University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Winona Middle School 2007

Winona Middle School
1570 Homner Rd
Winona, MN 55987

Year: 2007
Teacher(s): Carmen Davis Lombard

Monarchs and Milkweed

Megan S

This project focuses on monarch conservation. Monarchs are becoming endangered due to habitat loss, and might not survive the 21st century. The question for this experiment is: Do monarch caterpillars have a higher survival rate if they consume milkweed from the immediate or outside geographical area in which it was laid? The hypothesis is that monarchs will tolerate milkweed from areas within 100 square miles of where the egg was laid better than outside 100 square miles. This is thought to be because within 100 square miles milkweed should have similar nutrients due to the nematodes in the soil. Nematodes are billions of tiny worms that allow plants to draw nutrients from the soil and important fertilizers to be transferred back into the earth. Milkweed was gathered from three different locations, and monarch larva were gathered from two, and then sorted into groups. Monarch larva received fresh milkweed and cages were cleaned daily. The date the larva was collected, when it entered and emerged from the chrysalis and when they were released/died, was recorded. The data collected confirmed the hypothesis. Monarchs laid closer to the milkweed had a higher survival rate, and a lower death rate than the monarchs that ate milkweed from further away locations. An experiment leading off this could be using monarchs and milkweed from the west or north to see if they would be affected in the same way that the monarchs in the Midwest were.

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