Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Research Laboratory Friday, 24 November 2017 2:09 am  
Sara Collins
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Sara Collins

Degree in progress:
Supervisor: Dr. Lenore Fahrig


My Research:


Influence of Agricultural Landscape Structure on Aquatic Biodiversity and Water Quality in Farmland


Agricultural intensification is a primary driver of biodiversity declines across taxa, and land use change for agriculture has been identified as the major threat to fresh water systems and aquatic biodiversity. A large proportion of Ontario's natural wetlands for example, have been drained to create agricultural fields. Globally, wetlands are considered one of the most valuable resources per unit area, and wetland loss impacts regional biodiversity, hydrology, and natural water purification services. Aquatic environments in farmland are important for supporting local biodiversity, and performing important functions such as nutrient retention, flood control, and mitigation of chemical contamination. Data is currently lacking on how management of the terrestrial environment influences these valuable aquatic systems. The purpose of my research is to identify agricultural landscape patterns and local management practices that support biodiversity and mitigate agrichemical contamination in farmland aquatic habitats in eastern Ontario. It is currently unknown how biodiversity in general can be enhanced by altering landscape pattern within farming systems, and studies addressing such questions have been suggested to be high priority in conservation biology. The results of my research will identify agricultural regimes and landscape patterns that support aquatic communities on farms. Recommendations on how best to manage these systems will be derived from results.

 
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