Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Ecology and management of Lesser Scaup

Banded drake Lesser Scaup


June 2001 - December 2014


This is a long-term multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary, and multi-agency project that is international in scope with overall goals of testing hypotheses explaining the long-term population decline of Lesser Scaup in North America and providing new information and techniques useful to wildlife managers for reversing the population decline. The project is focused at several biological levels, including investigation of physiology (nutrition, diets, lipid storage), behavior (habitat selection, foraging behavior, migration flight parameters), and estimating vital rates (survival and body condition effects). Dr. Afton is principal investigator and currently leads a team of volunteer students and other collaborators, both governmental and non-governmental, that are working cooperatively on the project. The project has been funded directly or indirectly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regions 2 and 3 through the Gulf Coast Joint Venture, Prairie Pothole Joint Venture and the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Region Joint Venture; North Dakota Game and Fish Department; Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Ducks Unlimited Inc.; Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; Des Moines County Partners for Conservation Foundation; Mississippi Valley Calling Association; Kibbe Biological Field Station of Western Illinois University; Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Tri Oak Foods; Cargill Corporation; Missouri Department of Conservation; Des Moines and Louisa County Conservation Boards; and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 101

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 154

Post Docs: 55

University Staff: 241

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 695

Scientific Publications: 1962

Presentations: 4417



  • Alan AftonPrincipal Investigator
  • Michael AnteauStudent

Funding Agencies

  • Des Moines County, IA - Partners for Conservation Foundation
  • Ducks Unlimited SRO
  • Ducks Unlimnited GPRO
  • Iowa Department of Natrural Resources
  • Minnesota Waterfowl Association
  • Mississippi Valley Callers Association
  • North Dakota Game & Fish Department
  • USFWS Region 3
  • USFWS Region 4


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey