A wildlife study of an endangered waterfowl species in her native Puerto Rico is earning a Mississippi State graduate student recognition from an international organization.
Marisel Lopez-Flores, a master's degree student in wildlife and fisheries under the direction of Francisco J. Vilella, is being honored by the Neotropical Ornithological Congress for the best student research presentation at the organization's 2003 assembly. Her report was among 100 scientific studies by students from nearly 30 countries presented at this year's meeting in Puyehue, Chile.
Titled "White-cheeked Pintail Hen and Brood Survival in Wetlands of Eastern Puerto Rico,” Lopez's study described her investigations at the Humacao Nature Reserve. Her work was supported by a Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration grant through the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources.
The duck is common throughout the West Indies and Central and South America. Found primarily in mangrove swamps, salt or brackish lagoons and tidal creeks and estuaries, it currently is at risk due to habitat loss and illegal hunting, among other factors.
Founded in 1987, the Neotropical Ornithological Congress includes members from around the world. In addition to meeting every four years, the organization publishes an annual journal of scholarly articles.
Prior to enrolling at MSU, Lopez received a bachelor's degree in wildlife management at the University of Puerto Rico.