Collin Ahrens

Collin Ahrens

Honorary Associate

Collin earned his PhD in 2011 while studying at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. There, he used mathematical models, genetic analysis and classic ecological experiments to decipher the population dynamics of the non-native grass Agrostis stolonifera in cultural landscapes throughout the north-eastern United States. As a Honorary Associate at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Collin is elucidating the population dynamics of rare and/or declining plant species occurring within the Victorian Volcanic Plain. Specifically, this project aims to understand the population genetics of Senecio macrocarpus (Large-fruit Fireweed), Comesperma polygaloides (Small Milkwort), Ptilotus macrocephalus (Featherheads) and Diuris species (Golden Moth Orchids). Collin is developing molecular markers for these four species with the goal of determining the genetic variation within and among intraspecific populations. The results will have practical uses that include guiding best conservation and management practices for naturally occurring and re-introduced populations.


  • Genetic structure of four grassland plants


  • Refereed journal articles

Ahrens, C.W. and James, E.A. (2016). Regional genetic structure and environmental variables influence our conservation approach for feather-heads (Ptilotus macrocephalus). Journal of Heredity, 107, 238–247

Ahrens, C.W. and James, E.A. (2016). Conserving the small milkwort, Comesperma polygaloides, a vulnerable subshrub in a fragmented landscape. Conservation Genetics, 17, 891–901.

Ahrens, C. and Auer, C. (2012). Annual glyphosate treatments alter growth of unaffected bentgrass (Agrostis) weeds and plant community composition. PLoS ONE 7, e50643. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050643

Ahrens, C. and Auer, C. (2012). Genetic relationship between cultivated and feral creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) in a cultural landscape. Weed Science 60, 583–588.

Ahrens, C., Chung, J., Meyer, T. and Auer, C. (2011). Agrostis (bentgrass) distribution survey and habitat suitability map support ecological risk assessment in cultural landscapes.Weed Science 59, 145–154.

Ahrens, C., Ecker, G. and Auer, C. (2011). The intersection of ecological risk assessment and plant communities: an analysis of Agrostis and Panicum species in the northeastern US.Plant Ecology 212, 1629–1642.