Trent Ph.D. candidate Maegwin Bonar’s groundbreaking research into what drives animal migration behaviour has received a huge lift in the form of a three-year 2018 National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship valued at $150,000.
“I feel incredibly honoured. This award will help me take my research to the next level and hopefully provide me with new and exciting opportunities in the future,” says Ms. Bonar, a Trent graduate student working under the co-supervision of Environmental and Life Sciences professor Dr. Aaron Shafer and Dr. Joseph Northrup of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
A Multi-Faceted Look at Migration
Ms. Bonar explains that her research objective is to develop a fuller understanding of animal migration “by untangling the effects of environmental conditions, physiology and genetics on this fundamental process.”
Using data collected from three migratory species – moose, mule deer, and mountain goat – the Winnipeg native is taking an original approach in understanding the drivers of migration behaviour, combining both ideas and techniques from multiple biology disciplines.
“My results will contribute to the understanding of migration behaviours in three species that are important for food security, tourism and culture in Canada, and whose populations are currently at risk as their migration routes become threatened due to climate change and habitat loss,” explains Ms. Bonar.
Research Excellence Made Possible at Trent
A past recipient of a Master’s NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship and an Atlantic Computation Excellence Network Fellowship while completing her M.Sc. in biology out of province, Ms. Bonar has nothing but good things to say about her Trent experience.
“I get to be on the cutting edge of the latest genomic research and I am able to work with state-of-the-art equipment,” she says, adding that working closely with MNR biologists has been equally fulfilling.
“I hope I can be an example to young women thinking about careers in the natural sciences.”