Project Monarch Health is a citizen science project in which volunteers sample wild monarch butterflies to help track the spread of a protozoan parasite across North America.
The project's mission is to achieve a broader understanding of host-parasite interactions in monarch butterflies and to enhance awareness of monarch biology and conservation through the coupling of citizens and scientists.
Participants either capture monarch butterflies as adults or raise the caterpillars in separate containers until they become adult butterflies. In either case, you will gently tape each butterfly’s abdomen with a sticker to collect the OE (Ophryocystis elektroscirrha) spores. Next, you will send the sample, along with a simple data sheet for each butterfly, back to the scientists at the Altizer lab where they will analyze the sample. After the data are compiled, project coordinators will send you the results of your sampling contribution as well as post them on the project results page for the public to see.
Anyone interested in monarch butterflies can participate. Project Monarch Health is conducted by people of all skills, ages, and backgrounds including families, retired persons, classrooms, monarch organizations, nature centers, and individuals.
As seen in Chapter 3 of Citizen Science by Caren Cooper.