News, Events & Research Updates

Eucalyptus White Paper

The result is the Western Monarch Initiative. Phase I of the initiative is a Citizen Scientist opportunity to collaborate with Sonia Altizer who does research on monarch health and particularly the parasites that infect monarchs. Phase II of the initiative is a Citizen Scientist opportunity to collaborate with Karen Oberhauser. Her research focus is on monarch population size specifically in response to events in monarch breeding habitats. These two opportunities will be covered in our upcoming workshop and additional information on Phase I and II can be found here (announcement attached). Phase III is a roll out of publications. We have recently shifted some of our energy away from data collection and towards the analysis of data. The first product is a white paper on monarch "preference" for eucalyptus. It is available (here). We will be posting additional publications as they go to press.

Video: Pacific Grove Monarch Habitat Enhancement

link to video on tree planting
Cal Poly Students, and Monarch Alert researchers joined the City of Pacific Grove in planting trees in the Pacific Grove Monarch Sanctuary in late March, 2011.  In fall 2010, the potted trees had been placed in the sanctuary by Citizen Scientist Bob Pachelli.  He staged them in areas that he thought needed to be "filled in" in order to block winds, and provide roosting trees for the butterflies.  The March planting was done once the overwintering monarchs had dispersed in spring 2011.  Dr. Stuart Weiss was responsible for developing a management plan for the Sanctuary and coordinating the permanent placement of these trees.  The City arborist, and Monarch Alert also provided advice on tree placement.  "This was truly an 'all stakeholders' venture," said Cal Poly Biology Professor Francis Villablanca. "Way to work together!"

Click here or on the photo above to watch the video on YouTube — make sure your pop-up blocker is off.

New: Reader's Corner

In an article published in the journal Molecular Ecology, researchers report on a monarch butterfly gene that has experienced two mutations. Previous research proposed that both of these mutations may provide monarch butterflies with resistance to cardenolide First, something about cardenolides and then back to mutations. Cardenolides are a type of steroid. Many plants contain its derivatives, collectively known as cardenolides, including many that contain structural groups derived from sugars. Cardenolide glycosides are often toxic; specifically, they can stop hearts.
Read Prof. Villablanca's full review of the Molecular Ecology article

Latest Survey Data

Monterey County

Graph of Monterey County butterfly sites and counts


San Luis Obispo County

Graph showing butterfly counts at SLO county sites