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Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Karen Oberhauser

Associate Professor, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, and Director of the Conservation Biology graduate program, University of Minnesota

Karen Oberhauser

My students and I conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) ecology.  We are interested in their reproductive ecology, host-parasite interactions, factors affecting the distribution and abundance of immature monarch stages, risks posed by global climate change and pest control practices to monarch butterflies. We study monarchs using both traditional lab and field techniques, and by engaging a variety of other audiences. I have a strong interest in engaging K-12 students and teachers in inquiry-based science and promoting a citizenry with a high degree of scientific and environmental literacy.  To this end, I have developed a comprehensive science education program called Monarchs in the Classroom.  The program involves courses and workshops for teachers, a nationwide Citizen Science project called the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, curriculum development, and distribution of monarch eggs and larvae to classroom teachers.  I am passionate about the conservation of the world’s biodiversity, and believe that the connections these projects promote between monarchs, humans, and the natural world will help to promote conservation actions. At the University of Minnesota, I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, and the director of the Conservation Biology graduate program.