Research Topic Ideas
Writing a Scientific Paper
Research Topic Ideas
The Scientific Method
Additional Research Topics
Adult Condition and Behavior
Female Oviposition Behavior:
- Do females prefer to lay eggs on certain milkweed species?
- Is plant age, size, and condition important to female host plant choice?
- How does the presence of monarch larvae or other insects on milkweed plants affect
female host plant preferences?
- Does plant density or diversity affect the probability of females ovipositing
at a particular site?
- How far do females fly between oviposition events?
- Do temperature or weather affect how many eggs a female can lay?
- Does female age at the time of oviposition affect the survival or reproductive
success of her offspring?
Adult Movement and Behavior:
- How far do adults travel each day during the summer?
- Are male and female movement patterns the same?
- How much time to monarchs spend foraging, and do they prefer certain types of
- Do adults prefer some kinds of flowers to others as nectar sources?
Comparison of Adults at Different Seasons:
- Do the vanishing bearings of monarchs captured at different times of year and
different locations vary?
- Does adult size, condition, disease status, or sex ratio vary with seasons?
- How does adult behavior vary with seasons?
Larval Survival and Behavior
- At what stage are larvae most susceptible to natural enemies?
- Does larval survival vary with time of year or geographic location?
- How does the survival of different larval instars vary between the lab and the
- How common is parasitism by tachinid flies, and what stages are larvae attacked?
- Does proximity to ant colonies or the presence of aphids affect larval mortality?
- Does larval density or host plant species affect larval survival?
- How susceptible are monarch pupae to natural enemies?
- How often and how far do larvae move at different stages?
- Do larvae prefer different types of milkweed?
- How much time do larvae spend eating, resting, moving, hiding, etc.?
- What fraction of larvae sever mid-veins on milkweed leaves, and does this affect
their survival or feeding behavior?
- Do larvae eat at night?
- What are the characteristics of sites larvae choose for pupation?
- How does temperature affect larval feeding patterns?
- How does the amount of light affect larval behavior?
- How do larvae react to loud noises?
Development and Physiology
- How much weight to monarchs gain from one instar to the next?
- Does larval size affect the mass, wingspan, and reproductive success of adults?
- How does temperature affect the development time and size of monarchs?
- Do monarchs grow at different rates when feeding on different milkweed species?
- Does larval host plant affect final adult size?
- In what kinds of locations do larvae pupate?
Milkweed Biology and Pollination by Monarchs
- Do the kinds or numbers of herbivores on milkweed plants vary over the season?
- Do different milkweed species vary in the kinds or numbers of herbivores present?
- How does milkweed flowering time vary within a given area?
- Are milkweed plants that produce flowers different than plants that don’t produce
flowers (larger/smaller/older/in denser stands/in less dense stands, etc.)?
- What types of insects most commonly pollinate milkweed plants?
- Does plant size, nectar production, and flower size or number affect milkweed
pollination success, or number of visits by pollinators?
- Are milkweed plants pollen-limited?
- Are monarchs important pollinators for milkweeds or other species?
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