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Pieris Project

Main Project Information
Presented By Backyard Genomics
Goal To understand how organisms adapt to environmental changes
Task Help collect small cabbage white butterflies (invasive pests)
Where Global, anywhere on the planet

The Pieris Project is a citizen science initiative designed to use the cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) to learn how organisms adapt to new environments. To do this we need help collecting this butterfly from across its entire range, including your backyard! The small cabbage white butterfly is a great species to study how organisms adapt to new environments because it has invaded many parts of the world. It is also probably the most abundant butterfly on the planet, largely due to it being an agricultural pest--the caterpillars feed on plants in the mustard family (broccoli, cabbage, kale, etc.). Therefore, collecting a few won't harm this species, yet these collections will allow us to answer many important questions that would not be possible otherwise. Thus this species is the perfect ambassador for learning about other butterflies and insects. Please consider helping this important effort, because through your collections of this butterfly we can learn a great deal about the ecology and evolution of butterflies more broadly as well as how human activities (climate change, pollution, etc.) are having an effect on biodiversity.

How to Join

It's easy to participate. You just need to catch a few cabbage white butterflies and send them in. A video and description of how to make a butterfly net and collection envelope can be found on our project website.

Social Media
Ideal Age Group Elementary school (6 - 10 years), Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families
Ideal Frequency Other
Average Time Less than an hour
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity On a walk, run, On a hike, At home
Class Materials
Media Mentions
and Publications
Tags butterfly, cabbage white, climate change, environment, genetics, genomics, girl scouts, morphology, pieris rapae
Project Updated 05/23/2018