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

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The purpose of the fellowship is to develop critical scientific information about waterfowl and wetlands, and to contribute to the training of future waterfowl and wetland conservation professionals.

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Nick Masto, a PhD student at Tennessee Technological University, is the most recent winner of this fellowship. His research focuses on identifying factors driving mallard movements, habitat selection, and distributions during the non-breeding period.

Food energy, habitat availability, and hunting pressure are thought to drive duck distributions during the winter, though datasets have not been available to evaluate this in an integrated framework. Nick is working collaboratively on a study using hundreds of GPS-tagged mallards plus frequent estimates of landscape conditions and energetics to evaluate the relative contributions of landscape energetics, hunting pressure, and shifts in wetland availability on wintering waterfowl movements and distributions. His research will help refine regional conservation planning tools and facilitate wetland restoration efforts for habitat features most limiting to waterfowl during the non-breeding period.

About the Fellowship

The 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 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 per 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 and once for Master’s 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

2019-2021: Emily Tarsa, PhD. Seed-based wetland restoration following Phragmites removal: harnessing seed traits and systems modeling to reestablish lost avian habitat, Utah State University

2017-2018: Kyla Bas, MSc. Effects of spring phenology, density dependence and predator-prey cycles on productivity of montane and boreal-breeding ducks, University of Saskatchewan.

2015-2016: Amelia Raquel, MSc. Assessment of Factors Influencing Patterns of Duck Community Composition in the Prairie Pothole Region: Effects of Climate and Land Use, University of Saskatchewan

2013-2014: David Messmer, PhD. The Effect of Wetland Abundance, Spring Phenology, and Landscape Productivity on Breeding Ducks in the Western Boreal Forest, University of Saskatchewan

2010-2012: Brandt Meixell, PhD. Prevalence, variation, and effects of low pathogenic avian influenza in waterfowl, University of Minnesota

2008-2009: Pauline Bloom, MSc. Factors Affecting Mallard Duckling Survival in Western Canada: Implications for Conservation Planning, University of Saskatchewan