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“It might take the monarchs as many as four to five generations to complete the journey all the way back up to Canada”

Monarch butterflies travel all the way to Dominica! Researchers from Canada say they take generations to do it!

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterflies Migration Tracked Through Generations Across North America

August 07, 2013 – News Release

Everyone knows all about the epic breeding journey taken each year by generations of monarch butterflies between Mexico and Canada, right? Not so fast, say researchers including University of Guelph biologists.

Until now, linking adult butterflies and their birthplaces during a complicated annual migration spanning all of eastern North America and involving up to five generations of the iconic insects had eluded scientists.

Now for the first time, researchers have mapped that migration pattern across the continent over an entire breeding season. That information might help conserve a creature increasingly threatened by loss of habitat and food sources, says Tyler Flockhart, a PhD student in U of G’s Department of Integrative Biology.

“This tells us where individuals go and where they’re coming from,” he said.

Flockhart is lead author of a paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B with Prof. Ryan Norris and co-authors based in Saskatchewan, Colorado and Australia.

Their new study traced successive generations of adult monarchs to their birthplaces between the southern United States and Ontario over a single breeding season.

Before this, scientists had only a rough idea of those annual colonization patterns, said Prof. Ryan Norris, Integrative Biology. “You could have a monarch showing up in Ontario, but we didn’t know exactly where it came from.”

Tracking migration patterns is vital to understanding why monarch numbers are declining and predicting the effects on the insects of milkweed plant loss, habitat destruction and other factors, he said.

In 2012, the smallest-ever population of monarchs was recorded in their Mexican overwintering grounds. “They’ve been declining steadily,” said Flockhart.

Monarchs normally show up in southern Ontario by June or July. This summer, few had been sighted here by the end of July.

The researchers used chemical markers in butterfly wings to match “waves” of insect generations with their birthplaces. Monarch larvae eat only milkweed. The plant’s chemical signature varies from place to place, allowing scientists to pinpoint a butterfly’s birthplace by analyzing those chemical elements in its wings.

Flockhart spent summer 2011 following the northward migration and netting more than 800 monarchs for analysis. Beginning a road trip in southern Texas, he logged 35,000 kilometres across 17 states and two provinces. “As far as I know, it’s the broadest sample of monarch butterflies through an entire breeding season across North America.”

Monarch colonies overwinter in Mexico. During the breeding season beginning in April, successive generations were born in Texas and Oklahoma, then in the U.S. Midwest, and then over a broad area spanning the northeast coast and the Midwest.

One key stop is the “corn belt” in the U.S Midwest. There a breeding “explosion” sends vast numbers of adults in several directions, including to Canada, said Norris.

He said loss of milkweed plants and planting of genetically modified corn and soy in the Midwest have affected monarch survival. “If habitats in the Midwest continue to decline, then monarchs will lose the ability to expand the breeding range, including those butterflies that end up here in Ontario.”

It’s also important to protect breeding habitat in other locations, he said, including parts of southern Texas that supply future generations to breed in the Midwest.

“To lose monarchs would be a huge blow to the environment and to the public. People can easily identify monarchs. It might be the first butterfly they see or catch as a child, and it’s often the first story they hear about how animals migrate.”

Adds Flockhart: “Every school kid knows about monarchs.”

For more information:
Prof. Ryan Norris
University of Guelph
rnorris@uoguelph.ca

http://www.uoguelph.ca/news/2013/08/monarch_butterflies_migrations_tracked_generations.html

 

 

 

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I have written about pesticides and the detrimental effect on humans for over 20 years.

We are all at risk for DEMENTIA; CANCER; OBESITY; INFERTILITY if we don’t start farming mindfully.

I have been shunned and laughed at by co-workers; family and friends but ……

I knew it would take a few years but someone with more influence then me would have to do an article – and perhaps people would sit up and pay attention!

Than you MSN

This is a copy of an MSN article

What’s Poisoning the Men of Martinique!

From the outside, the French Caribbean island of Martinique looks like a paradise: turquoise waters beneath colorful wooden homes that climb up lush green slopes of banana leaves. Life seems pretty laid-back — no one expects Martinique to lead the world in any rankings. But this Caribbean island does lead the world in one dark, tragic metric: prostate cancer rates. According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, in Martinique:

For every 100,000 men, 227 have prostate cancer.

That number is almost twice the rate of the second country on the list: Norway (129). The United States, by comparison, comes in at No. 14, with 98 incidents per 100,000. And Martinique’s is an outlier result that looks even more eyebrow-raising when you run comparisons to figure out why.

Maybe it’s the geography? Maybe something about this little pocket of the Caribbean causes the cancer rates to spike? If so, the neighboring islands of Dominica, or even Puerto Rico, should also show those rates. They don’t. While Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados are also in the top five, Martinique’s rates are still double. Maybe it’s the genetics? The island is a French colony, but if French genetics are the problem, then the French should have just as high rates. They don’t. Though their rates are the third-highest on the list, they are still half that of Martinique’s. And as a 2009 paper from theInternational Journal of Oncology found, “the growth curves of incidence rates” for Martinique and metropolitan France have been “significantly diverging since 1983.”

But some doctors have come up with a damning diagnosis: those green slopes of banana leaves. Turns out, they’re a little too green. The high cancer rate in Martinique is being linked to pesticides, primarily used in banana plantations to combat weevils. According to the 2009 paper, researchers found that the islanders’ connective tissue was being contaminated by “extremely high levels” of a nasty cocktail of “DDT, DDE, alpha, beta and gamma HCH, aldrin and dieldrin.” The paper concludes that environmental factors such as the “intensive and prolonged exposure to carcinogenic, mutagenic and reproductive toxin pesticides” may be the culprit.

One of the lead authors of that paper, Dr. Dominique Belpomme, professor in clinical oncology at the Paris University René Descartes, was asked in 2007 by politicians in Martinique to give advice on the health effects of chlordecone pollution — also called kepone, a colorless pesticide related to DDT. It is so toxic that in 2011, it was banned globally by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. “But today, unfortunately, chlordecone was replaced by the use of other toxic pesticides,” he tells OZY, “so there is no end to pollution.” Now, concerned citizens of Martinique believe the chemicals have poisoned their entire food chain, plus their rivers and coasts.

For its part, the government of Martinique, which declined to comment to OZY, has launched an investigation into the issue, through the country’s public-health prosecutors. Indeed, the rate has drawn some attention, with locals protesting and mainland France contributing aid to research and monitoring. But the results of these changes may not be evident for years. And that’s got not just the young men of Martinique worried. As Dr. Belpomme points out, the pesticides might also be linked to “women with breast cancer and children with congenital malformations.”