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Chris Merkord

An Endangered Academic Niche? University-Based Waterfowl Programs in the U.S. and Canada

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Students from Mississippi State University search for duck nests and explore the flora and fauna of northern prairie waterfowl breeding grounds during a spring field trip to the Ducks Unlimited Goebel Ranch in South Dakota. The university’s courses in waterfowl and wetlands ecology and management help prepare future biologists to study and conserve waterfowl species. Credit: Richard M. Kaminski
By Richard M. Kaminski
North American waterfowl could be in trouble if universities decrease or, worse yet, discontinue training specialists in waterfowl and their habitats. This potential threat is looming, given the continuing decline in university- based waterfowl programs in the United States and Canada and aging professors in this discipline.
I’ve observed and studied this decline for over a decade. ... What I found is a continuing downward trend in the number of faculty and programs focusing on waterfowl science and management, with an aging group of professors that may breach the employment pipeline for waterfowl scientists and managers between universities and employers.
This article was published in the latest issue of the Wildlife Professional and is available online here: http://news.wildlife.org/twp/2013-winter/an-endangered-academic-niche/

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