The purpose of the Waterfowl Research Foundation Fellowship is to develop critical scientific information about waterfowl and wetlands, contribute to the training of future waterfowl and wetland conservation professionals and honour the important role waterfowl hunters have played in supporting conservation throughout North America.
This fellowship has been awarded to Rob Blenk, a PhD student at University of California Davis for his work on a model of energetics, habitat use, and survival of wintering waterfowl.
Understanding the effects of management and environmental change on a landscape’s ability to sustain a healthy population of waterfowl is critical for conservationists, regulatory agencies, and managers. Rob is working collaboratively to develop a cutting-edge agent-based model (the “SWAMP” model”) to refine our understanding of the energetics of wintering waterfowl. Rob will perform experiments on captive ducks and incorporate results on their foraging behaviour into the model. This model will be applied to California’s Suisun Marsh to assess the effect of tidal wetland restoration on the area’s ability to sustain target populations of waterfowl. When generalized to other regions, this modelling approach will be a powerful and versatile tool for wetland conservation stakeholders.
About the Fellowship
The Waterfowl Research Foundation Fellowship is open to graduate students enrolled at any North American university. Students must possess a current hunting or sportsman license issued by the appropriate regulatory authority. 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, including the candidate’s past and present participation in waterfowl hunting
- 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 $10,000 per year (Canadian) 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, continued possession of a valid hunting or sportsman licence and the need for continuing financial support.
For additional information on this fellowship, download the Graduate Fellowships Background document.
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Past Fellowship Winners
2019-2020: Cynthia Anchor, MSc. Investigating the post-fledging movement and ecology of hatch-year mallards in the Dakotas, South Dakota State University
2018-2019: Joshua Brown, PhD. Long-term genetic effects of game-farm mallard releases on wild mallards in North America, University of Texas at El Paso.
2017: Clay Stroud, MSc. Relating diets and food availability to long-term population trends of Lesser Scaup wintering on Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, Louisiana State University