Since 2003, the Nature Center has provided fall monarchs to the biomedical research department of the University of Massachusetts. Their discoveries of the mechanisms used by monarchs to orient their daily flight have been recorded in numerous scientific journals over the past four years.
The researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School had a theory that an internal clock serves to adjust the sun-compass heading that keeps the butterflies on their southerly course, as it does with long-distance migratory birds. Such internal clocks are known as circadian clocks, which are tuned to biological rhythms that recur on a daily basis.
"The circadian clock was felt to be important," said Steven Reppert, a neurobiologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School who led the team that performed a series of genetic and behavioral experiments to prove the internal-clock hunch correct. [John Roach, National Geographic News, June '03]
|Research crew from U. of Mass biomedical department: From left to right, Christine, a new PostDoc researcher from France, Lauren, new tech from Long Island, Rob, new PostDoc from Canada, Dr. Steve Reppert (the boss), Haisun Zhu, Amy, the lab manager, and Sri, another new PostDoc from India.|
|U of Mass Biomedical
|Monarch research involves studying the direction monarchs fly in response to light.|
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