Monarchs in decline: a collateral landscape level effect of modern agriculture

Stenoien, Carl, Nail, Kelly R., Zalucki, Jacinta M., Parry, Hazel, Oberhauser, Karen S. and Zalucki, Myron P. (2016) Monarchs in decline: a collateral landscape level effect of modern agriculture. Insect Science, 1-14. doi:10.1111/1744-7917.12404

Author Stenoien, Carl
Nail, Kelly R.
Zalucki, Jacinta M.
Parry, Hazel
Oberhauser, Karen S.
Zalucki, Myron P.
Title Monarchs in decline: a collateral landscape level effect of modern agriculture
Journal name Insect Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1744-7917
Publication date 2016-12-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1744-7917.12404
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Language eng
Abstract We review the postulated threatening processes that may have affected the decline in the eastern population of the monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus L. (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae), in North America. Although there are likely multiple contributing factors, such as climate and resource-related effects on breeding, migrating, and overwintering populations, the key landscape-level change appears to be associated with the widespread use of genetically modified herbicide resistant crops that have rapidly come to dominate the extensive core summer breeding range. We dismiss misinterpretations of the apparent lack of population change in summer adult count data as logically flawed. Glyphosate-tolerant soybean and maize have enabled the extensive use of this herbicide, generating widespread losses of milkweed (Asclepias spp.), the only host plants for monarch larvae. Modeling studies that simulate lifetime realized fecundity at a landscape scale, direct counts of milkweeds, and extensive citizen science data across the breeding range suggest that a herbicide-induced, landscape-level reduction in milkweed has precipitated the decline in monarchs. A recovery will likely require a monumental effort for the re-establishment of milkweed resources at a commensurate landscape scale.
Keyword Asclepias
Citizen science
Danaus plexippus
Transgenic GM crops
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Created: Mon, 03 Apr 2017, 12:35:42 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences