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Joan Mosenthal DeWind Award

Supporting the future of Lepidoptera conservation.

The application period for the 2021 DeWind Award cycle will open in November 2020, with proposals due in early January 2021. Please stay tuned for that announcement.

For more information about the DeWind Award, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions Page.

2020 Joan Mosenthal DeWind Award Recipients

Douglas Boyes – Newcastle University

Using DNA metabarcoding to understand the impacts of light pollution on moth populations

Light pollution is increasingly recognized as a threat to nocturnal Lepidoptera. However, its effects on moth populations remain poorly understood. As part of an existing project, 1800 caterpillars have been sampled from lit and unlit sites using a matched pairs design. This has revealed a strong negative effect of street lighting on moth abundance. Additional funding would enable the deployment of cutting-edge molecular techniques, offering novel insights into the mechanisms through which artificial light impacts moth communities (e.g. through parasitism rates). These techniques would also improve the resolution of caterpillar identification and generate valuable data on foodplant associations. 



Douglas Boyles conducts nighttime field work.

Jayme Lewthwaite – Simon Fraser University

Phenological shifts as a potential trade-off to high levels of spatial climate change debt

Although distributional shifts have been documented in many butterfly species, Canadian butterflies seem to be spatially lagging behind the pace of climate change. An alternate climate tracking strategy involves shifting phenology to maintain niche requirements; this has not been examined in this group. This study will investigate whether species that are not spatially tracking climate change have advanced their emergence dates instead by looking at dates for first emergence through time. We predict that species that have larger spatial climate debts are emerging earlier in the spring than those who are successful spatial climate trackers.


Jayme Lewthwaite conducts field work in the foothills of the Pyrenees

Max Ferlauto – University of Maryland

Assessing the impacts of leaf litter disturbance on overwintering Lepidoptera communities

Little is known about the ecology of overwintering Lepidoptera. However, conservation of this life stage may be vital to protecting threatened populations. One potentially harmful disturbance to overwintering eggs, larvae, and pupa is the seasonal removal or mulching of leaf litter in managed environments. This research examines the impacts of leaf litter removal and mulching on spring-emerging lepidopteran communities and assesses if planting a diverse tree canopy can mitigate the negative effects of litter disturbance. This study will answer questions about an overlooked life stage and provide landowners with conservation strategies to increase the ecological value of their properties.

Max Ferlauto builds an emergence trap prototype

Joan Mosenthal DeWind's Legacy

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 early growth and success of the Xerces Society, and helped found a robust organization that continued to expand in the decades since and become a conservation leader. 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.