Monday, February 29, 2016

CNHP Staff Mentor Future Conservation Biologists

CNHP continues to take a lead role in developing the future conservation biologists in Colorado. Annually, CNHP mentors honors undergraduate students as they tackle research on rare species of Colorado. The most-recent graduate is Rachel Maison. Rachel is an honors student in the Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology Department. She conducted independent research on the occupancy and habitat associations of the hops blue butterfly (Celastrina humulus). She continued the research begun by Callie Puntenney in 2014, which was recently accepted as a publication in the Journal of Insect Conservation. Rachel’s research discovered that hops blue butterflies are prevalent on the U.S. Air Force Academy where there are large expanses of wild hops (Humulus lupulus). Wild hops is the host plant of the hops blue butterfly. Additionally, she found that hops blue butterflies are prevalent in areas where ant nests are abundant. Because many of the members of the blue butterfly family (Family: Lycaenidae) have larva that are tended by ants, Rachel incorporated ant-nest searches into her research project.

CNHP zoologist Rob Schorr (left) served as a mentor to CSU student Rachel Maison (right), helping her design and complete an independent research project on occupancy and habitat associations of hops blue butterfly (Celastrina humulus).

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