Thursday, June 1st, our guest Chris Cosma, a PhD candidate at UC Riverside invites virtual attendees to hear about his research on how butterflies and moths interact with native California plants. Butterflies and moths are declining throughout the state, and they rely on specific native host plants as caterpillars, and nectar plants as adults. Any yard or garden can be an important insect waystation by providing resources for insects, but some plants are much better for this than others. Alongside his research, Chris has developed a web application, The Butterfly Net, that helps users select the best host and nectar plants for butterflies and moths to use in landscaping projects.
Chris is a PhD candidate in Dr. Nicole Rafferty’s lab in the Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology Department at UC Riverside. His research focuses on how climate change is affecting moths and their interactions with native plants in California. Alongside his research, Chris has developed a web application called The Butterfly Net that helps people find the best native host and nectar plants for butterflies and moths anywhere in California. Before arriving at UC Riverside, Chris received his Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolution from UC Santa Barbara, and worked with The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. When he’s not out surveying moths, Chris enjoys pyrography and practicing home-scale permaculture.