The Value of Collecting Long-term Data
counting the stream of butterflies passing over your head each day during
the entire fall season! Daily observations at monitoring sites such as
Cape May and Chincoteague (say ?chink-o-teeg?) are providing a new view
of migration. Find them on this
annual migration counts are providing a long-term record of migration
patterns. Both sites are migration hotspots because they?re located at
the tip of peninsulas. Monarchs often congregate on these peninsulas.
They wait until the wind is right before risking the long over-water crossing.
What time of year is the migration strongest in each place? Are there
more or fewer monarchs this year than last? How does migration compare
at the two sites?
what can you learn from this migration data:
This! Journaling Questions
using Cape May Migration Data
Make a line graph using the data collected at each site. Show how many
monarchs per hour were counted each week during each fall season. Use
a different color of line for each year.
2) Does the migration appear to peak each year during any particular week?
3) List the years in order, from the strongest to weakest migration seasons.
4) To date, in which year was the monarch migration through Chincoteague
5) In which year were the fewest monarchs seen?
6) Do you think the migration monitoring data is an accurate tool for
comparing monarch numbers from year to year? What factors might affect
the counts, so that the monarch population might seem higher or lower
than it actually is?
Science Education Standards
Scientists use different kinds of investigations depending on the questions
they are trying to answer. Types of investigations include describing
objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test
develop explanations using observations (evidence) and what they already
know about the world. Good explanations are based on evidence from investigations.
in all aspects of scientific inquiry. (5-8)
The behavior of individual organisms is influenced by internal cues (such
as hunger) and by external cues (such as a change in the environment).
Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize,
and display relevant data to answer them.