Milkweed, Pollinator, and Monarch Butterfly Interactions



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Project Description

This project focuses on climatic factors that control milkweed growth, chemistry, and phenology, and how this in turn affects monarch butterfly development and the diversity of associated pollinators. A specific interest is how the phenology and defensive chemistry of individual species of milkweed vary over a temperature gradient, and how these differences affect the growth of monarch caterpillars.


Undergraduate Contribution

Conduct surveys on the phenology and diversity of milkweeds, pollinators, and monarch butterflies in coastal California. Prepare milkweed samples for chemical analysis. Conduct Chemical analyses. Propagate and maintain milkweed study plants. Examine monarch butterflies for parasites. Data collection and management. Preliminary data analysis. Scientific literature review.


Requirements and/or Application Instructions

Students interested in plant-insect ecology or general biology are encouraged to apply. No prior skills are necessary, but must be eager to learn about ecology and do repetitive work that requires attention to detail and organization. Interested students please contact Adam Lambert (