Stanford University SU Biology Department
Home> Publications> Books> Checkerspots...
About CCB
CCB Faculty, Staff & Students
Research and Projects
Resources for Journalists
Supporting CCB
Contact CCB

The Center for Conservation Biology announces a new book, published by Oxford University Press:

On the Wings of Checkerspots: a Model system for Population Biology

Paul R. Ehrlich & Ilkka Hanski, eds., 2004.

[order from amazon]
Read a review from Science Magazine: "A checkered history" [pdf].


Cover material
Checkerspot butterflies have been used as an extraordinarily successful model system for more than four decades. This volume presents the first synthesis of the broad range of studies of that system as conducted in Ehrlich's research group in Stanford, Hanski's research group in Helsinki, and elsewhere. Ehrlich's long-term research project on Edith's checkerspot helped establish an integrated discipline of population biology in the 1960s and ever since has contributed many fundamental insights into the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of populations. Hanski's and his associates' work on the Glanville fritillary for the past 14 years has been instrumental in establishing the field of metapopulation biology and showing how theoretical and empirical work can be effectively combined in the same project.

This volume covers an overview of the taxonomy and ecology of checkerspot butterflies; population structure and dynamics of the two focal species and comparisons with other species; reproductive biology; larval biology; natural enemies; dispersal behavior; evolutionary metapopulation dynamics; genetics; implications for conducting research on model systems in population biology; and messages for conservation.

Research on checkerspot butterflies clearly demonstrates the benefits of long-term studies on model systems in population biology. One of the key messages is the pervasive influence of the small-scale spatial structure of populations and metapopulations on their ecology, genetics and evolutionary dynamics. A wealth of information from this work strengthens the conceptual framework of population biology in general and conservation biology in particular.


  Carol Boggs John McLaughlin  
  Paul R. Ehrlich Dennis D. Murphy  
  Ilkka Hanski Marko Nieminen  
  Jessica J. Hellmann Ilik J. Saccheri  
  Mikko Kuussaari Mika Siljander  
  Alan E. Launer Michael Singer  
  Saskya van Nouhuys Niklas Wahlberg  
    Stuart B. Weiss  

Updated 15 March, 2005