Anuj Jain was recently awarded the Joan Mosenthal DeWind award administered by the Xerces Society, USA. This award, named after the amateur lepidopterist and pioneering member of the Xerces Society recognises work by a graduate student in the field of lepidoptera conservation.
Two awards are issued worldwide annually based on proposals, and comes with a US$3,750 grant. Anuj is the first student in a university from Asia to be granted the award.
Grant recipients from the past team years are listed ar the Xerces website.
Two of the target enrichment species
Purple Duke (Eulaceura osteria kumana) – a common forest restricted butterfly and Colonel (Pandita sinope sinope) – a rare and locally threatened butterfly. Photos by Tea Yi Kai.
What research did Anuj receive the award for?
Habitat enrichment and dispersal for butterflies in tropical forest and urban landscapes
Deforestation and habitat degradation are primary conservation concerns, reducing and fragmenting critical habitats and resources for tropical insects. As a result, many threatened insects cannot maintain their own populations and need intervention in the form of habitat enrichment. Experimental studies that manipulate key insect resources and quantify insects’ response are lacking, despite these studies’ great conservation potential.
Using Singapore as a model system, my research quantifies the effect of a habitat enrichment strategy by using larval host plants and nectar plants for four butterfly species (two locally threatened) with different habitat requirements, studied across mature forest, degraded forest, and urban landscapes.
I also quantify bottlenecks that limit butterfly populations, study feeding specialization of butterflies to be able to recommend best strategies for enrichment and calculate their dispersal distances and home ranges using mark-recapture techniques. This fills in critical gaps towards our understanding of how tropical butterflies use degraded and fragmented landscapes.
More about Anuj’s research on his lab webpage.