The climate is changing, and plants and animals are responding in part by shifting the timing of their life history events (their phenology). At the same time, the scientific community is documenting dramatic population declines in many species, including insects.
In this talk, Collin Edwards, Ph.D., will tell three stories about the Western monarch butterfly and other rare and at-risk butterflies—stories in which climate change, shifts in phenology and population declines intersect. He will focus on the importance of linking field data to mathematical and conceptual models using accessible statistical and computational tools. His findings help explain why ecologists are observing variable phenological responses to climate change, the lack of monarch butterflies in Washington the last few summers, and show that rare butterflies with more plastic phenology are increasing in abundance. Time permitting, he will also briefly describe his current efforts to understand microbial coexistence in sourdough, cheese and fermented vegetables, and to uncover synergies between plant defenses in the common milkweed. Edwards is a postdoctoral research scholar at Tufts University and WSU Vancouver. He completed his Ph.D. at Cornell University, where he linked field experiments and math models to understand the strategies plants employ to defend themselves against herbivores. This summer he will be visiting WSU Vancouver (pandemic permitting) to collaborate on statistical ecology projects and assist in field surveys of rare and at-risk butterflies.
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