Category: ecosystem

Trend Analysis Study on Different Butterfly Populations in New York

Monarchs are highly abundant in NY and we observed several monarch butterflies during our time at the 2022 bio blitz. A variety of research points to bright colors being associated with a species being poisonous or dangerous (i.e. Monarch eating milkweed plant). We extrapolated on this knowledge and decided to conduct this study to see if colorful butterfly species would be more abundant than less colorful or cryptic butterflies. We compiled data into graphs of three different categories – Monarch butterflies were our control, colorful butterflies – were butterflies with more than 2 colors, and cryptic butterflies with 2 or fewer colors. One of the graphs we compiled lists the populations of 8 different species of butterflies from 2019 to 2022, graph 2 shows the percentages of butterflies over the total number of species, and graph 3 shows the portion of the population of butterflies as we placed them in three categories – colorful, cryptic, control. We were able to determine that the most common butterflies observed in the study were the Monarch, Painted Lady, and Cabbage White. The least observed butterflies were Pipevine swallowtail, Eastern tiger swallowtail, Zabulon Skipper, and Black Swallowtail. Our graphs suggest that the cryptic butterflies were on average more abundant than colorful butterflies, thus suggesting that our initial hypothesis had to be modified. Our research was a preliminary study and we hope to expand on this research in the future.

How has climate change contributed to the livelihood of birds in NYC?

Upon discovering that 100 of the 350 birds in NYC have fallen into an area of concern, we decided to investigate whether climate change as contributed to this trend. We hypothesized that climate change is why NYC birds have declined and that no bird could thrive in warmer conditions. Our results found that climate change would contribute to the loss in different species impacting Arctic birds the most.

Monarch Butterfly Migrations – The Relationship Between Seasons and Sightings

Climate and temperature changes may greatly affect species that depend on environmental cues for reproduction, migration, and hibernation triggers. The purpose of this study was to test if migration patterns of monarch butterflies were affected by changing climates in New York, specifically in Central Park. We hypothesized that in a changing climate, there would be changes to monarch butterfly phenology and their migration patterns. We predicted that if monarch butterflies are responding to a warmer climate by migrating later, then there would be a later decline in the number of sightings. The data we observed does support our hypothesis. Using iNaturalist data, we observed that most sightings of monarch butterflies were recorded in August. Furthermore, through this study, we’ve determined that citizen data is useful and can lead to significant findings.