Students on the news for monarch research

KCRG-TV9 produced a story featuring two of our summer research students discussing their work to understand the declining population of monarch butterflies.

Photographer taking video of students doing research in an Iowa prairieSophomores Amelia Auberry and Emmaline Fievet discussed their project with Reporter Phil Reed. 

“Monarchs do affect you directly,” Auberry told KCRG. “They pollinate plants and these plants include plants that you might enjoy out in your yard. Even agricultural plants they might affect.”

With all the national focus on restoring prairie habitat to bring back declining monarch populations, Cornell College Assistant Professor of Biology Tammy Mildenstein says very little is known about how much prairie needs to be restored to help the monarchs.

Mildenstein and her students are examining how many monarchs an Iowa prairie produces. They’re collecting data about the number of milkweed plants in a typical Iowa prairie, the number of monarch eggs and caterpillars each milkweed supports, and the survival rates of these eggs and caterpillars all the way to the monarch stage.

This project is part of the Cornell Summer Research Institute.