Fall 2017 & 2016-2017 Global Change Fellow
Statement of purpose:
I am a third year PhD student working with Dr. Nick Haddad in the Department of Applied Ecology. My research focuses on understanding the impacts of climate change on the population dynamics of rare and endangered butterflies. I am passionate about conservation, the application of ecological theory to wildlife management, and science outreach and communication.
Description of research:
My research seeks to determine how the survival and growth of butterfly populations will change under future climate conditions. I am particularly interested in the demographic effects of phenological shifts due to warming. I am using the Appalachian Brown butterfly as a surrogate species for the related endangered St Francis Satyr in my experiments. I raise butterflies from eggs to adults in warming chambers in a greenhouse and at field sites at Fort Bragg NC. This allows me to evaluate the effects of warming on larval survival, development and the timing of lifecycle events. My goal is to model demographic rates under climate change scenarios and use my findings to inform management and conservation strategies. This research falls under Science Theme 4: ‘Ecological Research and Modeling’ of the SE CSC strategic plan.
View a video developed by Elsita describing her research as a Global Change Fellow:
Elsita Kiekebusch, PhD student in Applied Ecology, Rare Butterfly Conservation
View a story produced by NCSU CALS Communications department about her research, and accompanying video: