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.
Dennis Raveling Scholarship
Matt Palumbo, PhD student with Long Point Waterfowl and Western University, was the 2nd place recipient of the California Waterfowl Association’s “Dennis Raveling Scholarship.” The Dennis Raveling Scholarship for Waterfowl Research is awarded annually to a student(s) with a desire to pursue a career in waterfowl or wetlands ecology. Awards are based on the candidate’s resolve, high academic achievement, and project merit. The California Waterfowl Association is a statewide nonprofit organization whose principal objective is the conservation of the state’s waterfowl, wetlands, and hunting heritage. CWA believes hunters have been the most important force in conserving waterfowl and wetlands. http://www.calwaterfowl.org/
Ankney & Johnson Waterfowl and Wetlands Graduate Research Scholarship Award Winners
The Dave Ankney & Sandi Johnson Waterfowl and Wetlands Graduate Research Scholarship (The Ankney Award) was established in 2013 to honour the memory of Dave and his incredible contributions to waterfowl and wetland research, and to recognize the unending support of his wife Sandi. To read more about the Ankney Award please click here. The 2015 awards were recently presented to Adam Janke (PhD student) and Megan Ross (MSc student). Please click here to read about Adam and Megan’s research projects.
Everett Hanna, a PhD candidate with Long Point Waterfowl and Western University, was chosen as the recipient of Fleming College’s 2015 Vic-President Academic’s Contract Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award was presented to Everett in recognition of his consistent commitment to student learning and success, his innovative use of stimulating learning methods and opportunities, his outstanding communication and motivation skills, and his contribution to a positive learning culture and the core values of Fleming College, as a role model for students and colleagues.
Matt Palumbo, a PhD candidate with Long Point Waterfowl and Western University, was recently awarded the OFAH/Dave Ankney/Sandi Johnson Award for Avian Ecology for his study investigating habitat selection and survival of female Mallards in the Lake St. Clair region during autumn and winter. Matt was also a recipient of the California Waterfowl Association’s Dennis Raveling Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a student(s) with a desire to pursue a career in waterfowl or wetlands ecology. The award was based on Matt’s resolve, high academic achievement, and project merit. In addition, Matt received the Western University Faculty of Science Graduate Student Teaching Award in recognition of his diligence and contributions to the Wildlife Ecology and Management class at Western.
Long Point Waterfowl Students Receive Prestigious Awards for Teaching!
Matt Palumbo, PhD Candidate, was awarded the Faculty of Science Graduate Student Teaching Award from the University of Western Ontario. Matt received this award for his diligence and contributions to the Wildlife Ecology and Management course taught by Long Point Waterfowl at Western.
Everett Hanna, PhD Candidate, was awarded the Vice-President Academic’s Contract Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching from Fleming College. Everett received this award during his first full year teaching at Fleming College which is an excellent achievement. The award went to Everett for his accomplishments in teaching in the Fish and Wildlife Program in the School of Environment and Natural Resource Sciences.
Please join us in congratulating their success!
GPS Transmitters Successfully Attached to Mallard Hens
Twenty Mallard Hens recently received new accessories as part of PhD Student, Matt Palumbo’s, research in the Lake St. Clair Region. Matt, along with Canadian Wildlife Service, LPW staff and volunteers, and area managers at Lake St. Clair, captured, weighed and measured >800 Mallards in August and September 2014. Twenty adult hens were selected and equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite transmitters to track their local and regional movements, habitat use, and survival. To learn more about this research or to sponsor a hen see our Mallard Tracker page.
Current LPW Grad Student Promoted to Sessional Professor at Sir Sandford Fleming College
Long Point Waterfowl is proud to acknowledge the promotion of PhD Student, Everett Hanna, to the position of Sessional Professor of Applied Wildlife Science at Sir Sandford Fleming College (SSFC). Everett has been studying the migratory and foraging ecology of Sandhill Cranes on Manitoulin Island with Long Point Waterfowl since 2009 and is now in the final stages of his degree at the University of Western Ontario in London. Everett also works as a professional wildlife biologist with a consulting company in the oil and gas industry of western Canada. Everett’s professional goal is to teach applied wildlife biology at the post-secondary level while continuing to lead research programs in wildlife biology and management.
Everett first started teaching Field Ornithology at SSFC in fall 2013. In fall 2014, Everett is teaching Field Ornithology as well as Wildlife Technologies and Vertebrate Biology. All three second year courses are offered as part of the Fish and Wildlife program at SSFC’s Frost campus in Lindsay, Ontario. As an important part of a team of highly-skilled and dynamic professors, Everett is assisting with the delivery of an exciting curriculum in applied fish and wildlife science. SSFC Fish and Wildlife graduates are recognized as some of the best in the field across the continent!
