Enamored by every ocean creature from blue whales to sea slugs, I have been obsessed with marine ecology.
So, when I chose a project with the Fish and Wildlife Service that focused on butterflies, I thought I would feel a bit like a fish out of water. I know the sea. I know what processes govern marine ecosystems and the organisms that live within them. But terrestrial ecosystems? I didn’t think I knew terrestrial ecosystems. But the more I got to know my project, the more I began to realize that the narrow view I had of my skillset and knowledgebase was false.
I wasn’t strictly a marine ecologist; I was an ecologist in general. Butterflies need food, water, and shelter just like any other organism trying to survive in this world. They need to successfully reproduce to ensure the future of their species. They are threatened by things like habitat loss, food scarcity, disease, predation, and climate change. They have unique and wildly fascinating life cycles that are critical to understand when thinking about their conservation. Butterflies are not marine creatures, but just like all creatures, they are a part of an ecosystem.
Over the past four weeks of this internship, I have found a new confidence in my abilities as an ecologist and learned that my passion for nature extends beyond the boundaries of the sea.
I am so excited to continue exploring the intricacies of butterfly conservation and learning how we can harness the power of science to protect and conserve our beloved ecosystems, both blue and green.
Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP
Location: Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office