SOURCE: Monarch Butterfly Fund

Monarch Butterfly Fund

November 14, 2017 08:00 ET

Monarch Butterfly Fund Issues Technology Design Challenge to Solve Mystery of Monarch Butterfly Migration

Inventors invited to participate in $50,000 challenge to create new tracking device

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwired - Nov 14, 2017) - The Monarch Butterfly Fund (MBF), committed to the preservation of the monarch butterfly's migration across North America, has launched an international competition to find a tracking technology that can deliver important scientific insights. The fund is offering a $50,000 cash prize to the individual or team that can conceptualize and develop an innovative tagging and tracking system for monarch butterflies. This system will enable scientists and environmentalists to better understand patterns of butterfly migration and the length of time it takes them to complete their journey.

Every fall, millions of monarch butterflies travel up to 3,000 miles, leaving the cooler temperatures of southern Canada and the northern United States to survive the winter months in central Mexico. Contemporary methods of tracking this migration rely on adhesive tags applied to the hindwing, a limited system that requires researchers to find the butterflies sometime later, usually after death. Some information can be gathered by the recovery of these tags, but overall, this method fails to provide key points of information, such as the butterflies' daily migratory flight and how environmental conditions affect that flight.

"The monarch butterfly participates in one of the world's most spectacular mass migrations," said Dr. Karen Oberhauser, Director of the Arboretum at the University of Wisconsin. "Unfortunately, habitat loss throughout North America puts its migration in serious peril. The additional data that we can gather from an advanced tracking device would allow us to aid in the preservation of this migration."

The focus of this public challenge is to find a ground-breaking technology that is widely applicable and that can be easily implemented in current conservation and scientific research, allowing individual monarchs to be tracked during the migration.

Project proposals will be required before a team can be included in the competition and must be submitted by April 1, 2018. Each proposal must include information about the team, including the number of members and their occupations/qualifications, the team's affiliation with other entities such as universities or companies, and the name of the team leader. To learn more about the Monarch Butterfly Flight Challenge and the submission process, visit: MBFC.

To support the Monarch Butterfly Fund's Challenge or to adopt a number of monarch butterflies and track their migration, visit the MBF Donation Page.

About Monarch Butterfly Fund:
The Monarch Butterfly Fund (MBF) www.monarchconservation.org promotes the preservation of monarch butterflies and their extraordinary migration across North America. This goal is met through the Fund's strong focus on maintaining healthy natural ecosystems and on developing safe places for the monarch population to thrive. Focused on conservation in the monarch wintering sites in Mexico, MBF is helping to ensure their preservation through scientific research and monitoring, forest conservation, education and outreach, sustainable development, and partnerships. 

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