Everett’s achievement is yet another testament to the caliber of LPW students and the critical research that they undertake! Please join us in congratulating Everett on his significant accomplishment!
Completion of 2014 Wood Duck Field Season
After a long summer of nest checks, radio transmitter implants, tracking ducks and counting broods – Matt Dyson’s MSc field research season has come to an end. Throughout the season Matt implanted 40 hens with radio transmitters and tracked them until 30 days post-hatch.
To learn more about the Wood Duck research or to find out breeding statistics such as number of eggs laid or chicks successfully raised see our Adopt-A-Hen page.
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Conference
Simcoe Area Waterfowl Expert Wins Prestigious Conservation Leadership Award
Dr. Scott Petrie, executive director of Long Point Waterfowl and director-at-large for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) was selected by the OFAH Board of Directors to receive the Jack O’Dette Conservation Leadership Award. The honour was bestowed upon the Simcoe area resident at the 86th Annual General Meeting and Fish & Wildlife Conference, held March 13-15, 2014, in Mississauga.
The award is presented to an OFAH director in recognition of their hard work, dedication and motivation. Jack O’Dette, for whom the award is named, was a conservationist, angler, hunter, and, for his conservation efforts, a recipient of the Order of Canada.
“Dr. Petrie has been a member of the OFAH Board of Directors for ten years. During that time, his depth of knowledge, experience and passion have been an invaluable addition to the Board,” said OFAH Executive Director Angelo Lombardo. “Scott’s vast knowledge of waterfowl has played a key role in the success of the OFAH Wetlands/Migratory Birds Advisory Committee, which he has been a part of since 2004. Through his association with Long Point Waterfowl, he has been able to give many youth the opportunity to learn the biology, identification and habitat of many species, and introduced a new generation of young people to the experience of waterfowl hunting,” said Lombardo.
A dedicated scientist and passionate waterfowl hunter, Dr. Petrie’s primary responsibilities at Long Point Waterfowl include conducting research, supervising graduate students and raising the scientific profile of the organization. Dr. Petrie is also an assistant professor at the University of Western Ontario where he teaches wildlife ecology and management.
Click here to read an article in the Tilsonburg News about Scott’s award.
Matt Palumbo, a graduate of both the State University of New York and Mississippi State University, currently pursuing a PhD with Long Point Waterfowl at the University of Western Ontario, was awarded the first OFAH/Dave Ankney/Sandi Johnson Award for Avian Ecology for his study of habitat selection of American Black Ducks and Mallards in the Lower Great Lakes Region. The award is named after the late Dr. Davison Ankney, former OFAH president and professor of Zoology at the University of Western Ontario, and his wife Sandi.
Lena Vanden Elsen, a resident of Scotland, Ontario and a Long Point Waterfowl Master’s student at the University of Western Ontario, is this year’s recipient of the OFAH/St. Catharine’s Game and Fish Association Fish & Wildlife Research Grant for her study of environmental factors influencing autumn and winter distributions of dabbling ducks in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways of North America.
Matt Dyson, a resident of Port Stanley, Ontario and a Long Point Waterfowl Master’s student at the University of Western Ontario, was awarded the OFAH/Oakville and District Rod & Gun Club Conservation Research Grant for his study of nest success, survival and habitat selection of female wood ducks and their broods from nest boxes at Long Point, which will contribute original ecological knowledge and help refine conservation and management strategies.
Click here to read an article in the Tilsonburg News about the student awards.
Get Outdoors: Youth Event
Ted Barney, LPW Biologist, attended the OFAH conference and presented to 80 Get Outdoors youth participants on the basics of waterfowling. They discussed and played with decoys, calls, gear (clothes, waders, camo, etc.) and had a great time!
Click here for a list of 2013 OFAH conservation award winners. With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 720 member clubs, the OFAH is the province’s largest nonprofit, fish and wildlife conservation-based organization, and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.ofah.org.
Long Point Waterfowl’s St. Clair Initiative
Matt Palumbo, Long Point Waterfowl’s newest PhD Candidate, presented on our Lake St. Clair Initiative: “habitat selection of waterfowl during spring and autumn migration” at this years Great Lakes Wetlands Day, hosted by Great Lakes Wetland Conservation Action Plan (GLWCAP) members. Great Lakes Wetlands Day was held Tuesday, February 4 2014 and was created to mark World Wetlands Day to reflect on the history, present, and future of Ontario’s wetlands. To learn more about the research Matt presented click here to view an abstract of his work.
