June 4, 2015
Monarch butterflies are among the most recognizable—and beloved—butterflies in the world. Migratory monarchs in North America have also experienced alarming declines in recent years.
A new book, “Monarchs in a Changing World: Biology and Conservation of an Iconic Insect,” synthesizes the latest scientific research about monarchs and the threats and challenges they face. Co-edited by University of Georgia ecologist Sonia Altizer, and with chapters by Altizer and Andy Davis of the UGA Odum School of Ecology, it was published by Cornell University Press and includes contributions from 72 monarch experts and conservation scientists from around the world.
“Monarchs are best known for undertaking an epic fall migration each year in North America and for their warning coloration that advertises their toxicity to predators,” Altizer said. “These and other traits have long fascinated scientists and the public alike.
“Many people also have a personal or emotional connection to monarchs and are concerned about their recent declines. This book communicates the latest scientific findings on monarchs in an accessible way and covers a lot of ground, touching on some of the reasons for their recent decline and efforts underway to protect their habitats in multiple countries.”
“Monarchs in a Changing World” is designed for use by scientists, conservationists and educators. It contains sections on citizen science, education and outreach focused on monarchs; monarch biology and ecology; climate change impacts on monarchs; monarch conservation; and new findings on monarch migration, evolution and population biology. The book is co-edited by Karen Oberhauser and Kelly Nail, both of the University of Minnesota. It features 16 color plates and includes introductory text to summarize recent developments for each of the five major book sections.
Altizer, is associate dean of the Odum School and holds the UGA Athletic Association Professorhip in Ecology which is an award endowed in the University of Georgia Foundation. She has studied monarch ecology, evolution, migration and disease for the past 20 years. Much of her work is done with the help of citizen scientists from across the U.S. and Canada through Project Monarch Health, www.monarchparasites.org
Davis, an assistant research scientist in the Odum School, is an expert on the physiology, morphology and migration biology of monarchs, other insects and birds.