Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science




Sustainable Agriculture; Entomology

First Advisor

John C Tyndall


In recent decades, several families of pollinators have experienced significant population losses in North America, including the Monarch butterfly, honey bee, and a several native bee species. Pollination via honey bees alone is worth over $15 billion per year attracting considerable attention to developing solutions to reverse the current trend. Potential causes for this decline are habitat loss and fragmentation, insecticide use, and pests and diseases. Declining pollinator communities in the Midwest have triggered research on effective conservation methods that can be integrated into an agricultural landscape dominated by corn and soybean row crops. There are many conservation practices with cost-share opportunities for farmers available through the Farm Bill, though many focus primarily on improving water quality while only one was contrived with pollinators as the priority. Our first study was designed to investigate the impacts of one water-quality centered practice, prairie strips, on communities of monarchs, native bees, honey bees, and syrphids in central Iowa. The results of this study could be used to inform policy-makers, conservationists, and agricultural producers alike, providing valuable insight into the multi-faceted effects of prairie strips. Understanding these impacts could assist in targeted conservation, specifically where ecosystem services (i.e. pollination for crop production or apiary location) may be of need. In a second study, we developed spatial analytical methods to explore potential landscape-level effects of land use on abundance and diversity within insect pollinator communities. In addition, we analyzed Conservation Reserve Program’s CP-42 patch acreage and connectivity on the state and county level to better understand the organization of this land cover on the Iowa landscape. The overall aim of this project was to broaden our knowledge of the impacts of native vegetation, specifically prairie strips, on a variety of pollinator guilds, thereby informing future pollinator conservation efforts in the Midwest


Copyright Owner

Caroline Jaye Murray



File Format


File Size

66 pages