The Monarch Madness: Interviews with academics in Virginia (featuring Dr. David Luther)

Posted: March 18, 2015 at 6:44 pm, Last Updated: October 10, 2017 at 8:07 pm


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Some say Monarchs, considered the “king” of the butterflies, are the most beautiful of all butterflies. But the Monarchs could soon end up on the endangered species list. Tatyana Lobova (Old Dominion University) is part of a national effort to provide sites for milkweed plants, which the butterflies need to survive. Plus: It’s hard to have a conversation in a noisy room, so how do birds get their messages across in highly urbanized areas? David Luther (George Mason University) says not only are song stylings changing, but the beaks of some birds are actually growing longer. And: For a full month, students enrolled in the Wilderness Institute eat, breathe, and sleep their course. The ultimate test of their leadership and wilderness skills comes when their professor Anja Whittington (Radford University) leaves the students to experience the final expedition on their own.

Later in the show: It’s a mystery to scientists why there is a string of relatively young volcanoes along the eastern side of North America. Elizabeth Johnson (James Madison University) examines rocks from the depths of extinct volcanoes to unearth what really caused these baffling eruptions. Also: Saxis, a tiny fishing community off the east coast, has lost so much shoreline it’s almost an island now. Russell Burke (Christopher Newport University) is using oysters as part of what he calls “living reefs” as a buffer against the encroaching waters. Plus: Researchers are experimenting with radar as a means of tracking the migration patterns of flocks of songbirds. Eric Walters and Andrew Arnold (Old Dominion University) have teamed up with NASA and environmental groups to study one of the major flyways in the United States.