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Charles Fenster

Charles Fenster Photo


Professor / Director of Oak Lake Field Station / NRM Affiliate Professor

Office Building

Edgar S. McFadden Biostress Lab



Mailing Address

McFadden Biostress Laboratory 249B
Biology & Microbiology-Box 2140D
University Station
Brookings, SD 57007


Short CV. Aug. 2016.doc(71 KB)


Stuyvesant High School, NYC
Amherst College, Amherst, MA
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Academic Interests

Landscape Ecology

Awards and Honors

Executive Vice President SSE (2008-2010)
Treasurer AIBS (2016- 2018)


Examples of Support:

USGS 104 B. C. Fenster (co-PI), with J. Leffler, H. Nottebrock, H. Sieverding and J. Stone. Stormwater management and ecosystem health: The complementary role of green infrastructure in urban environments. $12,500. Starting date: 05/01/2018.

North Central Sun Grant (DOE). C. Fenster (PI), with J. Lundgren, A. Bachmann, T. Rand, J. Stone and H. Sieverding. Quantifying the contribution of native and non-native pollinators to Brassica carinata yield and B. carinata's impact on pollinator health. $140,000. Starting date: 01/01/2017.

NSF DDIG. C Fenster (PI) with J. Zhou, M. Dudash and E. Zimmer. Quantifying pollinator mediated sexual conflict in Silene stellata. $18,000. starting date: 07/01/2015.

The National Science Foundation, C. Fenster (PI), “Collaborative: RUI: The natural history of mutations: sequence and fitness data from Arabidopsis thaliana mutation accumulation lines” Charles B. Fenster, Principal Investigator, Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Matthew T. Rutter, Co-Principal Investigator, Department of Biology, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC. Detlef Weigel, Senior Personnel, Department of Molecular Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany. Stephen Wright, Senior Personnel, Dept. of Ecology and Evolution, University of Toronto. C. Fenster (PI) $644,734 plus M. Rutter $115,019 (PI on RUI). Starting date: July 15th 2013 (four years). DEB 1257902

Area(s) of Research

Evolutionary biologist Charles Fenster uses plants as model organisms to quantify evolutionary process. His main research themes are the genetics of adaptation, the contribution of mutation to selection response and quantifying pollinator-mediated selection on floral form and function. He is applying this work towards the conservation genetics of small populations through genetic rescue, the role of mutations in the evolution of pesticide and herbicide resistance and to sustainable agriculture through the positive interactions between oil crops and native pollinators and honey bees.

Applications of Research

The equations describe evolutionary process from the level of populations to lineage diversification, and frame the questions addressed by biologist Charles Fenster. His research focuses on the genetics of the evolutionary process and describing natural selection on floral form and in turn how floral form contributes to the generation of new species. Basic principles learned from these approaches have application towards conservation genetics and sustainable agriculture.



Charlie in Google Scholar