As a La Kretz/Natural History Museum postdoc, Elizabeth Long conducted a comprehensive resurvey of butterflies across the Santa Monica Mountains and Los Angeles, quantifying patterns of decline and increase for the first time in 40 years. After a year of intensive field surveys and study of the Museum’s extensive collections, Elizabeth determined that several species (including Giant Swallowtail and Gulf Fritillary) have thrived in the face of human disturbance, while others (Gabb’s Checkerspot, Callippe Fritillary) are in steep decline, even in our most pristine areas. We still have an amazing butterfly fauna, and Elizabeth’s work is critical to its future viability. One key result from her work: our butterflies are doing much, much better west of the 405 compared to open space east of the freeway.
Research Project | 2015