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AT: Fall Monarch Butterfly Migration Threatened by Environmental Stress

May 21 @ 11:00 am - 12:15 pm


Is the Fall Monarch Butterfly Migration Threatened by Environmental Stress Induced by Contemporary Urbanization?

How do monarch butterflies orient southwards during the fall migration in order to reach their overwintering sites? How do they re-orient during the spring remigration in order to return northwards? This webinar will provide an overview of how monarchs use sensory cues derived from their environment for directionality, as they navigate during their migration. In particular, the webinar focuses on describing how migratory monarchs use a time-compensated sun compass to help them navigate during the fall and the spring. The time-compensated sun compass is an amazing sensory-based mechanism that monarchs use for orientation, a compass which functions by combining cues from the sun and from the monarch’s internal circadian clock. In addition to providing an overview of what we know of the time-compensated compass, the dominant mechanism monarchs use for navigation, this webinar will also describe how the use of the time-compensated sun compass is potentially now under threat due to contemporary environmental stressors. Here, the webinar will describe how sensory noise pollution induced by contemporary urbanization, can hamper the development, calibration, and use of the time-compensated sun compass in monarchs.

About Dr. Patrick Guerra, Sensory Biologist, University of Cincinnati Department of Biological Sciences

Dr. Patrick Anthony Guerra is a sensory biologist in the Department of Biological Sciences, at the University of Cincinnati. Patrick and his research group are interested in understanding how brains, especially small ones, function such that animals can make sense of the world that they live in. Specifically, they investigate how animals, such as butterflies and moths, use environmental sensory cues to facilitate ecologically important behavioral tactics and strategies that help deal with environmental change.