Robin Churchill, MSc, defends thesis at Western University
Robin Churchill successfully defended his Masters thesis entitled “Seasonal and long-term (1995-2009) changes in distribution and abundance of submerged aquatic vegetation and Dreissenid mussels in Inner Long Point Bay, Lake Erie.”
Invasion by Dreissenid (zebra) mussels can cause rapid increases in the abundance of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) by increasing water clarity and altering nutrient cycling, but rapid expansion of the mussel population is often followed by a decline until a new regional carrying capacity is reached. I sampled Long Point Bay (LPB), Lake Erie, in 2009 to quantify changes in SAV communities and densities of zebra mussels since the peak of the latter in the early 1990s, and modeled influences of year, water depth, and substrate type on the probability of SAV detection. Robin detected that carrying capacity of LPB for waterfowl and other fish and wildlife that use and eat SAV and mussels increased during the mid-1990s, but has since decreased.
Robin is employed as a Biologist at Predator Bird Services where he clears wildlife dangers at airports and landfills using trained birds of prey.
Dr. Michael Schummer to serve as Interim Scientist for Long Point Waterfowl
Long Point Waterfowl has named Dr. Michael Schummer as Interim Scientist to sustain the organizations strong tradition of delivering waterfowl and wetlands science in the Great Lakes region and towards training the next generation of waterfowl and wetlands scientists. The Honourable Warren Winkler, Chair of the Long Point Waterfowl Board of Directors and former Chief Justice of Ontario, says, “Of utmost importance is re-affirming Long Point Waterfowl’s dedication to science in the Great Lakes region and continuing to promote university-based investigation of emerging conservation issues wherever Long Point birds go.” Dr. Schummer was among the original cohort of graduate students at Long Point Waterfowl where he studied the ecology of sea ducks and diving ducks wintering at Lake Ontario. He went on to become one of the most published students funded by Long Point Waterfowl. Since completion of his doctoral degree, he has authored or co-authored over 50% of Long Point Waterfowl’s peer-reviewed publications, served as the Waterfowl Biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife 2005-2007, served as Maine’s representative on the Atlantic Flyway Technical Section 2005-2007, was a Research and Teaching Associate for Mississippi State University 2007-2010, and he again worked alongside the Long Point Waterfowl community 2010-2013. “Quality science and the education of the next generation of scientists are paramount to refining our conservation actions for waterfowl, wetlands, and people” Schummer said. Since inception, Long Point Waterfowl has been a strong contributor towards applied science for waterfowl and wetlands in eastern North America. Long Point Waterfowl is currently funding and/or providing guidance for 4 ongoing graduate research projects and developing manuscripts and technical documents from a diversity of completed projects. Current LPW students also continue to be supervised by Scott Petrie, Adjunct Professor at Western University. Among others, former students and employees of Long Point Waterfowl can be found working for the Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Ducks Unlimited Inc., California Waterfowl Association, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Game Commission, a diversity of Canadian and US universities, and private environmental consulting and laboratory businesses. Dr. Schummer ends with “Waterfowl and wetlands in eastern North America have benefited from Long Point Waterfowl’s science-presence in the Great Lakes region”. Science products by Long Point Waterfowl are complimented by the substantial contributions of private and public affiliates in Canada and the US that do exceptionally well to raise funds aimed at on-the-ground conservation, restoration, and management of wetland habitat. Dr. Schummer is a Visiting Professor of Zoology at SUNY Oswego, Adjunct Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Ontario. He lives with his wife on their farm in Jordan, NY in the middle of the Finger Lakes region with their two retrievers…a Chesapeake and a Labrador.
To contact Mike, email at email@example.com
Long Point Waterfowl Advances Towards Independence
26 May 2015 – Following two decades of growth and evolution under the administration of Bird Studies Canada (BSC), Long Point Waterfowl (LPW) is well on its way to gaining independence as a fully separate organization.
