Welcome to MAREN

MAREN is a network of researchers and educators who are searching for answers to big questions about milkweed, an important food source for monarch butterflies. We strive to include students in collecting data and making discoveries.

Get Involved Here!

Events and Announcements

 

  • We are pleased to invite applications for the 2022 MAREN summer workshop June 27, 29, and 30, 2022.  
    • The Milkweed Adaptation Research and Education Network (MAREN) Workshop will introduce educators to methods for observing the phenology, or timing, of milkweed development and the interactions between milkweed plants and the community of milkweed herbivores and pollinators. Over the past two decades the population of the iconic migrating monarch butterfly has declined, prompting widespread efforts to plant more milkweed, the only food source for monarch caterpillars.  What do we need to know to make wise decisions about restoring milkweed populations to support monarchs, even as the climate changes?  At MAREN, we hypothesize that we need a great deal more data about the phenology milkweed interactions that can be collected by educators. Using intersections of both scientific and indigenous ways of building knowledge, educators will be immersed in the ecological relationships of monarchs and milkweed, explore existing data about the phenology of milkweed plants, learn to make careful observations about milkweed growth and interactions with invertebrates at a field site, analyze and discuss the data they collect, and consider how to use data to make predictions and restoration decisions. Learn More and Apply!
  • We have wrapped up data collection for the milkweed local adaptation transplant experiment and are working on data cleaning and analysis.
  • We have installed thousands of milkweed plants across three sites for a provenance trial study of adaptation in milkweed and are gearing up for a second year of data collection in these gardens.
  • We continue to invite participation in the newly revised Phenology and Herbivory Observations!

 

Recent Contributions to our Library

CURI Research Poster on Monarch and Herbivore Abundance Summer 2022

2022 CURI summer research poster

RIT ES Capstone 2019 report on EREN Got Milkweed sites

Monarch Decline and Milkweed Loss

Monarchs and Milkweed – and what we should do about it at St. Olaf

Monarch Butterfly Population Decline

Opinion- The Effect of Available Milkweed on the Monarch Population

Saving the Monarch Butterflies

Monarch Butterfly Population Decline: What should St. Olaf do?

Monarch Butterfly Population Decline

How are we saving the monarchs?

Monarch Population Decline

Monarch Population Decline Essay

Monarch Decline from Habitat Loss

What is causing monarch population decline?

Planting Milkweed is not Enough

Monarch Conservation

Where did the Milkweed go?

Monarchs and Milkweed: Correlation or Causation

Test Creative Post

Test Opinion

Phenology and Local Adaptation Data Nugget

Phenology and Local Adaptation Data Nugget

Picking Plants for the Monarch Highway-Data Nugget

An experimental investigation of local adaptation in common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Geographic Variation in the Growth Responses of Milkweed Plants to Damage

Weird leaf growth patterns in milkweed

Weird leaf growth patterns in milkweed

More Pollinator Images

More Pollinator Images

Pollinator observations on Milkweed

Pollinator observations on Milkweed

Goats do eat milkweed

Goats do eat milkweed

We were out setting up a germination experiment in the snow

We were out setting up a germination experiment in the snow

1. Monarchs and Their Decline

1. Monarchs and Their Decline

2. Monarch Population Decline Debate

2. Monarch Population Decline Debate

3. Milkweed, a Critical Food Source for Monarchs

3. Milkweed, a Critical Food Source for Monarchs

4. Local Adaptation of Milkweed: Evolutionary Principles

4. Local Adaptation of Milkweed: Evolutionary Principles

5. Local Adaptation of Milkweed: Data Analysis

5. Local Adaptation of Milkweed: Data Analysis

6. Citizen Science: Monarch and Milkweed Awareness

6. Citizen Science: Monarch and Milkweed Awareness

7. Picking Plants for the “Monarch Highway”

7. Picking Plants for the “Monarch Highway”

Citizen Science and Ethics

Citizen Science and Ethics

Visit Our Library

View and contribute to stories, videos, photos, lesson plans, publications, presentations, student works, and other creative contributions.

See Educational Resources

Our “Got Milkweed?” and “Phenology and Herbivory” curricula use student participation to inform our discoveries about milkweed.

Meet our Partners

Our network has over 30 partners, and we are always welcoming to new members!