Each year, millions of monarch butterflies that live east of the Rocky Mountains perform an awe-inspiring, long-distance migration in North America. During the fall, monarchs leave their breeding grounds in the northern most range of their habitats, and fly southwards to a handful of specific overwintering sites in Central Mexico. In the spring, these same monarchs will leave Mexico and return northwards, reproducing along the way. A key aspect of the journey of these animals is that they reach the overwintering sites, with some individuals traveling up to 3000 miles, despite being on their maiden voyage and having not been there before. In today’s talk, we will learn about the mechanisms monarchs use to achieve this fantastic feat, with a focus on their sun and magnetic compasses. We will also discuss how contemporary environmental stressors, such as climate change and shifting habitats, might negatively affect the functioning of these compasses.
Patrick Anthony Guerra earned his bachelor and master of science degrees from the University of Toronto, and his doctoral degree from McGill University. He furthered his training as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Missouri, and then at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Patrick is currently an Assistant Professor with the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cincinnati. Members of the Guerra Lab study animal movement phenomena across broad temporal and spatial scales.
Audubon programs are held on the third Monday of the month (not including January, July, August or December). We meet at 7:00 p.m. for light refreshments, with the program beginning at 7:30. We meet at the Winton Woods visitor center, located at 10245 Winton Road. To reach the visitor center from I-275, take the Winton Road exit, and go south. Just before the lake, turn right into the park. From the Ronald Reagan Highway, take the Winton Road North exit, and turn right into the park just after the lake.
Note that a Park District auto sticker is required – $3.00 daily or $10.00 annual for Hamilton County residents, or $5.00 daily or $14.00 annual for non-residents.