MBF granted entomology MSc Student, Anna Skye Harnsberger from the Wisconsin Energy Institute and BS/MS student Cody Prouty from the University of Georgia the “Lincoln P. Brower Award” in April 2019.
Anna’s research is focused on understanding the effects of milkweed patch size and surrounding landscape on monarch presence and survival in the Upper Midwest United States. She will survey habitat characteristics and monarchs at 60 sites in Wisconsin that vary in patch size and the landscape context within which the patches exist. This will help her explore how monarch presence, density, and survivorship vary across sites to understand the effect of habitat size and isolation on monarch presence and survival. Recently, Anna presented a poster with her preliminary results.
Cody will research the sub-Lethal effects of neonicotinoids on the monarch’s behavior and physiology. Neurotoxic neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticides in North America and pose threats to non-target insects. Given demonstrated negative effects of neonicotinoids on bee learning, movement, and complex behaviors, a crucial need remains to study neonicotinoid effects on migratory insects like monarchs. This study will provide an understanding of the impacts of neonicotinoids on monarch behavior and physiology, including potential consequences for the long-distance migration of this iconic butterfly. On November, 2019 Cody presented a summary of his research so far. General results show that monarchs have fewer negative responses to neonicotinoids when exposed as adults than as caterpillars.