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Joan Mosenthal DeWind Award

Supporting the future of Lepidoptera conservation.

The Xerces Society is pleased to announce that Christopher Halsch and Wendy Valencia-Montoya are the recipients of this year’s DeWind Awards. Their project abstracts are below. Congratulations to you both!


The interactive effects of pesticide exposure and climate change on a widespread butterfly

Christopher Halsch – University of Nevada Reno, Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology

Common and widespread Lepidoptera are experiencing a multifaceted set of anthropogenic stressors resulting in declines across large spatial scales. Relatively little is known about interactive effects of different stressors, which are potentially devastating, but difficult to study using historical records. Here we propose an examination of the combined effects of warming temperatures and pesticide exposure on Pyrgus communis in a laboratory experiment. By parameterizing our experiment with observed pesticide data and realistic warming scenarios, we will learn about the isolated and interactive effects of these stressors. These results will inform climate sensitive, pesticide management plans for common and widespread butterflies.


Evaluating the impact of limestone mining on cycad-feeding Eumaeus butterflies in Colombia

Wendy Valencia-Montoya – Harvard University, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

The three species of Eumaeus butterflies in Colombia all are obligate feeders on Zamia, a Neotropical genus of cycads whose species are critically endangered. The butterflies are thought to be similarly imperiled, but research to assess their distributions, population sizes, and/or threat status remains to be done. By integrating population surveys with cutting-edge DNA sequencing and composite likelihood modeling techniques, we will generate baseline information and assess the impact on Eumaeus of the most pressing threat to Zamia: limestone mining. This information is essential to be able to make recommendations for maintaining habitat connectivity and identify areas of greatest conservation concern.


For more information about the DeWind Award, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions Page. The application period for the 2022 DeWind Awards will open in November 2021.

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.