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Supporting the future of Lepidoptera conservation.

The Xerces Society is pleased to announce that Chris Cosma and Brendan Carson are the recipients of this year’s DeWind Awards. Their project abstracts are below. Congratulations to you both!

Beyond the yucca moth: The structure and stability of moth pollen-transport networks in the Southwest and the effects of climate change
Christopher Cosma – University of California, Riverside, Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology

Climate change contributes to moth declines and threatens the important ecosystem services that they provide, including pollination. Compared to diurnal pollinators, little is known about the structure and stability of moth pollen-transport networks, and how climate change may impact them. Moth communities were sampled for two years along an elevational gradient in Southern California. Additional funding would enable the use of cutting-edge molecular techniques to construct moth pollen-transport networks. By examining how networks vary in relation to climatic factors, this research will contribute novel insights into how moth pollen-transport networks will shift with future climate change, and which plant and moth species should be prioritized in conservation.

 

Do cryptic viruses influence dynamics in well-studied butterfly populations? Investigating the natural history of a novel densovirus in the Baltimore checkerspot
Brendan Carson – Tufts University, Department of Biology

While disease is widely recognized to influence the lives of all organisms, we know surprisingly little about how viruses and other pathogens affect butterflies of conservation concern. Recently a novel densovirus (JcDNV) was found in 14/14 surveyed populations of Baltimore checkerspot butterflies (Euphydryas phaeton) in New England. This checkerspot is known to exhibit large fluctuations in its population size, and anecdotal evidence suggests JcDNV may be playing a role. Here I propose to elucidate several important aspects of JcDNV’s transmission, with the goal of incorporating these features into a spatially explicit JcDNV – E. phaeton population model.

For more information about the DeWind Award, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions Page. The application period for the 2023 DeWind Awards will open in November 2022.

You can read about previous awardees here.

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.