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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Assessment of Monarch Butterfly Habitat and Productivity in Urban Spaces: Methods and Approaches

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AUTHORS: Nigel Golden, University of Massachusetts - Amherst; Abigail Derby Lewis, Chicago Field Musuem

ABSTRACT: The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) population in North America is experiencing long-term declines tied to a variety of causes, including pollution, loss of milkweed, land use change, and climate change on its over-wintering habitat in Central Mexico. Empirical evidence indicates that these declines are driven primarily by habitat loss coupled with the increase in usage of glyphosate-resistant crops. Preliminary research results from the interagency and interdisciplinary Monarch Conservation Science Partnership indicates that stabilizing monarch populations will require a "conservation strategy across all land types" with a focus on all land use sectors, including and particularly urban areas. In summer 2016, the Field Museum of Natural History initiated an Urban Monarch Landscape Conservation Design with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and other institutions to explore systematically how urban areas can contribute to monarch butterfly conservation and to ultimately determine what are the ecological and social influences that affect monarch productivity. The project, “A Monarch’s View of Urban Landscapes” aims to enhance the coordination of monarch conservation within Chicago, IL, and three other metropolitan areas (St. Paul-Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Austin) along the I-35 migratory flyway. To accomplish this, the Field Museum created and used four different collection methods to develop a model that estimates habitat contribution by different land use sectors. Using a mixture of natural area inventories, metro-transect sampling, qualitative interview site, and productivity data, we estimated how Chicago can contribute towards monarch butterfly conservation. This presentation will describe what those methods are, lessons learned from sampling in urban areas, and where to go from here.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Lancaster Ballroom