Ernest Williams
Ernest Williams

Ernest Williams, the William R. Kenan Professor of Biology emeritus and lecturer in biology, recently published two articles about monarch butterflies.

“Microclimatic Protection of Overwintering Monarchs Provided by Mexico’s High-Elevation Oyamel Fir Forests: A Review” appears as chapter in Monarchs in a Changing World: Biology and Conservation of an Iconic Butterfly. The article was co-authored with Lincoln P. Brower.

Williams’ chapter is based on a talk he gave in 2012 at an international meeting on monarch biology and conservation at the University of Minnesota. The chapter reviews all aspects of temperature and humidity that affect overwintering colonies of these butterflies and shows how their evolved behavior maximizes the likelihood of their surviving this stressful season.

Edited by K.S. Oberhauser, K.R. Nail, and S. Altizer and published by Cornell University Press, Monarchs in a Changing World provides a complete and fully up-to-date account of all aspects of monarch biology.

Williams published “Enhancing Monarch Butterfly Reproduction by Mowing Fields of Common Milkweed,” in the April issue of The American Midland Naturalist. As the corresponding author, Williams, along with co-authors  S.J. Fischer, L.P. Brower and P.A. Palmiotto, reported on a study that documented the regrowth of milkweed plants after mid-summer mowing and the increased egg laying by females on new stems. They showed that carefully planned mowing of fields and road edges can potentially increase monarch reproduction.

Founded in 1909, The American Midland Naturalist is a publication of the University of Notre Dame that features articles on a broad spectrum of field and experimental biology.

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