As part of the ongoing LPW reorganization, former Executive Director Dr. Scott Petrie has amicably left LPW. The LPW Board of Directors thanks Scott for his significant contributions since 1997, and wishes him well.
Through the vision and effort of Warren Winkler, Sandy Stuart, and Sam Johnson, LPW was established in the mid-1980s to generate a fund of scientific knowledge relating to waterfowl and wetlands in the Long Point, Ontario area. Formally named the Long Point Waterfowl and Wetland Research Fund, it was created through an agreement between The Bluffs Club and Environment Canada. After a few years, Bird Studies Canada signed on to the agreement.
Over the last two decades, LPW operated under the administration of BSC and was governed by the BSC Board. The LPW Board operated under the jurisdiction of the BSC Board and oversaw LPW policy. BSC administered LPW’s finances and related administrative services, and was the employer of LPW staff. LPW operated in this fashion very effectively and efficiently for more than 25 years, until a decision taken by the BSC Board in November 2014 ended the arrangement.
Since its founding in the late 1980s, LPW has grown significantly in capacity and assets, as well as prominence and influence on vital waterfowl priorities in the Great Lakes region and beyond. In reaching its decision, the BSC Board reasoned that LPW had evolved to the stage where it could function as a fully separate, independent organization.
The current reorganization of LPW is a direct result of the BSC Board’s decision. In order to perform functions previously carried out by BSC, LPW has incorporated as a legal corporation, and must next:
- Obtain charitable status with the Canada Revenue Agency, which is in the process of being filed by legal counsel.
- Create the infrastructure to support its activities as a free-standing, separate entity.
- LPW is establishing its headquarters at the LPW Research & Education Centre near Turkey Point, Ontario.
Because all of this work takes time to accomplish, the current administrative arrangement between BSC and LPW does not conclude until December 31, 2015.
Meanwhile, all of LPW’s programs are going forward as planned. Once full independence is achieved, the LPW long-term plan will be pursued vigorously and assiduously.
The LPW Board has total confidence in our Scientific Advisory Committee, our stakeholders, and our benefactors to advance our mission of providing valuable science relating to waterfowl and wetlands, and to continue to fulfill our educational mandate.
LPW has always enjoyed the benefit of the scientific knowledge and wisdom of the staff of Environment Canada and Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources, who have given generously of their time to serve as LPW advisors and Board members. This relationship will continue.
Long Point Waterfowl point of contact:
LPW Lake St. Clair Initiative Featured in the News
Our Lake St. Clair Initiative is focused on providing conservation planners and area managers in the Lake St. Clair region the necessary information to understand how environmental stressors may influence carrying capacity, habitat use, and survival of waterfowl during the nonbreeding seasons. To learn more about LPW’s Lake St. Clair Initiative or other research we conduct please check out our Research links.
Here are some links to recent news reports on this initiative!
CTV News Report
CTV News Report: Frozen Great Lakes deadly for ducks, conservationists say. On Sunday, March 23rd, Dr. Scott Petrie and Ted Barney discussed the impacts of the harsh 2013/14 winter on waterfowl on CTV News.
Ted Barney, a biologist with Long Point Waterfowl, said many of the dead birds had relied on their own body mass to stay alive. ”And they get to a point where there is no more muscle mass left for them to use as energy,” Barney told CTV Kitchener.
Click here to read the article and watch the news clip.
Marking Trumpeter Swans at La Salle Park
If you are interested in volunteering your time with us at Long Point Waterfowl please contact:
Biologist, Long Point Waterfowl
1-888-448-2473 ext. 151
Dabbling Duck Migration Forecast
Long Point Waterfowl has developed a Dabbling Duck migration forecast which is the first of its kind ever available on the internet. Scientist Dr. Michael Schummer will be developing weekly forecasts which will be posted every Monday for the autumn/winter seasons. Click here to learn more about this exciting development and to prepare yourself for the arrival of ducks in your region.
