Monarch butterflies, one of the oldest, most resilient species could be decimated — and soon — by climate change. Their life cycles are driven by a search for optimal conditions — summers in the northern U.S. and Canada; breeding in the southern U.S. in fall and spring; and winters in Central Mexico. The criteria are dependent on relatively consistent weather patterns. That no longer exists. Chip Taylor, a professor at the University of Kansas, said, “The migration will disappear unless we solve climate change.”

Clues about historical climate changes

Whether it’s ice, lake-bottom mud, or cave stalactites and stalagmites, if something piles up and accumulates over time, it can tell scientists about past climate conditions and how they’ve changed.

That’s also true for bat droppings from Missouri caves, said conservation geneticist Christy Edwards, who is leading the research.

Rachel Reid, a research scientist, said, it is “going to be recording back down to that base of the food chain, and what plants are available.” In other words, changes in the composition can reflect how vegetation has transformed.

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