2022 Fall Seminar Series Presents

Dr. Micah Freedman
Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept. of Botany, University of British Columbia


Global range expansion, loss of migration, and adaptation in the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)


Monarch butterflies are best-known for their spectacular annual migration within North America. However, over recent evolutionary time, monarchs have expanded their range globally, with populations now established in locations as disparate as New Zealand, Hawaii, Ecuador, Bermuda, and Spain. Across most of their novel range, monarchs no longer seasonally migrate and instead form year-round breeding populations. In this presentation, I will highlight the ecological and evolutionary consequences of this range expansion and subsequent loss of migration. First, I will focus on how loss of migration has impacted monarch wing morphology, using a dataset that includes more than 6,000 museum specimens from around the world and more than 1,100 reared butterflies. Second, I will describe how interactions with novel sets of milkweed host plants have affected the evolution of larval performance in monarchs, with an emphasis on their ability to sequester defensive toxins. I will conclude by discussing recent listing decisions by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and how non-migratory populations of monarch butterflies may factor into their conservation future


Everyone is welcome to join the seminar, please email jacki.craig@ucdenver.edu to receive the Zoom link. Requests can be submitted any time before the seminar but not after 10:00am the day of the seminar.

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Please email jacki.craig@ucdenver.edu to receive the Zoom Meeting Link. Requests can be submitted any time before the Seminar but not after 10:00am the day of the seminar.

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