After the creation of a Waterfowl Heritage Day throughout Ontario in 2012, Long Point Waterfowl and The Long Point Waterfowlers’ Association sponsored a Heritage Hunt at Long Point on Saturday, September 15th. The purpose of the event was to allow young hunters and apprentices between the ages of 12-17 a chance to get out hunting with experienced individuals in a safe setting. The Heritage Hunt event included a BBQ dinner for the youth and their mentors, a presentation about Long Point Waterfowl’s research and hunting programs, instructions on firearm safety and rules and regulations, a demonstration on goose calling and decoy placement, and of course a mentored hunt within the Long Point Waterfowl Management Unit. Click here to learn more about this event and click here to view pictures.
Popular Article in DUC Conservator Magazine
Ongoing research by Dr. Michael Schummer, Scientist with Long Point Waterfowl, was featured in a recent edition of the Ducks Unlimited Canada magazine, “Conservator”. With collaborators, Long Point Waterfowl seeks to determine influences of climatic variability on waterfowl populations in North America. “More and more frequently, waterfowl hunters, birding enthusiasts, and those in charge of providing seasonal habitats for waterfowl, want to understand how changes in climate will influence waterfowl migration, seasonal bird distributions, and waterfowl populations in North America”, says Dr. Schummer. We are beginning to understand how increases in temperature may influence migratory patterns of Mallards, but we also seek these answers for other species as part of several graduate projects that Long Point Waterfowl is conducting including work with Lesser Scaup, Long-tailed Ducks, Tundra Swans, and a project focused on all dabbling ducks. Click here to view a PDF of this article.
Most northern hemispheric waterfowl migrate to exploit seasonality in food and habitat resources to complete their annual lifecycle. Variation in weather influences timing and success of breeding (e.g., fledging a brood) and non-breeding (e.g., survival) events in these species. Also, the migratory behavior of waterfowl may result in more flexibility to climatic variability than non-migratory organisms. However, our understanding of species-specific flexibility to changes in weather may not be adequate to inform waterfowl conservation in the northern hemisphere in the 21st century.
Long Point Waterfowl aims to reduce these knowledge gaps with our partners at Mississippi State University, Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Missouri Department of Conservation, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Winous Point Marsh Conservancy, and US Geological Survey, as well as a multitude of collaborators with various state agencies and wildlife refuges.
Long Point Waterfowl is a strong supporter of youth mentorship and providing the introduction of our youth to wildlife-related activities and our hunting heritage. Our Youth Hunting & Conservation Course provides 12-16 year olds the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities that focus on our hunting heritage as well as wildlife conservation and management. The 4th annual Youth Hunting & Conservation Course was extremely successful with 24 youth from across Ontario participating in six days of instruction, fun, and hands-on activities. Participants successfully passed their Ontario Hunter Safety, Canadian Firearms Training and Ontario Wild Turkey Hunter Education certification. Participants took part in retriever training, decoy placement and game cooking, watched a taxidermy demonstration from one of Canada’s premier taxidermists (Rick Davis), and shot .22 caliber rifles and shotguns at the Waterford Sportsman’s Club. All participants also received a one year membership with Delta
Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Quality
Deer Management Association. With increasing demand for this course, Long Point Waterfowl in conjunction with our supporting partners, are planning to offer 2 separate programs next year. This will allow for even more Ontario youth to pursue their passion for the outdoors.
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is a Canadian government agency that provides grants for research in natural sciences and in engineering.
Scholarships are provided as financial support to high caliber scholars who are engaged in masters or doctoral programs in the natural sciences or engineering. Scholarship applicants are evaluated and selected according to their academic excellence, research ability and research potential as well as their communication, interpersonal and leadership abilities. All scholarships are offered to the top-ranked applicants at each academic level (masters, doctoral, post-doctorate).
Katelyn Weaver, M.Sc. candidate at the University of Western Ontario, is the recipient of an NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) for 2012-2013. Katelyn began working with Long Point Waterfowl on research entitled, “Habitat selection during the non-breeding period by Eastern Population Tundra Swans, Cygnus columbianus columbianus” in January 2012. Katelyn intends to explore swan selection of agricultural and aquatic habitats along migration routes and on wintering grounds and to compare seasonal wetland selection. Information from her study will help inform conservation strategies for Eastern Population Tundra Swans at staging and wintering areas. To read more about this project, please click here.
