Biologist Hellmann contributes to new book

Author: William G. Gilroy


A new book that shares essential insights into population biology, ecology and conservation biology gained through decades of intense investigation of butterflies includes several chapters by University of Notre Dame biologist Jessica Hellmann.p. On the Wings of the Checkerspots: A Model System for Population Biology,was edited by Paul Ehrilch of Stanford University and Ilkha Hanski of the University of Helsinki, who have long studied checkerspot butterflies in California and Finland. Checkerspot research has resulted in major contributions to the fields of ecology and evolution, including recent innovations by Hellmann and her collaborators demonstrating that climate change can, and has, driven populations of endangered species to extinction. The book demonstrates how long-term investigation of checkerspots provides insight into the major questions in ecology and evolution biology.p. A recent review in the journal Science called the bookrequired reading for all conservation biologistsand recommended it to anyoneinterested in evolution, ecology, or entertaining and informative stories about butterflies.p. Hellmann, an assistant professor of biological sciences, and her research group currently are studying the diversity of ways in which local and regional climatic effects are altering population dynamics. She continues to use butterflies to understand the effects of climate change on nature. Because detailed climate study in every ecological system would be a daunting task, her research compares two butterfly species in western North America with the goal of predicting climatic impacts on endangered, vulnerable and culturally valued species.p. A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2003, Hellmann earned her doctorate from Stanford and completed postdoctoral research there and at the University of British Columbia. More information about her research is on the Web site at On the Wings of Checkerspotswas published by Oxford University Press.p. Contact: Jessica Hellmann, 574-631-7521,

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