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How Many Monarchs This Winter?
Estimating the Size of the Monarch Population in Mexico
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Overview
Every year monarchs migrate to Mexico from across eastern North America. They cluster by the millions in 12 mountain sanctuaries. Because the butterflies are gathered in one small region of Mexico, scientists have a chance to estimate the size of the entire migratory population once each year.

Essential Question
Why is it important to collect and analyze monarch population data from year to year?

 

Goals

  1. Explore how scientists estimate the size of the monarch population in Mexico's overwintering region each year.
  2. Investigate questions about why monarch population studies are important; how scientists use the data to reflect on past events, assess current trends, and make predictions for the future.
  3. Broaden students’ awareness of monarch population questions and concerns.
Resources to Explore

Read the slideshow and explore authentic data through graphs and maps.

Monarch butterfly population in Mexico: Chart How many millions of monarch butterflies in Mexico? Monarch butterfly population in Mexico: Chart
Image: Journey North
Historic Records
Image: Elizabeth Howard
How Many Millions?
Image: Journey North
Prediction for this Year?
Estimating the area of monarch butterfly winter colonies in Mexico Estimating the area of monarch butterfly winter colonies in Mexico Estimating the number of monarch butterflies winter colonies in Mexico
Image: Dr. Lincoln Brower
Estimating Area
Image: Wikipedia
How Many Football Fields?
Image: Dave Kust
Estimating Numbers
Map of monarch butterfly sanctuaries in Mexico. Monarch butterfly colony site selection in Mexico Monarch butterfly colony site selection in Mexico
Image: Journey North
The Twelve Sanctuaries
Image: Journey North
Evenly Distributed?
Image: Journey North
Same Each Year?

 

 

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