Although international research regarding monarchs and their needs has been underway for decades, there is still much to learn about how to help monarchs and other pollinators find the most suitable habitat locally in Nebraska. In addition to their numerous habitat restoration projects for pollinators, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is working toward gaining an understanding of the abundance and distribution of monarchs and regal fritillaries in the state. Research being led by other organizations in the state will complement the Wildlife Division’s efforts.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has plans to conduct research on species of milkweed and the associated response of monarchs. They have milkweed research plots planned for their Central Platte River Prairies. See TNC Prairie Ecologist Chris Helzer’s blog for more information about this study site.
Sand milkweed (Asclepias arenaria) grows well in the Sandhills of Nebraska, and researchers are interested in knowing the relative suitability of this plant for monarchs. Although, the Sandhills ecoregion appears to lay outside the primary flyway for monarchs, researchers intend to evaluate if the adult monarchs find sand milkweed and use it for egg-laying, and if the larvae survive.
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is leading an effort to develop a beneficial insect plan. Judy Wu-Smart is leading this effort this effort.