Butterflies are at the center of much of my climate change research. Some butterflies have difficulty flying due to changes in temperature. These changes also have indirect effects on the species, by disrupting the plants they eat.
Why care about butterflies?
It’s not just because they are an endangered species. Or that federal agencies are required by law to do everything they can to keep them from going extinct. Or that insects make the world go round, and butterflies are perhaps the loveliest of all the insects.
The bigger reason is that we live on this planet with other living things. With every insect or plant or mammal that goes extinct, we are reducing the richness of life on earth. We have a duty to nature and to ourselves to keep climate change from eroding the fabric of life.
In my lab, we use butterflies to understand how changes to the environment affect living things and discover strategies for preserving and protecting life itself.