Sara Collins is a PhD supervised by Lenore Fahrig. In her own words:

Sara Collins with butterfly netMy research is on the 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.

Sara Collins holding a caterpillarAquatic 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 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.