QCBS Students

Natalie Thimot

McGill University
M.Sc. candidate

Supervisor: Kyle Elliott
Start: 2015-09-01
End: 2017-05-01

Conspecific nest parasitism in Red-breasted Mergansers
Conspecific brood parasitism (CBP) is an alternative reproductive strategy that is common in waterfowl where a female (parasite) lays eggs in the nest of another female (host) of the same species. An important factor in the dynamics of CBP is the parasites' host choice. I propose to determine which cues parasites use when selecting a host in a population of Red-breasted Mergansers nesting on barrier islands in Kouchibouguac National Park, NB. I will examine whether they lay their eggs in the nests of kin (which may increase inclusive fitness), or if they seek out nests that appear to be safer from predation. This research will increase our understanding of the population dynamics of breeding waterfowl.