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Old 04-04-2015, 03:24 PM   #1
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butterfly Citizen Scientists Needed to Study the Changing Milkweed Population

Citizen Scientists Needed to Study the Changing Milkweed Population

Monarch Lab Research Updates
MonarchLab.org
University of Minnesota
Thursday, February 19, 2015
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Biologists at the College of William and Mary are seeking volunteers to aid them in studying the genetics of Common Milkweed (Asclepias Syriaca) in order to track and understand how monarchs and other invertebrates will respond to changes in milkweed populations. The study depends on collecting Common Milkweed samples across its native range. This means the study also depends on dedicated citizen scientists willing to collect samples! Here is the letter from Dr. Harmony Dalgleish and Dr. Joshua Puzey calling for volunteers:

Monarch butterflies depend on milkweeds (Asclepia syriaca) for their survival. Alarmingly, milkweed populations are rapidly changing due to increased pressures from agriculture. This has negatively affected Monarch populations and is sure to impact other unique milkweed insects, including milkweed beetles (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) and milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus).
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This study will only be possible with the help of volunteers like you! This project depends on obtaining leaf samples from milkweed plants growing from across their native range. Volunteers are asked to collect leaves from five milkweed stems per population and, if possible, five milkweed bugs. Volunteers will be provided with a ‘collection kit’ containing detailed instructions, five tubes for leaf collections, five tubes for milkweed bug collection, and a pre-paid return envelope. If you are interested in volunteering, please send an email to milkweedgenetics@gmail.com and we will provide more information.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Citizen Scientists Needed to Study the Changing Milkweed Population | Blog | Resources | Monarch Lab
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:33 PM   #2
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I sent them an email this weekend and volunteered to participate. Their request for volunteers was put out in February, but hopefully they are still looking for volunteers.
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Old 04-07-2015, 07:36 AM   #3
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Me too!
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:48 PM   #4
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I got a reply to my email today. They said that they have had a good response to their request and they are still looking for additional volunteers.

Their email has a link to a Google Forms website that you fill in with contact information and information about the potential collection site.
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Old 06-30-2015, 01:43 PM   #5
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Got my sample kit a few weeks ago and I've been patiently waiting for the requested sampling period of June 20th to June 30th. I didn't have any problem collecting the requested 5 milkweed samples, but I was unable to find any of the large milkweed bugs or milkweed longhorn beetles that they were also interested in.

Citizen Scientists Needed to Study the Changing Milkweed Population-sample-box.jpg


The area where I collected the samples:

Citizen Scientists Needed to Study the Changing Milkweed Population-sample-population.jpg


Most of the plants were in the bud stage but not flowering yet:

Citizen Scientists Needed to Study the Changing Milkweed Population-sample-population-2.jpg


In another area I did find a nice monarch caterpillar so the monarchs have been successfully laying eggs:

Citizen Scientists Needed to Study the Changing Milkweed Population-caterpillar.jpg


Shipped the samples off in the prepaid mailer yesterday. They said that they would let us know about the results so I'm interested in seeing what that will be.
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Old 07-01-2015, 08:19 AM   #6
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Bet you're eagerly awaiting their results.
It will be interesting to see what your samples reveal.
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