EcoBeaker: Corridors, Stepping Stones and Butterflies

Using a simulation of a population of Fender's blue butterfly, an endangered species that is endemic to western Oregon prairies, you are challenged to propose and justify (based on your own data) a habitat restoration scheme that will maximize survivorship of butterflies, given pre-existing patches of prairie.

You first learn about edge effects and how landscape features such as corridors and stepping stones might affect population survival.

You will explore how using models (e.g., conducting sensitivity analysis) can help guide research.


  1. Read Background in workbook.
  2. Start EcoBeaker on computer.
  3. Load Butterflies.
  4. Click GO (arrow) on bottom left.
  5. Run for a few years and write down your impressions. The population seems to stabilize at between        and         adults.
  6. Click STOP.
  7. Markers -> Today (less prairie, more farmland): about 800 hectares, 100 butterflies.
  8. Make sure model is STOPPED.
  9. Click Paint.
  10. Highlight Habitat -> Prairie.
  11. Restore some prairies with mouse - up to 200 hectares (1000 total).
    Optionally save your configuration in Markers; also File -> Save Situation.
  12. Run a few models for 50 years each. Report to City of Oregon: what was your best restoration effort?