Document Type

Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Report

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The composition of butterfly communities is a good indicator of changing environmental conditions. Butterflies have tight associations with the plant community due to their dependence on plants throughout their life history. These associations make butterfly distributions predictable based on the plant communities. Butterfly abundance data have been collected annually since 1997 within montane meadow sites characterized along a hydrologic gradient within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. From this research, community composition may be predictable relative to future climatic changes and key habitat constraints. Identifying such variables is important for butterfly conservation.