home Communication Following the Flight of the Monarchs

Following the Flight of the Monarchs

Photo: Pendon, Resting

‘Following the Flight of the Monarchs’ is an interdisciplinary project bringing together artists and scientists, connecting with ecosystems and communities along the migration routes of monarch butterflies as they travel the 3,000 mile journey between Mexico and Canada each year. The project, led by Rob Mackay (https://robmackay.net) at the University of Hull, connects with the international BIOM project led by Leah Barclay at Griffith University and SoundCamp to map the changing soundscapes of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves through art, science, and technology.

Key Links

Rob Mackay: robmackay.net @robflute
Soundcamp: soundtent.org @soundtent
Leah Barclay – Biosphere Soundscapes: biospheresoundscapes.org @LeahBarclay


Streamboxes are being installed in 5 locations along the monarch butterfly migration routes between Canada and Mexico. These will livestream the soundscapes of these different ecosystems 24/7 via the Locus Sonus Soundmap (locusonus.org/soundmap/051/). The first of the boxes was successfully installed in the Cerro Pelón UNESCO monarch butterfly reserve in Mexico in 2018, and another streambox was installed at Point Pelee National Park in Canada in 2019. A temporary stream is set up in Richmond Virginia by Vaughn Garland, and a permanent box will be installed at Kiptopeke State Park in collaboration with the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory. We are also collaborating with Trevor Herbert and his stream from Jasper Ridge Biosphere Preserve in San José, California, and Joel Goodwin in Austin Texas. David Blink will be setting up a stream near Mount Shasta in Northern California. Scientists and park rangers on the project include Dr Pablo Jaramillo Lopez (UNAM, Mexico); Butterflies and Their People Arbortists (Macheros, Mexico), Pato Moreno & Franco Mendoza (Cerro Pelón Biosphere Reserve); Andrew Laforet & Darlene Burgess (Point Pelee National Park); Brian Taber & Nancy Bernhardt (CVWO); Dr Rebeca Quiñonez (National Wildlife Federation).

The streams are being used for ecosystem monitoring as well as integrating into artworks which are raising awareness of the issues the monarchs highlight, who’s numbers have declined by nearly 90% over the past two decades due to industrial use of herbicides, deforestation, and climate change.

Embedded Tweets


Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries in Mexico

Monarch Butterflies

Reveil 2020


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