App allows citizen scientists to track monarch butterfly migration

App allows citizen scientists to track monarch butterfly migration

If you’ve ever pulled out your phone to take a picture of a butterfly, researchers want your help. A team from the University of Maine is using an app that lets citizens scientists along the East Coast take photos of monarch butterfly migration sites and log details about where they’re found. The responses will be compiled in an online database and help researchers determine if their monarch migration predictions are accurate. According to the researchers, monarch butterflies conduct one of the most dramatic migrations in the world. Each fall, the monarchs in New England turn south and begin a 3,000-mile journey to their overwintering grounds. But like all insects, monarchs are dwindling . The number that complete that long migration has fallen by 90 percent in the past two decades, the researchers say. To better understand monarch migration patterns and ultimately protect those that remain, the researchers from the University of Maine have created a model to determine where the butterflies rest at night, or roost. Because the model covers such a large area — from Maine to Georgia and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Appalachian Mountains — it’s not feasible for the researchers to confirm their predictions […]

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