white-fronted goose.

The Greenland white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons flavirostris) is a long-distance migrant that has experienced a 33% population decrease in the past 20 years, likely due to declining reproductive success. Reproduction is energetically demanding, and migratory species must evaluate trade-offs between reproduction and survival. Alec will use data from GPS and acceleration devices to study goose movement and behaviour year-round to understand the effects of:

  • preparation during the spring migration on breeding outcomes
  • breeding outcomes on fall migration characteristics
  • fall migration characteristics on subsequent survival of parents

Results will be used to better understand Greenland white-fronted goose declines and predict how future changes to different phases of the annual cycle (e.g., habitat change) will affect reproduction in this species. More broadly, Alec’s research will provide a flexible and reproducible framework for full annual cycle modeling using location and behavior data that will be widely applicable across systems and taxa for improved conservation planning.

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 $9,500/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

2020: Cheyenne Beach, MSc. Evaluating the physiological response of sub-lethal infections of Sphaeridiotrema spp. and Cyathocotyle bushiensis trematodes in captive lesser scaup (Aythya affinis), Western Illinois University

2018-2019: Stephanie Cunningham, MSc. Decision-making in Greater White-fronted Geese, University of Missouri

2016-2017: Kyle Kuechle, MSc. Quantifying neonicotinoid concentrations in Missouri public wetlands and the corresponding threat to aquatic food webs, University of Missouri

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