Tuesday, May. 9, 2017 – Tuesday, May. 9, 2017
One of nature's most important and sophisticated evolutionary relationships is that of the monarch butterfly and milkweed plant--one a symbol of life and renewal, the other a toxic plant. Dr. Anurag Agrawal of Cornell will describe this inextricable and intimate relationship, which has been like an arms race over the millennia, a battle of exploitation and defense between two fascinating species.
Dr. Agrawal will delve into major scientific discoveries, including his own pioneering research, to trace how plant poisons have not only shaped monarch-milkweed interactions but have also been culturally important for centuries.
The current ideas regarding the recent decline in monarch populations, including habitat destruction, increased winter storms, and lack of milkweed--the last one a theory that the author rejects--will also be discussed, followed by an evaluation of the current sustainability of monarchs and revelation of a novel explanation for their plummeting numbers.
Dr. Anurag Agrawal is a professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Entomology at Cornell University. Following the lecture Dr. Agrawal will sign copies of his new book Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution, which is lavishly illustrated with more than eighty color photos and images.