Scientist on Rainier chases climate change’s butterfly effect

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 11:18am
The Seattle Times

With a pirouette and swoosh of his net, John McLaughlin is after his quarry.

Up here in the rarefied realm of Mount Rainier’s alpine meadows, the mountain, glaciered and magnificent, seems close enough to touch. Velvet green meadows pool with teal lakes. But McLaughlin has eyes only for the lovely denizens of the high country: butterflies, gliding from flower to flower.

Last week, he embarked on an epic trek around Mount Rainier’s Wonderland Trail, in a solo sampling expedition, logging butterfly species and abundance as he hikes.