The monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, is the most iconic and well-loved species of insect in North America. Observing monarchs in all stages from eggs to adults provide a popular means for connecting people to the natural world and a subject of wonder as the adults migrate in the fall from southern Canada to Mexico, and then return the following spring after undergoing several generations. The realization that monarchs are successfully using islands in the Great Lakes as part of their overall population dynamics has resulted in researchers and citizen scientists attempting to plot interisland movement of migrating monarch both in the fall and spring. It is common for people around the Great Lakes, and elsewhere, to elevate monarchs to a spiritual level once they learn more the biology of this amazing insect.
Thursday, February 2, 2023
2:30 pm - 3:20 pm
Joe Shorthouse is Emeritus Professor of Entomology and Canadian Environmental Biology with Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. He has studied insects on wild roses since joining Laurentian in 1975. He has edited two books and published over 100 peer-reviewed publications, about 200 semipopular articles, and continues to write and make public presentations on roses, garden insects, the restoration of Sudbury’s smelter-damaged ecosystems, and monarch butterflies. His interest in monarchs began as a teenager in Lethbridge, Alberta when he worked for Fred Urquhart, the discoverer of overwintering sites in Mexico. Joe and his wife use their trailer on Manitoulin Island as a base for studying and photographing natural history. For over 20 years, they have observed monarchs arrive in the spring after crossing Lake Huron, and then watch another population in the fall depart Manitoulin for Mexico. They tag monarchs and delight in involving the public with releases. Joe is on the Steering Committee of the Great Lakes Islands Alliance where he encourages studies of island biodiversity.