Philip Wilson, M.Sc. candidate at the University of Western Ontario is also a recipient of a fellowship from NSERC in the Industrial Postgraduate Scholarship (IPS) program. The goal of the IPS program is to provide graduate students research experience in industry where they will be able to contribute to strengthen Canadian innovation. Philip has been awarded a 24 month fellowship for 2012 – 2013, for his research with Long Point Waterfowl titled “Habitat Selection by Long-tailed Ducks (Clangula hyemalis) overwintering at Lake Ontario”. Philip will use satellite telemetry to determine habitat selection by Long-tailed duck at Lake Ontario as influenced by environmental variables. Information gained from this study will enable siting offshore industrial wind turbines to be placed in areas to minimize impacts to migrating and wintering Long-tailed Ducks. To read more about this project, please click here.
Philip Wilson, a Long Point Waterfowl M.Sc. Candidate has also been awarded the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Zone G Wildlife Research Grant for 2012. Philip Wilson (on right) along with other OFAH award holders are shown in the picture below.
Resource selection is of particular interest in the study of waterfowl ecology, as biologists are able to gain insight into resource use in relation to availability. Determining which resources are selected provides fundamental information about how waterfowl meet their requirements for survival, as well as about habitat quality, minimum space requirements, and the potential plasticity of individuals to habitat change. Zebra mussels colonized and dominated the benthos of Lake Ontario in the early 1990s, which corresponded with a 10-fold increase in overwintering sea duck populations, of which, Long-tailed Ducks are the most numerous. With the increased importance of Lake Ontario as a sea duck wintering area, there is a need for quantification of habitat use and movements. In addition, tracking seaducks will provide information about habitat selection and movements and the potential impact of offshore industrial wind turbine developments on waterfowl.
During the winters of 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, Phil captured Long-tailed Ducks at several locations on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario and implanted 55 adults (female = 34, males = 21). We have been monitoring winter movements, spring and fall migrations, and breeding/molting regions in arctic regions of Canada.
Generous support has been provided by many collaborative partners, including: Sea Duck Joint Venture, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, NSERC, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Wildlife Habitat Canada, TD Canada Trust – Friends of the Environment Foundation, US Geological Survey, and the Toronto Zoo.
Long Point Waterfowl recently coordinated its seventh Waterbird and Wetland Field Ecology Course. Long Point Waterfowl in partnership with the University of Western Ontario and funding from the Sam Johnson Education Scholarship have been offering the course since 2005 to students from universities throughout Ontario. The course introduces students to basic wetland and waterbird ecology and management through site visits to several important marshes associated with Long Point and Lake St. Clair. The course also stresses the importance of organizational partnerships in wetland conservation through guest presentations from Bird Studies Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Long Point Regional Conservation Authority. This year 14 students from 5 Ontario universities participated in the field course.
2011 Youth Hunting and Conservation Course
Long Point Waterfowl hosted their annual Youth Hunting and Conservation Course that ran July 23rd to July 28th.
This course gathered 21 youths from the ages of 12-16 for six days of in-class instruction and out-demonstrations. After which students gained their Ontario Hunter Education certification, Firearms
Safety certification and their Ontario Wild Turkey Hunting course. Students also received a year long membership to Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited and to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.
Activities during this week included a trip to the Waterford Sportsman’s Club to practice their aim with a 22 caliber rifle and a semi-automatic shot-gun, enjoying a free flying raptor demonstration and a retriever dog demonstration, and learning about field and marsh decoy placement from Ray and Jude St. John.
