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Changing Planet: Adaptation of Butterflies

National Earth Science Teachers Association, Windows to the Universe/NBC Learn

This video addresses the impact of climate change on several butterfly populations. Warming temperatures lead to shifts in location of populations of butterflies or die-offs of populations unable to adapt to changing conditions or shift to new locations.

Video length: 6:25 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Note: you may need to scroll down the Changing Planet video page to get to this video.
  • A good way to introduce the linkages between biological adaptation and evolution and climate change.

About the Content

  • Butterflies are very good indicators of the health of the ecosystem they are in.
  • If habitat is degrading, butterflies will show the impacts first.
  • Over the last 30 years, shifts have occurred where butterflies live.
  • Their areas of residency are shifting - whole populations go extinct while other areas regain populations.
  • The average location of a population today is about 100 miles further north of where is used to be.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This short movie gives a very good insight into the problems faced by species (in this case butterflies) when adapting to climate change. As a movie it is easy to follow the key points, and to see the researcher involved in the study. The video focuses on two scientists and there is so much variation in the response of species to climate change that those two researchers likely do not give the whole picture.

About the Pedagogy

Entered the Collection: December 2012 Last Reviewed: June 2016

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