Natalie Melkonoff | Desert Botanical Garden

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Natalie Melkonoff

Plant and Insect Ecology Program Manager

Natalie

B.S. Sustainable Ecosystems, Arizona State University, 2015

Email: nmelkonoff@dbg.org

Phone: 480.941-3516

Research Interests

  • Monarch and milkweed interactions
  • Beneficial insect-plant interactions
  • Plant physiology and chemical ecology
  • Horticultural and restoration protocol development
  • Science outreach to inspire conservation action

Personal Statement

I manage the Garden’s monarch and pollinator ecology work, including the activities of our conservation initiative, Great Milkweed Grow Out. This program has three main components: native plant propagation for monarch and pollinator conservation, community outreach and habitat enhancement, and research on the interactions between plants and insects in the Southwest. I am also working on my PhD with a focus on how the ecophysiology and chemical ecology of different native milkweed species may change under shifting climate regimes, and how these changes may influence how monarch and queen butterflies use these species as larval host plants. With the Southwest predicted to get warmer and dryer in the future, the functional relationship between these plants and the insects that utilize them may be impacted, and increased understanding of those impacts will continue to help inform conservation decisions into the future.


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