LPW MSc Graduates
Long Point Waterfowl is proud to announce that Taylor Finger successfully defended his Master’s thesis entitled “Environmental Factors that Influence Spring Migration Chronology of Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)” on January 15, 2014. Taylor used satellite telemetry and weather data to investigate the influence of annual variation in weather and environmental conditions on timing and rate of spring migration of Lesser Scaup. The results of Taylor’s research have increased our understanding of scaup migration chronology and have implications for the interpretation of annual survey data. We at Long Point Waterfowl are proud of the research that Taylor conducted under our supervision and support. Taylor’s completed thesis is now available on our Completed Theses page.
Taylor was recently hired by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as the statewide Assistant Migratory Game Bird Ecologist. His responsibilities include developing and updating waterfowl and other migratory game bird management plans, survey and harvest reports, establishing waterfowl rules based on Fish & Wildlife Service season and population frameworks and biological parameters, coordinating statewide surveys and banding efforts as they relate to migratory game bird management, and preparing information for the Mississippi Flyway states, statewide waterfowl interest groups, and the public. Please join us in congratulating Taylor on these outstanding accomplishments! Taylor can be contacted at email@example.com
Long Point Waterfowl is proud to announce that Katelyn Weaver (Long Point Waterfowl M.Sc. student) recently defended her master’s thesis entitled Tundra Swan habitat selection during the nonbreeding period. Katelyn began studying the nonbreeding ecology of Tundra Swans with Long Point Waterfowl in January 2012 and, through use of satellite telemetry data and land cover classification information, investigated the temporal and geographic selection of open water, wetlands and agriculture for her M.Sc. thesis. We at Long Point Waterfowl are proud of the research that Katelyn conducted under our supervision and support!
We are also pleased to report that Katelyn has been hired as a Biologist with Long Point Waterfowl through an internship funded by the National Research Canada, Science and Technology Program for Work Experience. She will be coordinating the research and education programs at our Research and Education Centre, collecting and analyzing data, publishing manuscripts, managing our website and Facebook page, fundraising, and bringing her bright smile to all our events. Please join us in congratulating Katelyn on these wonderful accomplishments! Katelyn can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
LPW Graduate Hired as Part-time Professor
Long Point Waterfowl is proud to announce that Everett Hanna (Long Point Waterfowl Ph.D. candidate) was recently hired as part-time Professor of Field Ornithology at Sir Sandford Fleming College (SSFC). Everett has been studying the migratory and foraging ecology of Sandhill Cranes on Manitoulin Island with Long Point Waterfowl since 2009 and is now in the final stages of his Ph.D. degree at the University of Western Ontario.
Everett’s professional goal is to teach applied wildlife biology at the post-secondary level while continuing to lead research programs in wildlife biology and management.
Field Ornithology is offered as a second year course as part of the Fish and Wildlife program at SSFC’s Frost campus in Lindsay, Ontario. As part of a team of highly-skilled professors, Everett will assist in delivering an exciting and technically-based curriculum in applied fish and wildlife sciences. SSFC graduates are recognized as some of the best in the field across the continent!
This significant accomplishment is yet another testament to the caliber of Long Point Waterfowl students and the critical research that they undertake! Please join us in congratulating Everett on this accomplishment!
43rd Ontario Ecology, Ethology and Evolution Colloquium
Long Point Waterfowl students, Lena Vanden Elsen, Katelyn Weaver (M.Sc. Candidates) and Sara Handrigan (4th year Honours Student) recently attended the 43rd Ontario Ecology, Ethology and Evolution Colloquium hosted by Western University. Out of 13 participating universities, Katelyn and Sara took home the Best Graduate Poster and Best Undergraduate Talk Awards.
Prestigious Scholarship Won by Student
Katelyn Weaver, Long Point Waterfowl M.Sc. Candidate, is the recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology. Since 1998, the Ontario government, in partnership with the private sector, has rewarded excellence in graduate studies in science and technology with scholarships of $15,000 for one year of research. Scholarship applicants are evaluated and selected based upon their academic excellence, research potential and communication skills.
Final Long-tailed Duck Field Season Completed
During winter 2012, Long Point Waterfowl M.Sc. Candidate Philip Wilson completed his last field season where he captured Long-tailed Ducks in Prince Edward County at Lake Ontario. During this final field season, wildlife veterinarian Graham Crawshaw (Toronto Zoo) implanted 8 adult Long-tailed Ducks (female = 7, males = 1). We have been monitoring winter movements, spring and fall migrations, and breeding/molting locations in arctic regions of Canada from the previous 55 implanted Long-tailed Ducks marked across Lake Ontario.
