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Lecture : Butterflies as Ecological Indicators

Museum of the Rockies welcomes Dr. Diane Debinski, the Department Head and Professor of the Ecology Department at MSU to speak about butterflies. This lecture will complement our current changing exhibition, Amazing Butterflies.

Parnassius butterflies lay their eggs each year in montane meadows during mid-summer. The eggs overwinter under the deep snow, hatching into caterpillars in the spring when the snowpack melts. As temperatures increase and the duration of snow cover in our region shortens, these butterflies can serve as an ecological indicator for montane ecosystems because they are abundant, showy, and easily identified. Dr. Debinski and her students have been studying Parnassius butterflies and the flowering plants that they use for nectar in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for over 25 years. Hear the story of how this small white butterfly may provide a window into understanding how climate change may be affecting montane ecosystems worldwide.

All lectures have a limited capacity and are open on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open 30 minutes prior to each lecture. Attendees may not save seats for others.