Learning from Butterflies

Learning from Butterflies: Understanding and Predicting Butterfly Responses to a Warming Climate

In this engaging talk, professor Leslie Ries (Department of Biology, Georgetown University) will discuss how the life and migration patterns of monarch butterflies reveal a complex response to our warming world. Using research from professional biologists but also measurements and observations from citizen scientists, professor Ries discusses new uses for the large amounts of data we can gather about insects and other animals.

March 29, 2017,  at 1 pm in Battelle-Tompkins 228.




About our speaker

Leslie Ries is the Project Director of the North American Butterfly Monitoring Network. Leslie’s background is in butterfly ecology and her interests are in using butterfly data to understand how ecological communities respond to climate and land-use change.

Ries is an ecologist who focuses on patterns at both medium and large scales. She has worked both in the fields of landscape ecology and biogeography with her focus mainly on butterflies. Over the last 10 years, she has shifted from a field approach to using large databases, mostly originating from citizen science monitoring networks. Citizen science greatly expands the scale at which we can collect data and thus explore problems and solutions that are increasingly global in nature. Image result for leslie ries georgetown












Ries focuses on several facets of citizen-science, including the use of these data to answer large-scale ecological questions, especially those related to climate and land cover; developing statistical tools to extract the most robust information from the data; designing systems to support data management, visualization, and sharing; and developing “knowledge” databases that compile life history and other trait data to enrich multi-species analyses. In addition to carrying out and enabling large-scale ecological research, Ries has also been working on methods to integrate big-data approaches into undergraduate education, and she is also increasingly interested in informal education opportunities as well.

She is currently affiliated with Georgetown University where she continues work on the physiological limits to growth imposed by extreme temperatures. Combining lab and field research with large-scale distribution data could provide a powerful approach to exploring the impacts of changing land cover and climate at regional, continental and global scales.



To view more of her work and research  here.