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 Sarah Clements for her PhD research at the University of Missouri. Sarah’s research seeks to improve our understanding of the fitness consequences of habitat availability and quality for a declining group of birds — migratory shorebirds.

Migratory species are affected by habitat and climate over broad geographic ranges and it can be difficult to monitor individuals and populations over a full annual cycle. Sarah will harness the power GPS-acceleration tracking devices, technology that allows researchers to make inferences about both habitat use and productivity without needing to resight or recapture birds. Tracking four wetland-dependent shorebird species (American avocet, short-billed dowitcher, black-bellied plover, Hudsonian godwit), ranging from short- to long-distance migrants, this project will provide information needed for effective conservation planning for migratory birds including:

  • key characteristics of high-quality habitat
  • factors affecting the quality of stopover sites
  • relative importance of breeding season versus carry-over effects on survival

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

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