Launching a research project is typically a multi-step, drawn-out creative process. It starts with ideas and literature searches, develops into finding collaborators and funding, and often requires multiple years to thoroughly test hypotheses.
Michigan State University (MSU) Professor Doug Landis studies the role of insects in agricultural and natural resource systems. His team has spent several years studying how monarch butterflies interact with milkweed and monarch predators. Their research had revealed a promising new technique for enhancing monarch habitat: cutting common milkweed at strategic times during summer generates regrowing stems that are highly attractive to egg-laying monarch butterflies and harbor fewer predators, resulting in greater monarch survival. They were excited to test it in more locations and had enlisted colleagues across the Midwest to replicate the study. For more information, read the MSU article.
NIFA helped fund this research through the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program.