NSERC CGS-M Student (May 2020 – Present)
North America’s songbirds are in rapid decline. Populations that are associated with agriculturally viable habitats such as native grasslands are particularly vulnerable. Many agricultural landowners across southern Ontario are involved in efforts to increase the ecosystem services on their properties, and in doing so have restored vibrant wildlife habitats. My MSc research will examine bird diversity across southern Ontario farmlands with varying levels of habitat restoration. Additionally, I will link bird diversity with the insect diversity recorded on these farms. How bird diversity is changing in response to the changing agricultural landscape in southern Ontario will provide an important look at the success of conservation efforts that seek to improve agricultural ecosystem services. My research will also provide insight into diversity at higher trophic levels that are often left unexplored as well as identify connections to lower trophic levels.