Friends of Long Point Waterfowl Committee Announcement
Long Point Waterfowl is pleased to announce the development of an inaugural Friends Of Long Point Waterfowl Committee. The committee will assist Long Point Waterfowl with many initiatives and activities such as our annual Duck Day on September 25th and Fundraiser Dinner this upcoming April. The committee includes current and retired members of local conservation groups and individuals interested in our hunting and outdoor heritage.
2011 Waterbird and Wetland Field Ecology Course
Long Point Waterfowl hosted their annual Waterbird and Wetland Field Ecology Course that ran from June 4th to June 11th. This course gathered 16 undergraduate students from universities in the surrounding area for this one-week course taught in and around the globally important coastal wetland complex associated with Long Point in southwestern Ontario.
Students learned about ecological processes and the importance of natural and man-made wetlands to humans and the animals that inhabit them by listening to lectures and through participating in several field trips to local wetlands and wetland rehabilitation, creation, and restoration projects. We also introduced concepts regarding how man-made wetlands are created and managed for
wildlife and specifically discuss basic waterbird and waterfowl management activities. Basic monitoring and research/sampling
techniques were taught and demonstrated for marsh-inhabiting wildlife and plants. Students also actively participated in group-based data collection and summarization by conducting point counts for marsh-birds, trapping amphibians, and sampling aquatic invertebrates and plants. The goal of this course was to allow students to gain a greater understanding of wetland and waterbird ecology and management and of the conservation, research, and monitoring activities of various government and non-government organizations in southern Ontario.
Activities during this week included a trip to Lake St. Clair to explore the marshes in the area, goose banding where we managed to band over 250 adult Canada Geese, a tour of Bird Studies Old Cut bird banding station, and a visit to the local Raptor Conservancy where students were engaged in a free-flying raptor display.
Conferences Attended in 2011
Long Point Waterfowl staff and students attended a conference at Point Mouillee State Game Area with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources on May 17, 2011. Presentations focused on marsh management and other current conservation issues such as the development of industrial wind turbines and invasive Mute Swans.
Dr. Michael Schummer, Long Point Waterfowl’s Scientist, attended and presented at the Midwest Bird Conservation and Monitoring Conference in Illinois Beach and Conference Center, Zion, IL on August 3, 2011.
Dr. Michael Schummer and our new graduate student, Phillip Wilson, attended the 2011 Sea Duck Conference in Alaska September 12th-16th. Phillip presented information from his M.Sc. project on movement patters and habitat selection of Long-tailed Ducks overwintering in Lake Ontario. Dr. Schummer presented information on the current state of knowledge about Sea Ducks on the Lower Great Lakes: threats and research.
Funding from the Sand Plains Community Development Fund through the Canadian Government allowed us to employ Greg Dunn, our new Community Outreach and Marketing Manager, and Katelyn Weaver (left), our new Research and Education Centre Manager. This funding also allowed us to develop a walking trail around our 40 acre Research
and Education Centre with interpretive signs describing animals, plants and ecosystems found around the property.
Thanks to the Long Point Waterfowler’s Association for funding two summer research technicians, Emily McNaughton and Jason Palframan (right). These technicians evaluated bird, invertebrate, and plant communities at restored ponds, ‘natural’ ponds, and monotypic cattail/Phragmites to monitor influences of restoration efforts by the Long Point Waterfowlers’ Association within the Crown Marsh.
2011 Publication Highlights
Long Point Waterfowl has published two journal articles thus far in 2012 entitled “Factors affecting lipid reserves and foraging activity of bufflehead, common goldeneye, and long-tail ducks during winter at Lake Ontario” and “Variation in body composition and digestive organs of tundra swans during migration at Long Point, Lake Erie, Ontario”. To access the PDFs to individual journal articles published by Long Point Waterfowl click here.
Dr. Mike Schummer, Long Point Waterfowl’s Scientist, is featured in an issue of DU Inc.’s magazine. Mike discusses some of the research that he conducted at Mississippi StateUniversity with Dr. Rick Kaminski prior to starting work with Long Point Waterfowl.
Long Point Waterfowl’s scientist Dr. Michael Schummer published an article in Lakeline magazine.