The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Monarch Migration Patterns Yield Clues About Pollinator Declines
A comprehensive mapping of the the North American migration patterns of the iconic monarch butterfly could help preserve a species threatened by loss of habitat and food sources, a team of international researchers says.
In a study conducted across 17 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, from southern Texas to Alberta, biologists from Canada, the U.S. and Australia tracked the northward migration of the monarchs, documenting several generations in a single breeding season.
By analyzing a chemical signature found on the adult butterflies’ wings that reveals their specific birthplace, scientists were able to document a breeding “explosion” in the U.S. Midwest, from which many butterflies then travel north into Alberta. According to Tyler Flockhart, a PhD. student at the University of Guelph in Canada and lead author of the study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the decline in milkweed and a surge in genetically modified crops might be affecting monarch survival.
“If habitats in the Midwest continue to decline, then monarchs will lose the ability to expand the breeding range, including those butterflies that end up here in Ontario,” he said. Earlier this year, a census at the butterflies’ wintering grounds in Mexico found that population levels were lower than ever previously measured.
Visit EcoWatch’s BIODIVERSITY page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Colorado senator and 2020 hopeful Michael Bennet introduced his plan to combat climate change Monday, in the first major policy rollout of his campaign. Bennet's plan calls for the establishment of a "Climate Bank," using $1 trillion in federal spending to "catalyze" $10 trillion in private spending for the U.S. to transition entirely to net-zero emissions by 2050.
When Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in August 2018, its own estimates said the reduced regulations could lead to 1,400 early deaths a year from air pollution by 2030.
Now, the EPA wants to change the way it calculates the risks posed by particulate matter pollution, using a model that would lower the death toll from the new plan, The New York Times reported Monday. Five current or former EPA officials familiar with the plan told The Times that the new method would assume there is no significant health gain by lowering air pollution levels below the legal limit. However, many public health experts say that there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure, which has long been linked to heart and lung disease.
By Andrea Germanos
Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the U.S. that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.
By Tara Lohan
It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.
Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.