The objective of Phil’s M.Sc. research is to use location data from 63 satellite telemetry-marked Long-tailed Ducks to investigate how environmental variables (e.g., upwelling frequency, ice cover, water depth, ambient temperature, wind direction, and substrate type) influence Long-tailed Duck habitat selection while overwintering at Lake Ontario. The results from this study will identify what areas may be more sensitive to offshore industrial wind turbine development and should be avoided as a step towards the conservation of overwintering habitats for Long-tailed Ducks and other waterfowl species with similar wintering strategies.
Gracious support has been provided my many collaborative partners, including: Sea Duck Joint Venture, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Wildlife Habitat Canada, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, US Geological Survey, Toronto Zoo, and Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Tundra Swan Mid-winter Surveys
On December 6th, 2012, Long Point Waterfowl completed their portion of the Over-Winter Productivity Survey for Eastern Population Tundra Swans. The survey was completed by Long Point Waterfowl graduate students Taylor Finger and Katelyn Weaver. Swan numbers in Ontario are recorded at Long Point, Lake St. Clair, and Eastern Lake Ontario (around Prince Edward County). In total there were approximately 2,500 Eastern Population Tundra Swans recorded within Ontario this December.
Biology Graduate Research Forum
Long Point Waterfowl M.Sc. students, Taylor Finger, Lena Vanden Elsen and Katelyn Weaver, attended Western University’s Biology Graduate Research Forum on Saturday, October 20th with their poster presentations. The event was a success with presentations by Western graduate students throughout the day, culminated by a poster session in which our very own graduate student, Katelyn Weaver, took home the award for best poster.
Scholarships Awarded to 2 LPW Students
Katelyn Weaver and Philip Wilson, Long Point Waterfowl Graduate Students, were recipients of prestigious scholarships from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada for the 2012-2013 funding period.
Katelyn, M.Sc. Candidate, received the Canadian Graduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for a 12 month period in May, 2012.
Philip, M.Sc. Candidate with Long Point Waterfowl, received the Industrial Post Graduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for a 24 month period in June, 2012. Philip was also the recipient of a research grant from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters for 2012-2013.
Long Point Waterfowl M.Sc. student, Lena Vanden Elsen, volunteered with Ducks Unlimited Canada on their Pintail duckling survival study in southeastern Saskatchewan this June.
Katelyn Weaver, MSc Candidate with Long Point Waterfowl, volunteered with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources on a nesting ecology project on Akimiski Island in May and June of 2012.
Philip Wilson co-lead a group of twenty 3rd and 4th year students from various Universities across Canada on a field ecology course in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York in May 2012.
Everett Hanna, Long Point Waterfowl Ph.D. Candidate, attended the Georgian Bay Stewardship Council at the Tower Hill Museum in Parry Sound, Ontario on May 16th, 2012.
Long Point Waterfowl staff and graduate students attended the National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress from May 27th – 31st in Ottawa.
Long Point Waterfowl attended and presented at the Long Point Biosphere Research Forum on March 26, 2012 with many other local conservation groups. Both Long Point Waterfowl graduate students and employees presented current research pertaining to waterfowl and wetlands in the Great Lakes region.
Everett Hanna, Long Point Waterfowl Ph.D. Candidate, presented his graduate research on sandhill cranes on Monday, March 19th at the Hamilton Naturalists Club in Burlington, Ontario.
Philip Wilson attended and accepted an award at the 84th Annual OFAH Fish and Wildlife Conference on Saturday, March 17th.
Everett Hanna attended and presented at the OFAH Zone D Annual Meeting in January 2012. At this meeting Everett discussed his Ph.D. project on sandhill cranes and received funding for the upcoming year.
Long-tailed Duck Trapping
Ted Barney, Long Point Waterfowl’s Biologist, and Phillip Wilson, M.Sc. candidate with Long Point Waterfowl, along with many other volunteers, caught Long-tailed Ducks this March in the Hamilton Harbour and Prince Edward County. They were able to implant the remaining Platform Transmitter Terminal (PTT) satellite transmitters in 19 Long-tailed Ducks, banding over 100 birds. Implanted birds will be monitored to develop temporal and spatial models of habitat use and selection by these ducks.
