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Short and Long Range Population Dynamics of the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

The monarch butterfly annually migrates from central Mexico to southern Canada. During recent decades, its population has been reduced due to human interaction with their habitat. We examine the effect of herbicide usage on the monarch butterfly's population by creating a system of linear and non-linear ordinary differential equations that describe the interaction between the monarch's population and its environment at various stages of migration: spring migration, summer loitering, and fall migration. The model has various stages that are used to describe the dynamics of the monarch butterfly population over multiple generations. In Stage 1, we propose a system of coupled ordinary differential equations that model the populations of the monarch butterflies and larvae during spring migration. In Stage 2, we propose a predator-prey model with age structure to model the population dynamics at the summer breeding site. In Stages 3 and 4, we propose exponential decay functions to model the monarch butterfly's fall migration to central Mexico and their time at the overwintering site. The model is used to analyze the long-term behavior of the monarch butterflies through numerical analysis, given data available in the research literature

  • Poster session award recipient at the 2012 AMS/MAA Joint Mathematics Meeting in Boston, MA

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Komi Messan, North Carolina A&T State University
Kyle Smith, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Shawn Tsosie, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Shuchen Zhu, Arizona State University
Sergei Suslov, Arizona State University