Joan Mosenthal DeWind Award
Lepidoptera Research and Conservation Awards
Joan Mosenthal DeWind was a pioneering member of the Xerces Society. A psychiatric social worker by profession, she was also an avid butterfly gardener and an accomplished amateur lepidopterist. Her contributions of time, organizational expertise, and financial support were essential to the growth and success of the Xerces Society over the past 30 years. Joan also had a keen interest in young people, supporting what became the Young Entomologists’ Society. In Joan’s memory, Bill DeWind established this student research endowment fund. The Xerces Society administers two $3,750 awards each year for research into Lepidoptera conservation.
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2017 Joan Mosenthal DeWind Award Recipients
Butterfly telemetry in mountainous terrain: a novel method to track and estimate population sizes for the Golden Birdwing (Troides aesacus) on Mt. Gongga in Garze Tibetan Prefecture
Zhengyang Wang – Harvard University, Department of Organismic & Evolutionary Biology
Butterfly movement in mountainous terrain is difficult to study. This study will develop methods to track montane butterflies using Troides aeacus on the foothills (c 8,000 ft.) of Mt. Gongga (c 24,790 ft.) as a model system. The study has two aims: (1) to use 0.2 gram transmitters placed on the upper abdomen of individuals of T. aeacus to estimate movement parameters using an insect telemetry system, and (2) to develop object-oriented Monte Carlo simulations using telemetry obtained parameters to estimate T. aeacus population size. This telemetry system allows researchers to monitor individual butterflies at fine-tuned spatial and temporal scales and has the potential to provide more accurate population estimates for conservation management.
Modeling the distribution of Plebejus optilete ssp. yukona in Alberta’s boreal forest
Federico Riva – University of Alberta, Department of Renewable Resources, Canada
Information on the North American populations of Plebejus optilete ssp. yukona (Holland, 1900) is scarce. In Alberta, less than 20 populations are known. Here, in situ oil sands deposits and extraction cover more than 142,000 km2 of boreal forests, including areas potentially suitable to this species. Following research conducted on P. optilete in 2015 and 2016, this study will test a species distribution model for the species using natural and anthropogenic factors. This will be used to assess its distribution at regional scales and the rarity status in Alberta, revealing if conservation efforts are needed to preserve the species.