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Title: Grassland disturbance increases monarch butterfly oviposition and decreases arthropod predator abundance

Abstract

Many species of conservation concern depend on disturbance to create or maintain suitable habitat. We evaluated effects of disturbance on the eastern migratory monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus L.), which has declined markedly in recent decades, primarily attributed to the loss of milkweed host plants from annual crop fields in the US Midwest. Currently, remaining milkweeds in this region primarily occur in perennial grasslands, where disturbance is infrequent, predatory arthropods are abundant, and seasonal patterns of plant phenology differ from crop fields. In a two-year study in Michigan, USA, we applied three treatments to 23 patches of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.); one-third of each patch was left undisturbed, while the remaining thirds were mowed in either mid-June or mid-July, respectively, and allowed to regenerate. We subsequently measured effects on monarch oviposition, predator abundance, survival of sentinel eggs and larvae, and tested how milkweed phenology and aphid colonization—both of which are reset by disturbance—structure predation risk for immature monarchs. Monarchs laid more eggs on regenerating versus undisturbed stems under both mowing regimes. Predators were strongly suppressed by mowing treatments, requiring 2–4 weeks to recolonize milkweed after disturbance, and were more abundant on flowering or aphid-infested stems. We found no significant differencesmore » in monarch egg/larval survival, although it tended to be higher in mowed plots. Overall, monarchs laid more eggs on regenerating stems where their offspring may also experience enemy-free space. Future work should focus on testing grassland disturbance as a management tool to improve productivity of existing monarch breeding habitat.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1]
  1. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States). Dept. of Entomology and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States). Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1546976
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1547639
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0018409; FC02-07ER64494
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Biological Conservation
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 233; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0006-3207
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Butterfly conservation; Disturbance; Grasslands; Monarch butterfly; Predation

Citation Formats

Haan, Nathan L., and Landis, Douglas A. Grassland disturbance increases monarch butterfly oviposition and decreases arthropod predator abundance. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2019.03.007.
Haan, Nathan L., & Landis, Douglas A. Grassland disturbance increases monarch butterfly oviposition and decreases arthropod predator abundance. United States. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2019.03.007.
Haan, Nathan L., and Landis, Douglas A. Sat . "Grassland disturbance increases monarch butterfly oviposition and decreases arthropod predator abundance". United States. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2019.03.007.
@article{osti_1546976,
title = {Grassland disturbance increases monarch butterfly oviposition and decreases arthropod predator abundance},
author = {Haan, Nathan L. and Landis, Douglas A.},
abstractNote = {Many species of conservation concern depend on disturbance to create or maintain suitable habitat. We evaluated effects of disturbance on the eastern migratory monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus L.), which has declined markedly in recent decades, primarily attributed to the loss of milkweed host plants from annual crop fields in the US Midwest. Currently, remaining milkweeds in this region primarily occur in perennial grasslands, where disturbance is infrequent, predatory arthropods are abundant, and seasonal patterns of plant phenology differ from crop fields. In a two-year study in Michigan, USA, we applied three treatments to 23 patches of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.); one-third of each patch was left undisturbed, while the remaining thirds were mowed in either mid-June or mid-July, respectively, and allowed to regenerate. We subsequently measured effects on monarch oviposition, predator abundance, survival of sentinel eggs and larvae, and tested how milkweed phenology and aphid colonization—both of which are reset by disturbance—structure predation risk for immature monarchs. Monarchs laid more eggs on regenerating versus undisturbed stems under both mowing regimes. Predators were strongly suppressed by mowing treatments, requiring 2–4 weeks to recolonize milkweed after disturbance, and were more abundant on flowering or aphid-infested stems. We found no significant differences in monarch egg/larval survival, although it tended to be higher in mowed plots. Overall, monarchs laid more eggs on regenerating stems where their offspring may also experience enemy-free space. Future work should focus on testing grassland disturbance as a management tool to improve productivity of existing monarch breeding habitat.},
doi = {10.1016/j.biocon.2019.03.007},
journal = {Biological Conservation},
number = C,
volume = 233,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {3}
}

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