Clone of Goldenrod

Website Information and Acknowledgements

This website describes over 45 years of data collected by Dr. Arthur Shapiro, professor of Evolution and Ecology at the University of California, Davis, in his continuing effort to regularly monitor butterfly population trends on a transect across central California. Ranging from the Sacramento River delta, through the Sacramento Valley and Sierra Nevada mountains, to the high desert of the western Great Basin, fixed routes at ten sites have been surveyed at approximately two-week intervals since as early as 1972. The sites represent the great biological, geological, and climatological diversity of central California.

Recent Website Upgrade

We launched a new version of Art's website in June 2020.  Funding was made possible by a grant for the National Science Foundation (Grant #1839021), which has helped preserve site and the detailed description of the project and its butterflies.  The updated infrastructure will provide a forum to showcase how the project's data is being utilized by scientists across the country.

For those wondering about the site's web technologies, it is now using UC Davis wonderful service, SiteFarm, to host and maintain this website going forward.  SiteFarm is built on top of the Drupal framework, which is what this website was original built in.  Drupal 4 and then 5.  This site didn't have a Drupal 6 or 7 version.

Initial Website Launch

As of the end of 2006, Dr. Shapiro has logged 5476 site-visits and tallied approximately 83,000 individual records of 159 butterfly species and subspecies. This major effort is continuing and represents the world’s largest dataset of intensive site-specific data on butterfly populations collected by one person under a strict protocol. We have also collated monthly climate records for the entire study period from weather stations along the transect.

We built this website as a portal for Dr. Shapiro’s data and observations, supported by National Science Foundation Biological Databases and Informatics Grant DBI-0317483. Much of the data is freely available (Please Contact Us for more information).

We created three educational modules for high school and college level instructors in lessons about species composition and climate change. They incorporate specific aspects of butterfly natural history, phenology, long-term population dynamics, and statistical analysis, using the data from this site. They also comply with California high school education standards.


Special thanks goes out to the crew who helped Art when they could and contributed material for this website.



Many people have made this project possible. We would like to thank the following for their contributions.

Butterfly Images, in alphabetical order:

Website Related

  • Special thanks goes to Jie Li for migrating the butterfly photos into the photo gallery, uploading the collection site photos, and entering the corresponding metadata. While this is not longer being used, it was for many years.
  • Thanks to the Drupal community for their work on the Drupal Content Management System, another great Open Source project. This project started with Drupal 4.7 and migrated to version 5 when it became available. It then miraculously was able to remain "alive" through version 6 and 7 of Drupal, each better than the previous. It now running on Drupal 8, soon to be 9 I imagine.