Monarch Conservation Webinar Series
The MJV is partnering with the USFWS to develop a series of webinars on monarch biology, monitoring, and conservation. If you have any suggestions for webinar topics or presenters, please email Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The webinars will all be recorded and available for viewing after each is completed.
August 31, 2017: There and Back Again: Compasses Monarchs Use, To and From Mexico (Dr. Patrick Anthony Guerra, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cincinnati)
How do monarch butterflies orient southwards during the fall migration in order to reach the overwintering sites in Mexico? How do monarchs re-orient during the spring remigration in order to return northwards? This webinar will provide an overview of how monarchs use various sensory-based orientation mechanisms for directionality. In particular, the webinar focuses on describing how monarchs employ two types of compasses that they can use to help guide them during migration, namely a time-compensated sun compass and an inclination-based magnetic compass. In addition to reviewing our basic knowledge of monarch navigation, this webinar will also describe how the use of these compasses by monarchs is potentially now under threat due to contemporary environmental stressors, such as climate change and sensory noise pollution.
July 20, 2017: The Three Pillars of High Quality Pollinator Habitat Management (Peter Berthelsen, The Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund)
Ever felt like you struggled to establish high quality pollinator habitat or achieve the results you envisioned? This presentation will cover the three most important considerations that will determine your habitat project success and the long-term benefits of the project. This presentation will provide specific habitat recommendations from start to finish that help you produce the best results from your habitat efforts.
April 06, 2017: Solar with Monarch Habitat: a Win-Win in the Land of Milkweed and Honey (Eric Udelhofen, OneEnergy Renewables; Rob Davis, Fresh Energy)
This webinar will discuss the science and safety of photovoltaic solar and the growing trend of planting pollinator habitat under and around ground-mounted solar panels. In 2016 alone, nearly 2,500 acres of solar sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin were seeded with millions of native flowers and grasses including black-eyed susans, side-oats grama, purple prairie clover, butterfly milkweed, and calico aster.
March 23, 2017: Monarch Parasitoids (Carl Stenoien, University of Minnesota Monarch Lab; Dane Elmquist, University of Minnesota Monarch Lab and Monarch Larva Monitoring Project)
Most parasitoids are tiny wasps and flies that reproduce by laying eggs on or inside of other insects. Those offspring develop by eating the host from the inside, eventually killing it. Parasitoids lead lifestyles that may seem alien to us, but they are an extremely diverse and important part of our ecosystems. Almost every species of herbivorous insect can become a host for at least one, but sometimes dozens, of species of parasitoids. Even chemically defended monarch butterfly caterpillars and chrysalides are not immune to parasitoids. PhD Candidate Carl Stenoien from the UMN Monarch Lab will discuss recent research on a tiny parasitoid wasp, Pteromalus cassotis, that preys on monarch pupae. Dane Elmquist, former assistant program coordinator for the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, will discuss new discoveries of interactions between monarch larvae and tachinid flies. Many of these findings were made possible by monarch citizen scientists
February 23, 2017: Designing and Creating Outdoor Signs for Monarch Waystations and Pollinator Gardens (Rich Dolesh, National Recreation and Park Association; Angie Edwards, Fossil Industries; Pete Carroll, MD Nat'l Capital Park & Planning commission, Prince George's County Maryland)
Do you want to engage and educate the public about the value of your Waystation and pollinator gardens? Interpretive and educational signage is very valuable in communicating the importance of why it is important to create monarch and other pollinator habitat, but the task of designing, creating, and installing attractive and durable outdoor signs is daunting for many. This webinar will provide valuable information on how to design and create outdoor signs. Topics will cover sign types and styles, relative costs of types of signs, examples of effective sign layout and design, recommendations for materials choices, suggestions for how to work with a professional sign company, ideas for low-cost alternatives, and how to utilize in-house capacity and volunteer resources. Quality signage can make your waystation or pollinator garden appealing and interesting while serving the valuable purpose of educating the public on what your garden does and why it is important.
February 16, 2017: Designing Seed Mixes for Native Habitat (Justin Meissen, Tallgrass Prairie Center Research and Restoration Program)
A well-designed seed mix is an essential component of any native habitat restoration project. The seeds we use in each mix ultimately define the character of restored vegetation, and determine how well a restoration project can meet its goals. In this webinar, we’ll cover the basic principles of seed mix design, review some of the tools currently available for designing seed mixes, and walk through several design examples using the Tallgrass Prairie Center’s Iowa Prairie Seed Calculator. The Iowa Prairie Seed Calculator (http://www.jamess.com/IowaPrairieSeed...) incorporates the core concepts of seed mix design with a user-friendly interface, taking seeding method, planting time, and planting site conditions into account to produce an ecologically appropriate seed mix ready to send to commercial seed producers.
