The IPE Program

The IPE program provides fellowship support for a cohort of graduate students to holistically tackle issues in pollinator health and ecology. Fellows are expected to develop integrative research, education and outreach programs that span multiple disciplines - from genomics to land management – and interface with diverse stakeholder groups. Additional funding is provided to conduct research with international collaborators. Fellows will develop skills to respond to current and emerging challenges in pollinator health, sustainability, agriculture, and conservation. The IPE Fellowship program no longer provides support for incoming students, although individuals interested in this program are encouraged to explore similar fellowship opportunities offered through the newly-formed Insect Biodiversity Center Fellowship Program.

Research Areas

  • Taxonomy and Systematics
  • Population Genetics
  • Genomics
  • Organismal Biology (physiology, toxicology, immunology and behavior)
  • Ecology and Land Management
  • Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management

Program Coordinator

Natalie Boyle

Participating Training Faculty

Etya Amsalem, David Biddinger, Shelby Fleischer, Christina Grozinger, Heather Hines, Margarita López-Uribe, Doug Miller, Harland Patch, Cristina Rosa, Ruud Schilder, John Tooker, Kelli Hoover, Jared Ali, and Michael Axtell

Funding

The IPE program is funded by a grant from the USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship (NNF) Grants Program (2017-38420-26766) and the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences Intercollege Graduate Program in Ecology. Additional support was provided by the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Strategic Network Initiative Program.Contact Christina Grozinger with any questions.

Current Fellows

This program was previously supported by funding from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Strategic Network Initiative Program. Current fellows include:

Graduated Fellows

Courses

Current Courses Offered

ENT 222 - Honey Bees and Humans
This course explores the fascinating biology of honey bees and some of the fundamental principles guiding modern beekeeping today. The intimate association between honey bees and human societies date back over 8,000 years, which has fostered a rich, nuanced and complex history binding the two through the ages and across the globe. Students will use foundational theories in scientific inquiry to think critically about and reflect on the goals, objectives and validity of various contemporary bee-related articles featured in the news in the form of a written project assignment and in-class discussions.h2This course is available for residential students every Fall, and is making its online debut in partnership with Penn State World Campus during Spring 2021.

ENT 497 - Managing Landscapes for Insect Conservation
Insects are critical pests of agricultural crops and natural resources, but also serve as keystone species for healthy ecosystems by providing pollination services, biological control of pests, and as decomposers of organic matter. Unfortunately, insect abundance and diversity are in decline, which threatens the stability of agricultural, natural, and urban ecosystems. The primary drivers of these declines include habitat fragmentation, pesticide use, and agricultural intensification. Targeted changes to plant communities or informed management/restoration efforts can have immediate, recognizable, and quantifiable effects on insect biodiversity. Everyone – including homeowners, urban planners, growers, and land managers – can participate in efforts to monitor, manage, and support insect populations. This course will introduce the science and practices that promote the biodiversity of insects, while providing instruction on implementing changes to local plant communities, habitat structure, and pest management strategies to support insect conservation.

ENT 497 - Introduction to Honey Bee and Mason Beekeeping
This Maymester summer course combines hands-on training in introductory beekeeping with classroom learning to provide an introductory crash course in bee biology and management. In this course, students will design and tend to their own solitary bee hotels, learn sustainable practices for solitary bee stewardship, manage their own individual honey bee colony, and explore the diversity and breadth of bee behaviors represented in both social and solitary species.

Beekeeping 101
Whether you are an experienced beekeeper, a new beekeeper, or thinking about starting a backyard beehive, Penn State Beekeeping 101 is a one-of-a-kind completely online learning experience.

Past Courses Offered

ENT497A Pollination Biology
Pollinators are critical components of natural and agricultural landscapes. This course provided students with broad insights into pollinator biology, evolution, economic importance, and conservation.

LARCH 497 Ecological Design Theory + Practice
Designers change the way we live in the world. They make decisions on a daily basis as to how and where elements are located in the landscape. This course merged ecological theory and practice with design expertise to help designers make better ecologically-informed design decisions.

LARCH 497A - Ecology and Field Identification of Central Appalachian Flora
This course was an introduction to the field identification and ecology of herbaceous and woody plants of the central Appalachian region.

ENT597 Global Perspectives in Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management
Reports of recent and alarming declines in insect biodiversity and abundance over the past two years have generated tremendous public concern, outrage, and speculation over the consequential repercussions for the safety and stability of our planet.  Through a series of live-streamed guest lectures, recorded and co-hosted by Penn State University and the University of Freiburg in Germany, students gained exposure to the contributions and perspectives of scientists, science advocates, and regulatory officials across the globe. The course delved into how socioeconomic and environmental policies, spanning disparate cultures and countries, can restrict or enable the adoption of novel and/or potentially controversial IPPM practices. Further, students learned how individuals are harnessing recent advances in transcriptomics, bioinformatics, and molecular biology to better understand the nature of and problems associated with maintaining global food security and ecosystem functions in modern agriculture. 

Research Awards

The Center for Pollinator Research offers two awards to support undergraduate and graduate research.h2The Apes Valentes Research Award supports student research in the summer (alternating between undergraduate and graduate students every year). The successful candidates will receive an award of up to $5000. Research, extension, education, and outreach projects related to all aspects of pollinator biology and health are encouraged. (Application information) (2019 Awardees)h2The Dutch Gold Honey Undergraduate Scholarship supports student research in the Fall semester, for $3000/student. This scholarship is awarded to undergraduates enrolled in the College of Agricultural Sciences who have completed or are registered for 300 and 400 level courses in Entomology. This award supports research in bee biology and health. (Application information)h2The students will work with faculty members from the Center. A listing of interested faculty members is below. Students should contact the faculty members they are interested in working with as they are developing their applications, since a letter of support from the faculty member is required.

Publications

Publications from our membership are summarized at the end of each calendar year. See the Publications page to reference previous years' publication records. This year's publications can be found on individual members' Google scholar pages or lab websites, which are hyperlinked on the Who We Are page.

Conference Materials

Presentation Materials from the International Conferences on Pollinator Biology, Heath and Policy