Photo by Randy Newman
Allison Leidner in Crystal Skipper habitat at
new sp.1, aka "The
Allison Leidner is spearheading research on the effects of urban
on the population structure and viability of this rare butterfly.
The Crystal Skipper occurs on a 30 mile stretch of the outer banks from
Bare Island to Ft. Macon. Its dune habitat measures around 100m
wide, just past the beach and where its caterpillar's
food plant, Seaside Little Bluestem, grows. This, combined with
increasing coastal development on dune habitat, makes this butterfly's
range tiny. It is not yet known whether this is a true species or
subspecies. Allison is using population, behavioral, and genetic
studies to investigate whether increasing habitat fragmentation due to
coastal development is reducing gene flow and population viability.
Our research on The Crystal Skipper is funded by NC SeaGrant and
the US Fish and