"Columbus Theory" was Monarchs and Monoculture in southern Michigan

Ed Reinertsen ereinertsen at iprimus.com
Sat Aug 27 08:54:50 EDT 2005


An excellent and new discussion topic. Thanks for
bringing up, and with some grace turning a negative
discussion in a more positive and productive

Ed Reinertsen

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Kenelm W Philip" <fnkwp at uaf.edu>
To: <LEPS-L at lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Saturday, August 27, 2005 5:03 AM
Subject: Re: Monarchs and Monoculture in southern Michigan

> Neil responded to my query with:
>> The data cannot be relied upon to provide the results you are looking
>> for because there aren't enough of them.
> First, I have no ax to grind here--and am not looking for any results.
> I was merely asking how Neil's comment about tag recovery being
> determined by local weather at the overwintering sites had any
> relevance to the problem at hand, which concerned the ratio of eastern
> to mid- western tags. That question he did not answer.
> I agree that the numbers Paul found and reported are small, and make
> firm conclusions about trends hard to support. There are, however,
> clearly more midwestern than eastern recoveries (subject to change
> when all the data are in).
> As to whether GM crops are harmful or harmless to butterflies (or to
> other organisms--they are certainly as hard on weeds as they are
> designed to be!)--that depends on the specific organism, and also
> requires one to take a long view of the situation. Is the number of
> milkweed plants in the midwest before the advent of GM crops larger
> or smaller than the number before Europeans came to the New World? Is
> the _current_ number larger or smaller? Are the masses of Monarchs in
> the midwest an old event. or something of recent origin due to agri-
> culture? I have no idea, but the Monarch researchers may know some-
> thing about this.
>> You know Ken up there in Alaska you don't seem to understand what
>> modern agriculture is doing to butterfly populations.
> Well, although that kind of thing is not a major problem in Alaska, I
> _do_ read, and have visited the lower 48 states a number of times
> since I moved to Fairbanks. I recall reading about the effect that loss
> of the hedgerows had on English butterflies, for example... But what
> I would like to see are data on the abundance of milkweed in the mid-
> west through history. Is the pattern of weedkiller spraying in GM crops
> allowing significant amounts of milkweed to survive? Is that amount,
> whatever it may be, larger or smaller than the amount present before
> the introduction of large-scale farming?
> Similar questions would arise for any butterfly foodplant in the
> midwest.
> Ken Philip
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