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Supporting the Future of Lepidoptera Conservation

The Xerces Society is pleased to announce that Katie McManus and Remy Sutherland are the recipients of this year’s DeWind Awards. Their project abstracts are below. Congratulations to them both!


Trapped in the matrix? Understanding how land use shapes connectivity of butterfly populations
Katie McManus – Temple University, Department of Biology

Human land use patterns challenge lepidopteran persistence by disrupting landscape connectivity and impeding the movement of reproductive individuals. Predicting the fate of lepidopterans in human-dominated landscapes requires understanding the extent to which population connectivity is hindered by human land use. I will employ a landscape genetic approach to investigate how different land use types and intensities impact population connectivity and genetic structure. Using a comparative approach, I will explore whether there is a repeated pattern across multiple American cities. This work will critically inform pollinator management strategies, in particular pollinator corridors, in a rapidly developing world.


Assessing the impacts of an invasive ant species on first-generation monarch butterfly reproductive success in a Texas coastal prairie
Remy Sutherland – Oregon State University/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Decreased survival of monarch butterfly eggs and larvae may be a significant driver in recent population declines. This study examines potential factors impacting monarch reproductive success in a Texas coastal prairie, a key region for the recruitment of first-generation butterflies following winter diapause. Using stage-based field counts combined with a Bayesian state-space model framework, researchers will evaluate the interactive effect of environmental characteristics, management practices, and arthropod community dynamics on oviposition preferences and larval survival. Of particular interest is the potential role of red imported fire ants, a highly invasive species across much of the monarch’s southern migratory range, in directly or indirectly impacting monarch reproduction.


More Information

For more information about the DeWind Award, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions Page. The application period for the 2024 DeWind Awards will open in November 2023.

You can read more 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.