Event Title

Monarch Abundance Across and Urban Gradient

Location

CSU Ballroom

Start Date

18-4-2016 10:00 AM

End Date

18-4-2016 11:30 AM

Student's Major

Biological Sciences

Student's College

Science, Engineering and Technology

Mentor's Name

Christopher Ruhland

Mentor's Department

Biological Sciences

Mentor's College

Science, Engineering and Technology

Description

Declining populations of pollinators has been a significant issue in recent years, and the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is the face of many efforts to educate the public involving repercussions of pollinator loss. Monarch butterfly populations have decreased by 80-90% within the last two decades. Members of the milkweed genus (Asclepias spp.) serve as the obligate host plant for monarch eggs and larvae. Numerous monarch conservation efforts have been focused in cities, such as the establishment of pollinator gardens. However, urban areas contain many environmental stressors that may fail to support monarch reproduction and survival. To investigate the impact of urbanization on monarch abundance, we monitored nine populations of A. syriaca spanning an urban gradient in the Chicago region. We chose A. syriaca specifically because it is the most widely used monarch host plant and is widely found in both urban and rural areas. We found no significant difference in monarch presence along the gradient. We found an unexpected negative correlation (r = - 0.61) between milkweed density and monarch abundance. These results indicate there may be many environmental dynamics influencing monarch abundance beyond the discrete driver of urbanization. Additionally, these results suggest that urban pollinator gardens may prove as successful as rural milkweed populations in supporting monarchs despite the added stressors of the urban environment.

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Apr 18th, 10:00 AM Apr 18th, 11:30 AM

Monarch Abundance Across and Urban Gradient

CSU Ballroom

Declining populations of pollinators has been a significant issue in recent years, and the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is the face of many efforts to educate the public involving repercussions of pollinator loss. Monarch butterfly populations have decreased by 80-90% within the last two decades. Members of the milkweed genus (Asclepias spp.) serve as the obligate host plant for monarch eggs and larvae. Numerous monarch conservation efforts have been focused in cities, such as the establishment of pollinator gardens. However, urban areas contain many environmental stressors that may fail to support monarch reproduction and survival. To investigate the impact of urbanization on monarch abundance, we monitored nine populations of A. syriaca spanning an urban gradient in the Chicago region. We chose A. syriaca specifically because it is the most widely used monarch host plant and is widely found in both urban and rural areas. We found no significant difference in monarch presence along the gradient. We found an unexpected negative correlation (r = - 0.61) between milkweed density and monarch abundance. These results indicate there may be many environmental dynamics influencing monarch abundance beyond the discrete driver of urbanization. Additionally, these results suggest that urban pollinator gardens may prove as successful as rural milkweed populations in supporting monarchs despite the added stressors of the urban environment.

Recommended Citation

Thole, Desirea. "Monarch Abundance Across and Urban Gradient." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 18, 2016.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2016/poster-session-A/4