January 26, 2017: Monarch Overwintering Biology (Emma Pelton, Xerces Society; Dr. Pablo Jaramillo, Monarch Butterfly Fund)
Monarch overwintering experts from both eastern and western populations of monarchs will discuss the ins and outs of monarch overwintering behavior, biology and migration. Monarchs are unique in the insect world for their long distance multi-generational migration and their incredible numbers in the oyamel fir forests of Mexico and scattered groves along California's Pacific coast. Learn about the "Goldilocks" conditions which make these forests just right for overwintering and what monarchs need to survive this season. Also, learn about the threats that these important forests (and the monarchs who rely on them) face and the questions left unanswered about monarch migration. Plus take a sneak peek at all the different ways humans try to count thousands and millions of monarchs each year!
December 20, 2016: Monarch Conservation Planning Tools (Jason Rohweder, US Geological Survey; Holly Holt, Monarch Joint Venture)
The eastern migratory population of monarch butterflies has declined by more than 80% over the last two decades. In support of the USGS' Monarch Conservation Science Partnership, Jason Rohweder and Wayne Thogmartin developed desktop decision support tools to help in conservation planning for the imperiled monarch butterfly. Desktop tools were developed that allow users to prioritize counties within the conterminous United States according to multiple input criteria important for monarch butterfly conservation. Additional tools were developed to model the anticipated number of milkweeds on the landscape based upon underlying land cover/land use characteristics. The user can alter the composition of these land cover/land use characteristics using a separate desktop tool to model gains and losses of milkweeds on the landscape under various conservation scenarios. These tools were first developed as desktop tools downloadable from the internet and now the county ranking tool and milkweed calculator are available as online tools that do not require any GIS software, only a web browser.
December 15, 2016: Monarchs and Climate Change (Kelly Nail, US Fish and Wildlife Service; Karen Oberhauser, University of Minnesota Monarch Lab)
We know that monarchs are negatively impacted by many human activities, including habitat degradation and loss, pesticide use, climate change, vehicular collisions, invasive species, and pathogen spread. Due to this long list of factors that affect monarch populations, it is difficult to determine the contributions of any single factor to their dwindling numbers. In this webinar, we will summarize the ways in which climate affects monarchs during all stages of their annual cycle of breeding, migrating, and overwintering. We’ll then review potential impacts of climate change on monarchs, summarizing a combination of lab and field studies, and modeling efforts. There will be plenty of time to ask questions, and we’ll provide links to published and online resources that will allow you to dig deeper into the fascinating topic of monarchs, weather, and climate.
October 04, 2016: Meet the Monarchs! (Cathy Downs, Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas; Karen Oberhauser, University of Minnesota Monarch Lab)
Join Dr. Karen Oberhauser, a scientist from the University of Minnesota, and Cathy Downs, a natural science educator from central Texas for this interactive webinar (for youth audiences). You will learn about the amazing monarchbutterflies and their unique long-distance migration. From their milkweed host plants to parasitoids that ail them, we will explore the complex life history of the species. In addition, you will learn how to get involved in your own school or backyard to help monarchs, and benefit many other wildlife species at the same time! Listen carefully, and don't forget to take notes; we will have a few pop quiz questions throughout the webinar!
August 31, 2016: Monarchs and Roadsides (Kyle Kasten, University of Minnesota Monarch Lab; Karen Oberhauser, University of Minnesota Monarch Lab; Jennifer Hopwood, Xerces Society; Ken Graeve, MN Department of Tranportation)
Tremendous amounts of habitat have been lost throughout the monarchs' range, primarily due to development and changing agricultural practices. While it may not be possible to restore the habitat that was lost in its entirety, there are many opportunities to enhance and restore habitat for monarchs and pollinators in marginal areas, such as roadsides. While mortality of these insects by vehicle collisions is a concern for many, it is thought that the benefits of roadside habitats outweigh the costs. This webinar will include background information on monarchs and pollinators in roadside habitats, key findings from a study of milkweed and monarch surveys along roadsides, and case studies and opportunities for Departments of Transportation.
