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.
This fellowship has been awarded to Cheyenne Beach, a MSc student at Western Illinois University for her research on sub-lethal effects of parasite infections in lesser scaup.
Since 1998, tens of thousands of lesser scaup have died while migrating through the Upper Midwest, owing to trematode (Cyathocotyle bushiensis and Sphaeridiotrema spp.) infections. As the intermediate host of the trematodes, the exotic faucet snail, spreads, Cheyenne’s work seeks to address knowledge gaps in our understanding of the physiological response of scaup to sub-lethal trematode infections. She will conduct a series of experiments to evaluate:
- How trematode infections influence scaup blood biochemical profiles and body condition.
- The additive effects of trematode and “typical” helminth community infections on migratory lesser scaup physiology and condition.
- How demographic factors like age and sex influence the physiological response to sub-lethal infections.
This research will improve our understanding of one of the factors potentially contributing to scaup population declines.
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
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