Tracking climate’s impacts on butterflies using data from citizen scientists
Thursday, March 22, 2012
7:30 pm, Audubon Naturalist Society Woodend Mansion
8940 Jones Mill Road, Chevy Chase MD
Citizen-scientists throughout North America perform thousands of surveys each year as part of a continent-wide network of butterfly monitoring programs. Unlike their European counterparts, these monitoring programs are little known and the growing data resources are rarely used. Leslie Ries at the University of Maryland College Park is heading up an effort to develop and launch a series of tools including a web interfaces and visualization tools that are designed to make available the data collected by the many butterfly monitoring networks in North America. Another goal of her research is to develop statistical models that account for some of the difficulties in using the data emerging from these programs, including 1) non-random placement of survey sites, 2) variable detectability based on weather, and 3) the asynchronous emergence schedule butterflies, which complicates estimates of population size. Leslie will use data from several programs, including the North American Butterfly Association’s Count Program and a state-wide network that is based in Ohio to show how these large networks of citizen-scientists can help us understand how large-scale dynamics like climate are impacting butterfly populations at a continental scale.
Leslie Ries is a Research Scientist at the University of Maryland and a Post-doctoral Scholar at the newly opened National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in Annapolis, MD. Leslie’s research has long focused on how landscape structure impacts habitat quality and she spent many years doing field research on butterflies in Iowa and southern Arizona. She has recently shifted her research focus to large-scale informatics and synthesis, working with citizen-scientist gathered data. She grew up in Kensington, MD and now lives in Silver Spring with her husband, two children, and her parent’s dog.