Migratory animals comprising a significant portion of the world’s biodiversity and billions of dollars are spent each year on their conservation. However, there is no single framework that outlines how best to accommodate the financial and ecological challenges inherent to effective conservation planning of migratory species. Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) are likely the most recognized insect in North America because they have the longest migration of any insect in the world. Each autumn, millions of monarchs depart breeding grounds from as far north as Canada and migrate south through the United States to few (~12) densely packed wintering colonies in central Mexico. Conservation planning for monarchs therefore requires protecting different resources among three different countries.
For my PhD I used a combination of models, experiments, and field studies to integrate migratory connectivity, population dynamics and optimal conservation strategies for the eastern population of monarch butterflies. I estimated migratory connectivity using complementary intrinsic and extrinsic markers and using this information, I developed a monarch population model to include effects of multiple generations and specific life history events across the annual cycle. I plan to use mathematical optimization to determine where conservation resources should be allocated through the entire distribution of the monarch butterfly to maximize population size and persistence.
Flockhart, DTT, Norris, DR, Coe, J. 2016. Predicting free-roaming cat density in urban areas. In press: Animal Conservation
Flockhart, DTT, Kyser, TK, Chipley, D, Miller, N & Norris, DR. 2015. Applying strontium isotopes (87Sr/86Sr) for tracking wildlife: experimental evidence shows no fractionation between soil, plants, and herbivores. Isotopes in Environmental & Health Studies 51(3): 372-381.
Flockhart, DTT, Pichancourt, JB, Norris, DR & Martin TG. 2015. Unraveling the annual cycle in a migratory animal: breeding-season habitat loss drives declines of monarch butterflies. Journal of Animal Ecology 84: 155-165.
Flockhart, DTT, Wassenaar, LI, Hobson, KA, Martin, TG, Wunder, MB & Norris, DR. 2013. Tracking multi-generational colonization of the breeding grounds by monarch butterflies in eastern North America. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London: Biological Sciences 280 (1768).
Norris, DR, Flockhart, DTT & Strickland, D. 2013. Contrasting patterns of survival and dispersal in multiple habitats reveals an ecological trap in a food-caching bird. Oecologia 173: 827-835.
Hanley, D, Miller, N, Flockhart, DTT & Norris, DR. 2013. Forewing pigmentation predicts migration distance in wild-caught migratory monarch butterflies. Behavioural Ecology 24: 1108-1113.
Flockhart, DTT, Martin, TM, & Norris, DR. 2012. Experimental examination of intraspecific density dependent competition during the breeding period in Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). Public Library of Science, One 7(9): e45080.
Flockhart, DTT. 2010. Timing of events on the breeding grounds for five species of sympatric wood warblers. Journal of Field Ornithology 81: 372-382.
Flockhart, DTT & Wiebe, KL. 2009. Absence of reproductive consequences of hybridization in the Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) hybrid zone. The Auk 126: 351-358.
Flockhart, DTT & Wiebe, KL. 2008. Variable weather patterns affect annual survival of Northern Flickers more than phenotype in the hybrid zone. Condor 110: 701-708.
Schmutz, JK, Flockhart, DTT, Houston, CS & McLoughlin, PD. 2008. Demography of Ferruginous Hawks breeding in Western Canada. Journal of Wildlife Management 72: 1352-1360.
Flockhart, DTT. 2007. Migration timing of Canada Warblers near the northern edge of their breeding range. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 119: 712-716.
Flockhart, DTT & Wiebe, KL. 2007. The role of weather and migration in assortative pairing within the northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) hybrid zone. Evolutionary Ecology Research 9: 887-903.
Seidensticker, MT, Flockhart, DTT, Holt, DW & Gray, K. 2006. Growth and plumage development of nestling Long-eared Owls. Condor 108: 981-985.