Pollinators are essential in agricultural landscapes

Here is an article about our research at SDSU – enjoy the reading!




Rapid evolution of intraspecific genetic variation fosters population survival of A. thaliana in the wild

I am going to present some exciting results about mutational effects on spatial interactions in A. thaliana populations with consequences for community dynamics at the SFE Meeting in Rennes (22.-25.October 2018). Meet me there! But you can check out my Poster already here!


Field Season South Dakota 2018

The second field season of our research has already started and we are observing pollinators! We have a great team together that works hard in endless skies, sunny and lovely landscapes of South Dakota – not too bad! We will collect data to assess the functional role of native and domesticated pollinators in agricultural ecosystems, because they mediate interactions between species and facilitate ecological and economic impacts. Thus, understanding the functional impacts of pollinator species on plant populations in agricultural ecosystems is critical given ongoing pollinator declines. Our research will focus on a mechanistic understanding of plant-pollinator interactions in agricultural landscapes that is important to quantify the ecological and economic impact.

Please check out some of our pictures I have taken recently during bee hive observations! If you are more interested in our research, please don’t hesitate to contact me! @henning.nottebrock[at]sdstate.edu



Please also check out this video by Cable Hardin from SDSU! A wonderful and amazing animation about the importance of bee pollinators for sustainable agriculture inspired by http://www.bluedasher.farm. It tells you the story of contemporary agriculture and a need for change in only 2 min by a bee and its box! Enjoy!



Master’s Research Degree opportunity in the CB Fenster lab, South Dakota State University: Pollination Biology in Agricultural Ecosystems

Starting Date: Preferably mid of July 2018


Pollinators play a key role in ecosystem functioning because they mediate interactions between species and facilitate ecological and economic impacts. However, pollinator health is globally declining in agricultural landscapes largely due to the use of insecticides, reduced habitat and lack of nutritional resources. The student opportunity is to participate with a team 1) to understand how pollination services contribute to ecosystem functioning, enhancing ecosystem services including maximizing crop yield and 2) transfer this role of pollinator services to policy development aimed at enhancing pollinator health. This team, in addition to myself, includes insect ecologists (Jon Lundgren), plant landscape ecologists (Henning Nottebrock) and economists (James Stone, Heidi Sieverding).We are using Brassica carinata and other flowering crops, to study plant-pollinator interactions in an agricultural ecosystem. Specifically, we will quantify the parameters that maximize ecosystem functioning, thus increasing ecosystem services. e.g., maximized carinata productivity and pollinator-associated ecosystem services resulting in maximized honey production.


Location: Department of Biology and Microbiology, South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota. Brookings is a small, but vibrant community with easy access to culture and the outdoors. More information about the Department of Biology and Microbiology at SDSU can be found at:




Requirements: The ideal student should embrace field-based research as well as have some background or interest in large data and or landscape approaches. Most importantly, you should be passionate about biology and the questions being pursed at the CBFenster lab. Specifically for this project, one should have an interest in sustainable agriculture and the consequences of various land-use polices for ecosystem services. Generally, students who work with me either have or develop a broad understanding of statistics. Foreign students need to meet English language requirements.


I encourage you to contact me or Henning, if interested at: charles.fenster@sdstate.edu or henning.nottebrock@sdstate.edu


More information can be found at the CBFenster lab website and project colleagues:


Charlie: https://charlesbfenster.wordpress.com/

Henning: https://henningnottebrock.wordpress.com/

Jon: http://bluedasher.farm/


Please include in your email:

  • brief description of your research interests
  • concrete evidence of interest in this project
  • experience related to this project
  • CV


Funding options are available for both US and International students.