Each fall the monarch butterfly travels thousands of miles to spend the winter in the forests on 12 mountaintops in central Mexico. The monarch migration is the most spectacular two-way migration carried out by an insect.
The forests provide unique microclimatic conditions that allow monarchs to survive the winter. Forest degradation is putting this amazing migration in peril.
The abundance of monarchs shows a discouraging downward trend over the past 20+ years. Click on the graph to enlarge and on this link to read how the numbers were obtained.
In the Spotlight
We are happy to announce the two winners for the 2022 Brower Awards, Salvador Huitrón, from the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico and Darene Assadia from the University of Michigan!
Salvador is going to use historical information on the monarch butterfly colonies to analyze the social and economic variables that influence their winter habitat. He will also conduct surveys to prioritize the biophysical, social, and economic variables that may affect the vulnerability of monarch overwintering sites. Rounding up this research Salvador will model potential priority overwintering areas. MBF is happy to contribute to this effort to further improve our understanding of the monarch butterfly’s winter habitat.
Darene is going to quantify the role of the monarch’s olfactory and visual systems in locating nectar sources. Quantifying monarch perceptual ranges helps us understand how monarchs locate resources. Darene is posing several interesting experiments that will give us some insights on how vision and smell work to increase perceptual range in monarchs during foraging and whether monarch sensory cue perception changes in summer non-migrants and fall migrants. This work will be an excellent follow-up to the work conducted by past Brower awardee Libesha Anparasan.