Charlie Patel

Loughborough University


Quantifying the hidden diversity and conservation value of sediment detention ponds in relation to agri-environment schemes (AES)


  • Dr. Kate Mathers, Loughborough University
  • Prof. Paul Wood, Loughborough University
  • Dr. Jessica Durkota, Environment Agency
  • Prof Adrian Collins, Rothamsted Research

PhD Summary

The project aims to develop an understanding of diversity and conservation of artificial ponds known as sediment detention ponds in relation to agri-environment schemes. Agriculture has significantly damaged aquatic habitats through in filling of ponds and increased soil erosion from the landscape. To prevent further degradation sediment detention ponds have been created through funded governmental schemes known as agri-environment. Sediment detention ponds intercept sediments, nutrients and other chemicals from entering watercourses preventing pollution. The ecology, diversity and conservation value of sediment detention ponds have not been studied as these may provide a new area of focus for conservation and biodiversity protection.

Previous activity

I was working as a consultant aquatic ecologist at AECOM undertaking various surveys for water companies, highway schemes and local councils. These surveys included macroinvertebrate sampling/identification, fish surveys, benthic diatoms, and many other aquatic surveys.

Why did you choose doctoral research?

The decision to switch to a PhD was made as it is something new and challenging in an environment, I can develop my own skills by having control of a singular project which I oversee.

Why did you choose CENTA?

I have been interested in a CENTA studentship for a while and keeping tabs on available projects. The training opportunities that CENTA offer is valuable as it allows internal development within CENTA PhD students.

Future plans

I believe this will help be to explore a new dimension as I have gained industry experience by turning my attention to research it will able me to gain new skills that I have not yet developed or am limited in. I would like to explore the chance to work abroad whether it is in industry or post-doc research providing me another new experience.