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Migration of Monarch butterflies and global warmingFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was conducted to find out how global warming will affect the survival of Monarch butterflies.

Hypothesis

The Monarch butterfly will not be able to survive wet and freezing cold temperatures. If this is indeed true, this may mean that cold and wet weather brought on by global warming, may result in a dwindling Monarch butterfly population.

Scientific Terms

Nitrogen, sulphur dioxide, water vapor, sulpheric acid, nitric acid

Background

Monarch butterfly migration

Every year just before winter, millions of Monarch butterflies travel from the Canadian border to the mountaineous jungles of Mexico to avoid the cold weather in the north. After spending the winter in Mexico, these butterflies will start their journey back up north in spring. Along the way, they will stop over at milkweed fields to lay eggs. When these eggs hatch, the next generation of butterflies will continue their journey back north to the Canadian border.

Recently global warming has caused temperatures world wide to increase. Computer simulations show that over the next 50 years, more rainfall is expected in the Monarch butterflies’ resting ground in Mexico. The increased rainfall and continuous cold weather will cause crystals to form on the butterflies’ wings and eventually lead to the annihilation of a large percentage of the butterfly population. This is what happened in January of 2002, when almost 80% of the Monarch butterflies died in Mexico.

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Complexity level:
9
Project cost ($):
30
Time required:
1 day to prepare, 2 days for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Basic safety requirements