2017 Graduate Research Seminar

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Waterfowl Breeding Ecology — 12 days of intensive training in the PPR for graduate students

For almost all ducks, the predominant drivers of population size are breeding season events. Thus we argue that all budding and seasoned waterfowl professionals should spend time on the breeding grounds of the U.S. and Canada. The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is ground zero for key ducks in the harvest and the focus of much management. Come see this area – take part in nest searching for dabblers and divers and learn waterfowl, breeding ecology and management during an intensive field course.

Staff from Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited Canada, the USFWS – refuge office staff and HAPET staff, North Dakota Game and Fish, and Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation and Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center are helping the course coordinators (Dr. Luke Laborde, LSU & Dr. Frank Rohwer, Delta) give a thorough overview of biology and management in the PPR to up to 15 graduate students studying waterfowl ecology and management at their host institutions.

Start is May 14th, which is a travel day to get to Bismarck, North Dakota; end date is May 27th which is departure date from Bismarck.

We start in Bismarck with a couple days of introduction to biology & management in Missouri Coteau prairie habitats near Bismarck. We move east to the drift prairie habitats in NE North Dakota to see ducks nesting in more intensive agricultural areas. We will spend a few days looking at habitats and finding and monitoring nests of dabbling ducks. Then we head north into parkland habitats in SW Manitoba, where we will shift focus to over-water nesting divers – Canvasback, Redheads, and the like. After days in the parklands we will make a day trip to a fairly southern piece of boreal forest to see the array of ducks in that habitat. Finally, we spend a couple days in large staging marshes that have substantial ecological and historical significance – duck factory #1 (Big Grass Marsh – DU’s historic first project in prairie Canada, then the Delta Marsh (Delta Waterfowl’s prairie birth site) and then Oak Hammock marsh (the headquarters for DU Canada).

Travel to/from Bismarck is your responsibility, but almost all other costs – housing, food, and travel – during the extensive field excursions are covered by generous donors concerned about the future of waterfowl. Incidental expenses may be incurred during a couple of free evenings at students’ discretion.

Recommended, but not essential; entry to Canada w/o passport requires two forms of identification (such as driver license and birth certificate).

Academic Credit
This will be an intensive field course (at least 60 hours in the field and 30 hours in various classroom talks and discussion segments), so 3 credits of coursework is certainly reasonable. The easy and cost efficient way to make college credit happen is through an independent study course at your host institution. Your academic advisor can speak with Dr. Laborde or Dr. Rohwer to arrange a grading plan.

Student Presentations
Each student can opt to present a 15-30 minute presentation on a subject of waterfowl ecology or management of their choice (presumably but not necessarily their graduate research project). Results are not essential to the presentation.

Any graduate student currently enrolled full time or accepted for enrollment in an accredited North American university in a program of study concentrating in waterfowl ecology and/or management is eligible to apply. If you are remotely interested, then contact Dr. Rohwer for more information and a draft of the schedule. Space is limited, so it is strongly advised that you apply for a position in the course ASAP.

The following information should be included in application:

a. A bio or cv including current contact information (cell phone and e-mail);
b. A copy of a current transcript from the institution were currently or recently enrolled;
c. A description of your current program of waterfowl study or interest; and,
d. A letter of recommendation from your major professor or adviser, including contact information.

Applications will be accepted through March 15, 2017; however, early applicants may receive early acceptance.
All applicants will be notified of a decision by March 17.

Applications should be e-mailed to:
Dr. Frank Rohwer
President and Chief Scientist
Delta Waterfowl Foundation
PO Box 3128
Bismarck, ND 58502

(888) 987-3695 Extension 217