June 16, 2016: Assessment of Exotic Milkweed and the Spread of Disease in Monarchs (Dr. Sonia Altizer, Professor & Associate Dean of Academic Affairs University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology; Ania Majewska, Ph.D. Candidate UofG Odum School of Ecology; Dara Satterfield, Ph.D. Candidate UofG Odum School of Ecology)
Monarch lovers know that planting milkweed in their gardens is a sure way to attract these familiar black and orange butterflies to their yards. Over 100 species of milkweed are native to the U.S. and Canada, yet the most commonly planted milkweed is a single, non-native species. Tropical milkweed (A. curassavica), also known as Mexican milkweed or blood flower, is attractive, easy to grow, and often the only milkweed available at garden centers and nurseries. Unlike most native milkweed species that enter dormancy in the fall, tropical milkweed persists longer and even grows year-round where temperatures remain mild, such as parts of the southwest and Gulf Coast, providing a continuous supply of nectar for adults and food for caterpillars. This can sustain year-round breeding of wild monarchs and lead to high transmission of a debilitating protozoan pathogen calledOphryocystis elektroscirrha (OE). In this webinar, researchers who have studied monarchs, OE and tropical milkweed in the laboratory and field will discuss (1) how tropical milkweed leads to the formation of resident (non-migratory) monarch populations in the southern US, and (2) consequences of this behavior for pathogen transmission, monarch migration, and mixing between resident and migrant monarchs. The presenters will also explore options for managing tropical milkweed gardens, and other ways to support monarchs conservation.
May 25, 2016: Monarch Conservation Science Partnership (Dr. Karen Oberhauser, University of Minnesota Monarch Lab; Ryan Drum, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Wayne Thogmartin, U.S. Geological Survey; Holly Holt, Monarch Joint Venture)
Monarch conservation will require the involvement of the governments, non-government organizations, and citizens of all three North American countries. It will also require that limited resources are spent in ways that are most likely to help monarchs. Monarch biologists, habitat conservation practitioners, and landscape scientists have been meeting for over two years to create a blueprint for ensuring that monarch conservation strategies are based on our best available science. This group has worked to create a target for monarch population numbers that will minimize risks of extinction, develop regional priorities for habitat protection and restoration, and identify the most important risks to monarch populations. In this webinar, we'll summarize the work of the Monarch Conservation Science Partnership, ending with concrete suggestions for local, regional, and continental action.
April 28, 2016: Southwestern Monarchs (Gail Morris, Southwest Monarch Study)
For many years the southwest United States was a monarch mystery, a place where monarchs were scarce and little known about their breeding and migration patterns. The Southwest Monarch Study opened new doors of understanding after tagging over 14,000 monarchs and monitoring breeding habitats across the region.This webinar will explore citizen science efforts primarily in Arizona but expanding to New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, the California deserts and western Colorado. Our results dispelled the earlier belief in a Rocky Mountain division in migration destination and also provided new information regarding abundant breeding habitats and small overwintering aggregations in the area. New monarch conservation partnerships working to expand habitats across the southwest will also be featured.
March 23, 2016: Growing Milkweed for Monarch Conservation (Chip Taylor, Monarch Watch)
As milkweed, the sole host plant for monarch butterflies, has diminished across the landscape, so have population numbers for the iconic butterfly. A broad scale effort involving many partners is needed to restore this habitat across North America to support monarchs and other wildlife. A key step in this process is increasing the availability of native milkweed plant materials, including seeds and plugs. In this webinar you will learn about regional native milkweed plant material needs, seed collection, processing, storage, stratification, germination, transplantation to plug cell, growing out, control of pests with biological control methods, site preparation, planting, watering and monitoring to determine survival rates. From backyard gardeners to large scale native plant producers, everyone has a role to play in supporting monarch habitat across North America. The focus of this webinar will be producing milkweed host plants, but other native nectar plants are also essential in supporting the monarch migration.
