Grant Supports Student, Faculty Research of Threatened Butterfly Species

Oregon Silverspot Butterfly, by Peter Pearsall/U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceA $1.2 million, three-year grant will help Pacific University faculty, students and partners continue restoration work and research to protect the federally threatened Oregon Silverspot Butterfly.

The Recovery Challenge Grant from the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife funds work by Pacific University Professor Dr. Rich Van Buskirk and partners at the Woodland Park Zoo in Washington and Washington State University. 

Van Buskirk is an evolutionary ecologist and biology professor at Pacific University. For the past several years, his research — and research opportunities for his students — has focused on the Silverspot Butterfly. In 2018, in partnership with scientists at the Oregon Zoo, Woodland Park Zoo and U.S. departments of Fish & Wildlife and Forest Service, he received a grant to use scent-trained canines to detect larvae and pupa in the wild to identify habitat regions where the species is surviving. The efforts were featured on the Oregon Field Guide television program.

Of the new grant, more than $250,000 of the grant will go to Pacific to support crews of undergraduate students participating in field research along the Oregon Coast.

Van Buskirk’s students also have previously joined him in field research, studying species like the American kestrel and restoring the Gales Creek riparian corridor.

Photo by Peter Pearsall/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021