research


Fungicide Impacts on Pollinators

New Xerces Fact Sheet Takes a Deeper Look at Fungicides and Their Effects on Pollinators

Published on August 5, 2019

The Xerces Society’s new fact sheet, Protecting Pollinators from Pesticides: Fungicide Impacts on Pollinators, reviews the current literature on fungicides and pollinators to help piece together potential risks and how best to respond.


Monarchs mating in Nevada

Community Science Powers New Western Monarch Studies

Published on July 30, 2019

Western monarch researchers and community scientists have been busy, contributing information vital to understanding the situation facing this imperiled population of America’s most well-known butterfly.


Monarch - Xerces Society

Working to Conserve Monarchs from Coast to Coast

Published on June 21, 2019

The migration of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus plexippus) is an awe-inspiring sight that heralds the changing seasons across much of North America. Sadly, these inspiring migrations have experienced significant declines in the past few decades. The Xerces Society is working across the U.S. to conserve this beloved species, and there are a number of ways you can help!


Brown-belted bumble bee (Bombus griseocollis)

Introducing Xerces’ Newest Community Science Project: Nebraska Bumble Bee Atlas

Published on June 18, 2019

To help further our understanding of, and conservation efforts for, bumble bees, the Xerces Society has launched the Nebraska Bumble Bee Atlas. This community science project offers locals the opportunity to work alongside researchers to collect data that will shed light on the distribution, status, and habitat needs of Nebraska’s bumble bees.


New iNaturalist Project Makes it Easier to Submit Data to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper

Published on June 7, 2019

Now you can submit data to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper using the iNaturalist app on a smartphone or tablet (iOS and Android are both supported). This new way of submitting data makes it easier to share photos and locality data—and we need all hands on deck this season, to better understand the hurdles facing the imperiled western monarch population!


Rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis)

Five Ways Wildlife Preservation Canada’s Bumble Bee Recovery & Conservation Initiatives are Benefitting from the Success of Bumble Bee Watch

Published on May 2, 2019

Since its launch in 2014, and thanks to its growing popularity each year, Bumble Bee Watch has generated an enormous dataset devoted to cataloging North America’s bumble bee fauna, and the information it contains has enabled us to tackle important questions in bumble bee ecology.


How to Support Monarch Butterfly Conservation—During Earth Week and Beyond!

Published on April 27, 2019

Helping the monarch back to full health isn’t going to be easy or quick, but we can’t stand by and do nothing. If we all plant a small patch of milkweed and nectar plants, and all think about how we can change our actions to make things better for monarchs, together we can transform the landscape to allow the monarch to rebound—and give our children the gift of watching orange wings flap in the sunshine.


Honoring Robbin Thorp, a Legendary Figure in North American Bee Conservation

Published on April 24, 2019

Robbin Thorp, Professor Emeritus at University of California–Davis, has made lasting contributions to the bee conservation community in ways that might never be measured, but will certainly be felt. As such, it is fitting to recognize this living legend of North American bumble bee conservation during Earth Week.


Announcing the 2019 DeWind Awardees

Published on April 3, 2019

The Xerces Society is happy to announce the 2019 Dewind awardees: Niranjana Krishnan, a PhD candidate at Iowa State University, and Molly Wiebush, a master’s student at Florida State University.


Yellow-banded bumble bee (Bombus terricola)

A Quest for Bumble Bee Nests: The Missing Link

Published on March 26, 2019

Researchers at York University are recruiting members from across North America for a very important mission. You will need to be vigilant, always observing. This subject is elusive. Determination, a sharp eye, and a smartphone will be your greatest assets. The mission, should you choose to accept it: find and submit sightings of bumble bee nests.


Community Scientists Can Help Support Imperiled Western Monarchs

Published on March 12, 2019

We encourage everyone to take some time while hiking in the California coast range, California Central Valley, and the rest of the West, to help researchers by submitting any and all monarch and milkweed observations this year to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper website.


Mexico monarchs

Photo Essay: Trinational Monarch Meeting and Exploring Mexico’s Monarch Overwintering Sites

Published on March 7, 2019

Xerces Society Endangered Species Conservation Biologist and Western Monarch Lead Emma Pelton recounts her recent experience in Mexico with this photo essay.


New Year’s Count of Western Monarchs Confirms Decline, Trends Seen in Previous Years

Published on February 5, 2019

Overall, the count data revealed an average decrease of 38% between the Thanksgiving and New Year’s counts.


Monarch overwintering in California

Monarch Butterflies in Western North America in Jeopardy

Published on January 17, 2019

Population of monarchs overwintering in California at lowest level ever recorded Media Contacts: Emma Pelton, Endangered Species Conservation Biologist; emma.pelton@xerces.org, (971) 533-7245 Sarina Jepsen, Endangered Species Program Director; sarina.jepsen@xerces.org, (971) 244-3727 PORTLAND, Ore.; Thursday, 1/17/19—The population of monarch butterflies overwintering in California has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded. Surveys done by volunteers with Read more …


Monarch overwintering in California

Record Low Number of Overwintering Monarch Butterflies in California—They Need Your Help!

Published on

We urge you to join us and our colleagues in the western monarch science and conservation community in taking meaningful, swift action to help save western monarchs.


Rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis)

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – November 2018

Published on December 3, 2018

November’s featured staff hail from Minnesota, Indiana, and California, and have been conducting training and outreach events, helping General Mills to implement their plan to plant 3,300 acres of pollinator habitat, and monitoring farm habitat plantings in the San Joaquin Valley.


Monarch overwintering in California

Early Thanksgiving Counts Show a Critically Low Monarch Population in California

Published on November 29, 2018

The California overwintering population has been reduced to less than 0.5% of its historical size, and has declined by 86% compared to 2017. While western monarchs are facing unprecedented challenges right now, there is still hope that we can recover the population if we work quickly, strategically, and together.


Monarch flying over showy milkweed, Oregon

Western Monarch Numbers Expected to Be Low this Year

Published on November 15, 2018

You may be asking “What can I do to help the monarch?” Besides protecting habitat, avoiding pesticide use, and planting gardens, another way is to contribute monarch and milkweed data to Xerces-led citizen science efforts—namely, the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count and the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper.


Funastrum cynanchoides

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – October 2018

Published on October 23, 2018

Select updates from our team of restoration ecologists, entomologists, plant ecologists, and researchers.


Firefly jar

Keeping the Lights Burning: The Status of Fireflies in the United States and Canada

Published on October 1, 2018

If there is one thing we have discovered during our assessment effort, it is that there is still much to be learned about the world of fireflies. Xerces will continue to seek a better understanding of these enchanting animals and how best to protect them. May their lights shine on for their sakes, and for ours.


Rachel Carson

Celebrating the Legacy of Rachel Carson

Published on September 27, 2018

The environmental complexities Rachel Carson illuminated in Silent Spring are only part of her far-reaching impact. Her raw determination, even in the face of severe illness, and her propensity for breaking barriers, provide a compelling example for environmentalists. May we all continue the fight for the well-being of invertebrates, ecosystems, and our world.


Lincoln Brower

Lincoln Brower: A Life Well Spent

Published on July 31, 2018

Remembering a ground-breaking monarch researcher, a passionate advocate for monarchs, and a beloved member of the conservation community.


Unblinded by Science

Published on April 13, 2018

The Xerces Society has become well-known for our publications, trainings, and for the acres of habitat we’ve worked to protect and restore. What is often less visible is the scientific work our staff are engaged in which underpins these efforts. More than two-thirds of our staff are scientists with diverse backgrounds and expertise, who are Read more …


New Research Confirms Decline in Western Freshwater Mussels

Published on October 27, 2017

When we talk about native freshwater mussels (not the invasive zebra mussels you’ve heard so much about), we often start by mentioning how obscure they are, that they look like rocks and live in places where they go largely unseen. It’s true that freshwater mussels aren’t as showy as butterflies, or as celebrated as bees, Read more …


ARS USDA image gallery

Expanding Our Understanding of Pesticide Impacts on Invertebrates

Published on April 28, 2017

In an effort to keep up with the constantly expanding information available about pesticides and their impacts on pollinators and other invertebrates, the Xerces Society created the Impacts of Pesticides on Invertebrates database (pesticideimpacts.org). The database is a collection of summaries of recent research articles; it does not include the articles themselves, but does provide Read more …


Obligate Mutualism Blooms in the Desert

Published on April 18, 2017

Tikaboo Valley, Nevada. Home of the Extraterrestrial Highway, the infamous black mailbox, UFO seekers, cattle ranchers, and desert wanderers. Nestled between three mountain ranges and notorious Area 51, Tikaboo is also home to those bizarre Mojave residents known as Joshua trees. These spiky, Dr. Seuss-like plants provide critical food, moisture, and refuge to an incredible Read more …


Help Researchers Track Milkweeds and Monarchs across the West

Published on February 16, 2017

Monarch researchers are trying to understand why monarch overwintering populations are declining in the West, and we need your help! Overwintering monarch populations have declined by 74% in coastal California and more than 80% in central Mexico since monitoring began about 20 years ago. Researchers in the eastern U.S. have identified loss of milkweed (the Read more …


Conservation Innovation Grant Studies Farming With Native Beneficial Insects

Published on January 13, 2017

Note: This article was written and published by the USDA NRCS. The original article may be downloaded here: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/PA_NRCSConsumption/download?cid=nrcseprd1288409&ext=pdf The Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. Read more …


Monarch Butterflies in the Western United States

Published on July 20, 2016

The monarch butterfly has received a lot of attention in the last couple of years. Much of that has focused on the population that migrates through eastern North America, as far north as Ontario, and the problems facing the overwintering grounds in Mexico. Monarchs also breed in the western U.S. and research shows that they Read more …


Research Update: Are bee diseases linked to pesticides?

Published on February 16, 2016

The issue of pesticide impacts on bees is of key interest to many people. In time, we’ll also be gathering this information onto a page on our web site. The recently published article, Are bee diseases linked to pesticides?—A brief review (Sanchez-Bayo et al. 2016), infused valuable insights into the discussion about pollinator decline. The Read more …


The Value of Science

Published on December 1, 2015

Science is the foundation of our work here at the Xerces Society. It underpins everything we do. We undertake applied research to determine the extent of decline for bumble bees, freshwater mussels, butterflies, and many other invertebrates. We work with landowners and land management agencies to determine where at-risk species occur, so we can target Read more …