Charles Fenster
Professor Emeritus

Research Interests

My work is broadly conceptually driven, focused on the elucidation of evolutionary process, using plants as model organisms. Because of the broad perspective of my research, I use a combination of approaches incorporating statistical, ecological, quantitative genetic and molecular marker-based techniques to address the questions of my research program. While some of my work reflects greenhouse or laboratory-based studies, for the most part my studies are conducted in the wild, where the connection between genotype and fitness, as mediated by natural selection can be quantified. Although much of my research focus is quantifying the input of genetic variation into the evolutionary process, albeit studied in the context of natural selection, there are many interesting details of natural selection that are relatively unknown, that if understood would provide much greater insight into the underpinnings of the evolutionary process. To examine the details of natural selection, I use flowers as models of adaptation. While the intellectual focus of the lab is on understanding fundamental issues of evolutionary biology, our work also provides insight for important concerns in conservation genetics and invasive species biology. I begin by summarizing ongoing projects and finish with a description of past projects, and questions that remain from those completed projects.


Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1988. Plant evolution biology; mating systems; epistasis.

All Publications

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Latest Publications via PubMed

Simpson AG,Wing SL,Fenster CB
Am J Bot. 2022 Apr 21;:. doi: 10.1002/ajb2.1855. Epub 2022 Apr 21
Stewart AB,Diller C,Dudash MR,Fenster CB
New Phytol. 2022 Feb 23;:. doi: 10.1111/nph.18050. Epub 2022 Feb 23
Monroe JG,Srikant T,Carbonell-Bejerano P,Becker C,Lensink M,Exposito-Alonso M,Klein M,Hildebrandt J,Neumann M,Kliebenstein D,Weng ML,Imbert E,Ågren J,Rutter MT,Fenster CB,Weigel D
Nature. 2022 Feb;602(7895):101-105. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04269-6. Epub 2022 Jan 12
Nottebrock H,Burchfield EK,Fenster CB
Am J Bot. 2022 Jan;109(1):4-8. doi: 10.1002/ajb2.1809. Epub 2022 Jan 18
Shirsekar G,Devos J,Latorre SM,Blaha A,Queiroz Dias M,González Hernando A,Lundberg DS,Burbano HA,Fenster CB,Weigel D
Mol Biol Evol. 2021 Dec 9;38(12):5328-5344. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msab268. Epub
Weng ML,Ågren J,Imbert E,Nottebrock H,Rutter MT,Fenster CB
Evolution. 2021 Feb;75(2):330-348. doi: 10.1111/evo.14152. Epub 2020 Dec 31
Zhou J,Reynolds RJ,Zimmer EA,Dudash MR,Fenster CB
Evolution. 2020 Jul;74(7):1321-1334. doi: 10.1111/evo.13965. Epub 2020 Jun 11
Weng ML,Becker C,Hildebrandt J,Neumann M,Rutter MT,Shaw RG,Weigel D,Fenster CB
Genetics. 2019 Feb;211(2):703-714. doi: 10.1534/genetics.118.301721. Epub 2018 Dec 4
Fenster CB,Ballou JD,Dudash MR,Eldridge MDB,Frankham R,Lacy RC,Ralls K,Sunnucks P
Yale J Biol Med. 2018 Dec;91(4):491-501. . Epub 2018 Dec 21
Zhou J,Zimmer EA,Fenster CB,Dudash MR
Am J Bot. 2018 Oct;105(10):1643-1652. doi: 10.1002/ajb2.1158. Epub 2018 Oct 1
Zhou J,Dudash MR,Zimmer EA,Fenster CB
Ann Bot. 2018 Sep 24;122(4):593-603. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcy091. Epub
Simpson AG,Wagner PJ,Wing SL,Fenster CB
BMC Evol Biol. 2018 May 8;18(1):69. doi: 10.1186/s12862-018-1174-5. Epub 2018 May 8
Rutter MT,Roles AJ,Fenster CB
Ecol Evol. 2018 Jun;8(11):5575-5585. doi: 10.1002/ece3.4085. Epub 2018 May 2
Park B,Rutter MT,Fenster CB,Symonds VV,Ungerer MC,Townsend JP
Genetics. 2017 Aug;206(4):2105-2117. doi: 10.1534/genetics.116.199190. Epub 2017 May 26
Zhou J,Dudash MR,Fenster CB,Zimmer EA
Appl Plant Sci. 2016 Dec;4(12):. pii: apps.1600117. doi: 10.3732/apps.1600117. Epub 2016 Dec 8
Stearns FW,Fenster CB
Ecol Evol. 2016 Dec;6(23):8366-8374. doi: 10.1002/ece3.2558. Epub 2016 Oct 24
O'Meara BC,Smith SD,Armbruster WS,Harder LD,Hardy CR,Hileman LC,Hufford L,Litt A,Magallón S,Smith SA,Stevens PF,Fenster CB,Diggle PK
Proc Biol Sci. 2016 May 11;283(1830):. pii: 20152304. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2304. Epub
Roles AJ,Rutter MT,Dworkin I,Fenster CB,Conner JK
Evolution. 2016 May;70(5):1039-50. doi: 10.1111/evo.12913. Epub 2016 Apr 27
Stearns FW,Fenster CB
Evolution. 2016 Feb;70(2):495-501. doi: 10.1111/evo.12858. Epub 2016 Feb 2