February 25, 2016: Conservation of Monarchs in the Western US (Sarina Jepsen, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation)
Though most are familiar with the large populations of monarchs in the eastern US that travel to Mexico each fall, monarchs in the western US – including those that migrate annually to the California Coast – have received far less attention. In the western US, the Xerces Society is working to identify, protect, manage, and restore monarch breeding and overwintering habitat through conducting and engaging citizen scientists in applied research, developing habitat management technical guidance, and advocacy. This webinar will provide an overview of the biology, life history, and conservation status of monarchs in the western US, including factors that may be contributing to the observed population decline at California overwintering sites. The webinar will also review current conservation efforts of the Xerces Society and partners, including habitat management and enhancement efforts, applied research, and citizen science programs in monarch natal, migratory, and overwintering habitats of the West.
August 13, 2015: Monarch Gardens and Community Action (Donna VanBuecken, Wild Ones; Mary Phillips, National Wildlife Federation; Patrick Fitzgerald, National Wildlife Federation)
Interested in creating a monarch habitat garden? Want to participate or initiate community efforts to protect monarchs in your area? Creating habitat and getting others involved are two of the most important ways we can protect and conserve the monarch butterfly. Experts from Monarch Joint Venture partner organizations Wild Ones and the National Wildlife Federation will present their best practices for using these important conservation strategies. Donna VanBuecken of Wild Ones will discuss the basics of gardening and the major considerations to make your garden habitat sustainable and inviting for monarchs. Mary Phillips and Patrick Fitzgerald of the National Wildlife Federation will discuss community scale efforts highlighting their own success stories in engaging local communities in conservation.
July 16, 2015: Conserving Monarch Butterflies in an Urban Setting (Cortney Solum, Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge; Kristin Shaw, Ecological Places in Cities program; Catherine Werner, St. Louis Milkweeds for Monarchs)
Urban habitat conservation is critical to the success of monarch butterflies. Creating habitat in the urban setting will ensure that the butterflies have a place to stop on their migration journey. In this webinar, Catherine Werner from the St. Louis Mayor’s Office and Milkweeds for Monarchs program, Cortney Solum from Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, and Kristin Shaw from the Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers Landscape Conservation Cooperative, share a case study of the Milkweeds for Monarchs (M4M) program in the city of St. Louis, MO. The M4M program is an urbanecological effort of the city and its partners to connect people to nature while providing habitat for the monarch butterfly and its caterpillars. Not only is the M4M program creating habitat within the City of St. Louis, it is a part of a larger effort to conserve themonarch butterfly and other pollinators in urban areas in the Eastern United States. Learn how you might be able to start a similar program in your urban community.
May 21, 2015: Monarch Research and Advanced Topics (Sonia Altizer, Project Monarch Health; Lincoln Brower, Sweet Briar College; Karen Oberhauser, University of Minnesota Monarch Lab)
Dr. Sonia Altizer, Dr. Lincoln Brower, and Dr. Karen Oberhauser discuss advanced research topics in this webinar. Learn about cutting edge monarch research using new techniques to answer questions about things like migration and population genetics. Additionally, learn about research in the areas of overwintering monarchs, disease spread, natural enemies, population trends, and climate change. The new monarch book, titled Monarchs in a Changing World: Biology and Conservation of an Iconic Butterfly, is introduced for further information on these topics.
Sonia Altizer is a Professor in the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia, where she and her students study monarch behavior, ecology, and interactions with a protozoan parasite. In 2006, she launched the citizen science project MonarchHealth from her lab, and also maintains a webpage dedicated to monarch parasites (www.monarchparasites.org). Lincoln Brower has been involved in monarch research and conservation for over 60 years. He works in the fields of conservation, ecology and ecological chemistry of the monarch butterfly. He is a Distinguished Service Professor of Zoology Emeritus for the University of Florida. Karen Oberhauser is a Professor in the Dept. of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota, where she and her students conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. In 1996, she and graduate student Michelle Prysby started the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, which engages hundreds of volunteers throughout North America. In 2013, Karen received a White House Champion of Change award for her work with Citizen Science.
April 30, 2015: Contributions of Monarch Citizen Science and Program Overviews (Sonia Altizer, Project Monarch Health; Elizabeth Howard, Journey North; Karen Oberhauser, Monarch Larva Monitoring Project; Chip Taylor, Monarch Watch)
Monarch citizen science has been critical to our understanding of this iconic species. Four main programs are covered in-depth in this webinar, representing multiple aspects of monarch biology. These include Journey North and Monarch Watch (tracking the migration), Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (tracking egg and larval abundance), and Monarch Health (tracking monarch parasites). Outcomes of these and other citizen science programs are presented.