Long Point Waterfowl Staff and Student Involvement 2011
Ted Barney and Dr. Michael Schummer, Long Point Waterfowl Scientist, assisted the Georgian Bay’s Women’s Outdoors Club with their second annual Long Point Bay all women’s hunt the last weekend in October. The 10 women in attendance spent their nights at our Research and Education Centre and went out during the days with local hunting guides and volunteers to explore the Long Point marshes.
Ted Barney assisted with Long Point Waterfowlers’ Association’s 2011 fall Special Youth Hunt. For more information on this Youth Hunt please see the attached form.
Dr. Michael Schummer and 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.
Ted Barney, attended and set-up a display at Point Mouillee’s Waterfowl Festival September 10th-11th, 2011.
Dr. Michael Schummer attended and presented at the Midwest Bird Conservation and Monitoring Conference in Illinois Beach and Conference Center, Zion, IL on August 3, 2011.
Mid-winter Waterfowl Survey & Lower Great Lakes January Waterfowl Survey
The mid-winter Waterfowl Survey (MWWS) has been conducted annually in North America since 1935. This survey was established to provide waterfowl managers with an index to the relative abundance and distribution of wintering waterfowl in portions of North America. This survey is flown during the first week of January and encompasses ice-free shorelines, rivers and other wetlands. In the lower Great Lakes, the MWWS is flown along the shorelines of Lakes Ontario, Erie and St. Clair and along the Niagara, Detroit and St. Clair rivers. Long Point Waterfowl in collaboration with the Canadian Wildlife Service have been flying the mid-winter survey since 1998.
In 2002, Long Point Waterfowl initiated the Lower Great Lakes January Waterfowl Survey to better index over-wintering populations of waterfowl in this region. This survey includes the entire shoreline (Canadian and American sides) of Lakes Ontario, Erie and St. Clair and the Niagara, Detroit and portions of the St. Lawrence River. Long Point Waterfowl works in collaboration with the Canadian Wildlife Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to fly and summarize indices of over-wintering waterfowl populations. Ted Barney and Phillip Wilson flew the surveys for Long Point Waterfowl in 2012.
Sandhill Crane Fall Population Survey
In early October 2011, Long Point Waterfowl coordinated a second annual provincial Sandhill Crane fall population survey in the North Shore Region. With assistance from Ministry of Natural Resources and Canadian Wildlife Service technicians, Ph.D. Candidate from the University of Western Ontario, Everett Hanna, acted as team leader surveying roost sites from Sault Ste. Marie, ON. and St. Joseph Island in the west to Massey and Manitoulin Island in the east. Additional roost sites were also surveyed in the Timmins and Long Point areas. Long Point Waterfowl coordinated the first broad-scale population estimate in early October 2009. The population estimates produced from these surveys represent critical data that will be used by Canadian Wildlife Service in making Sandhill Crane population management decisions in the province of Ontario. In the United States, the states of Tennessee and Kentucky have recently proposed fall hunting seasons. Tennessee temporarily rejected the proposal based on the need for long-term population trend data.. Kentucky is currently finalizing their plan for a fall harvest during 2011.
Long Point Waterfowl has been conducting the mid-summer Mute Swan survey since 2005. The mid-summer Mute Swan survey is flown every 3 years and is used to estimate Mute Swan populations and productivity (i.e. number of young produced and the number of young/breeding pair). This survey also monitors the expansion of this non-native waterfowl species throughout North America and the lower Great Lakes. Results from the Great Lakes survey (Canadian side) have shown that Mute Swan populations continue to increase (increased from 2,894 birds in 2005 to 3,062 in 2011) and their range within the lower Great Lakes. Control of Mute Swans is currently taking place in many U.S. states and proposals to de-list Mute Swans from protection in Ontario have been submitted. The mid-summer Mute Swan survey helps to monitor the success of these control initiatives and can provide a basis for control in areas where Mute Swans are continuing to expand. Ted Barney, Katelyn Weaver (Long Point Waterfowl employee) and Tori Edwards (Long Point Waterfowl volunteer) flew this year’s Mute Swan survey in August 2011.
Recently, Long Point Waterfowl has been contributing to the annual eastern population Tundra Swan productivity survey. This survey is conducted annually in December and provides an estimate of the population and productivity of the eastern population of Tundra Swans. The eastern population Tundra Swan productivity survey is a ground-based survey and results contribute to the management of this species. As such, results from this survey contribute to establishing the annual harvest allocation of eastern population Tundra Swans. Dr. Michael Schummer and Taylor Finger, Long Point Waterfowl graduate student, performed this year’s Tundra Swan productivity survey December 1st.