Understanding conservation, human activities’ impact on monarch butterflies

AMES, Iowa — What humans do — and don’t do — can have direct, damaging effects on monarch butterflies. 

Karen Oberhauser

Karen Oberhauser, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum and the founder and director of the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, is bringing her expertise to Iowa State University.

Oberhauser will present “Monarch Conservation: Saving an Iconic Insect” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. The Paul L. Errington Memorial Lecture is free and open to the public.

She will discuss the ways in which human activities affect monarch butterfly habitats, including her research on habitat management and availability and the risks posed by global climate change and pest control practices.

Oberhauser has a strong interest in engaging K-12 students and teachers in inquiry-based science and promoting scientific and environmental literacy. As part of the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, a nationwide citizen science project, she developed a comprehensive science education program, Monarchs in the Classroom. 

Oberhauser earned a Ph.D. in ecology and behavioral biology from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in natural science education from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harvard University.

The University Book Store will be on site to sell copies of Oberhauser’s book, “The Monarch Butterfly: Biology and Conservation.”

This lecture is co-sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, agronomy department, ecology and evolutionary biology graduate program, ecology, evolution and organismal biology department, natural resource ecology and management department, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by Student Government.

Find more information about ISU lectures online or by calling 515-294-9934.