Sonia Altizer is a Professor in the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia, where she and her students study monarch behavior, ecology, and interactions with a protozoan parasite. In 2006, she launched the citizen science project MonarchHealth from her lab, and also maintains a webpage dedicated to monarch parasites (www.monarchparasites.org). Elizabeth Howard is the director of Journey North, a citizen science effort to track animal migrations, including monarch butterflies. Since 1994, Journey North has been a central player in environmental education and citizen science efforts. Karen Oberhauser is a Professor in the Dept. of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota, where she and her students conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. In 1996, she and graduate student Michelle Prysby started the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, which engages hundreds of volunteers throughout North America. In 2013, Karen received a White House Champion of Change award for her work with Citizen Science. Chip Taylor is the founder and director of Monarch Watch, as well as a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas. In 1992, Taylor founded Monarch Watch, an outreach program focused on education, research and conservation relative to monarch butterflies. Since then, Monarch Watch has enlisted the help of volunteers to tag monarchs during the fall migration.
April 23, 2015: Enhancing existing landscapes for monarchs and native pollinators: techniques and case studies for land managers (Greg Hoch, MN DNR; Laura Jackson and Kristine Nemec, Tallgrass Prairie Center; Mary Byrne and Vicki Wojcik, Pollinator Partnership; Angie Babbit, Monarch Watch)
In this webinar, a panel of presenters share techniques and case studies for enhancing existing habitats for monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Topics include best management practices for augmenting natural habitats, roadsides, right-of-way areas, and other landscapes. Additionally, you will learn more in-depth about milkweed and nectar plant availability, including seed collection, plug production and sourcing native plant and seed materials.
After a career in academia, working with for the USFWS, and as a research biologist with the MN DNR, Greg Hoch recently accepted the position of Prairie Habitat Team Supervisor for the MN DNR. Mary Byrne and Vicki Wojcik work with partners across all landscapes types; natural areas, farms, city, schools, utility rights-of-ways, Superfund sites and other degraded landscapes, as well as gardens to help establish pollinator habitat as the Plant Ecologist and Research Director, respectively. They develop pollinator habitat planting recommendations and technical guidance, conduct rare plant research and support education and outreach efforts. Kristine Nemec is the Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management Program Manager at the University of Northern Iowa's Tallgrass Prairie Center. She provides guidance and support to Iowa's county roadside programs, which establish native vegetation in county rights-of-way to provide a variety of ecosystem services. Laura Jackson is Director of the Tallgrass Prairie Center and Professor of Biology at the UNI. Her research and teaching focus on restoration of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Angie Babbit is the Communications Coordinator at Monarch Watch, an outreach program focused on education, research and conservation relative to monarch butterflies.
February 12, 2015: Habitat Restoration Fundamentals: Time-tested approaches and new advancements in creating monarch butterfly habitat (Eric Lee-Mäder, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation)
This webinar is an introduction to the process of native plant restoration for monarch butterfly habitat. This webinar examines the step-by-step procedures for designing, installing, and managing native plant communities specifically designed for monarch breeding. Among the topics explored are initial planning considerations, formulating seed mixes, site preparation and weed abatement, and long-term land management practices. Real world case studies are provided, and successful approaches in multiple eco-regions are described.
Eric Lee-Mäder is the Pollinator Conservation Program Co-Director at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. In this role Eric works across the world with farmers, gardeners, land managers and the agencies like the US Department of Agriculture and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to restore native habitat in working agricultural lands.
December 17, 2014: Monarch Biology and Conservation Basics (Dr. Karen Oberhauser, University of Minnesota Monarch Lab)
From egg to adult, monarchs undergo a fascinating metamorphosis. The life cycle of monarchs is well known and inspirational, making these iconic insects ideal for research and science education. However, habitat loss and other threats are endangering this majestic creature. After attending this webinar, you'll have a greater understanding of the monarch's life cycle, biology, as well as their incredible journey across North America to overwintering sites in Mexico and California each year. This is the first webinar in the "Monarch Butterfly Conservation Webinar Series" that is being jointly produced by the Monarch Joint Venture and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Future webinars will focus on habitat conservation and enhancement, milkweed propagation, and other topics where you can learn how to take a more active role in protecting monarchs.
Dr. Karen Oberhauser is a Professor in the Dept. of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota, where she and her students conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. Her research depends on traditional lab and field techniques, as well as the contributions of a variety of audiences through citizen science.