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

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The goal of Michael F.B. Nesbitt Family Research Fellowship is to support post-graduate education of wetland and waterfowl scientists, and thereby help train future leaders who will follow in the footsteps of Michael Nesbitt’s family.

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This fellowship has been awarded to Ilsa Griebel for her PhD research at the University of Saskatchewan. Ilsa’s research seeks to improve our understanding of the annual cycle of black ducks, including addressing key knowledge gaps about breeding season productivity in the boreal forest.

American black duck populations decreased between the 1950s and 1980s, and have never recovered to historic levels. Financial and logistical challenges of accessing the boreal region, where black ducks breed, has hindered our ability to assess whether black duck population growth is limited by factors during the breeding season. To overcome these data collection challenges, Ilsa will use GPS-acceleration tracking devices, technology that allows researchers to make inferences about both habitat use and productivity without needing to resight or recapture birds. By collecting data on black duck movement and behaviour through the full annual cycle, and identifying factors which influence productivity of black ducks, this project will provide information critical to identification of landscapes most important for the management and conservation of black duck populations.

About the Fellowship

Graduate students located at any North American university are eligible for this Fellowship. It 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 $5,000/year (Canadian 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 students pursuing a Master’s degree, 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

2019-2021: Sarah Clements, PhD. A multi-species analysis of landscape effects of individual decision-making and fitness in wetland-dependent migratory shorebirds, University of Missouri

2016-2018: Tyler Harms, PhD. Improving waterfowl surveys to better inform conservation decisions in an intensively farmed landscape, Iowa State University