VIDEO: Pieris Project Studies Effects of Climate Change on Butterflies


Science continues to take on an increasingly important role at the University of Notre Dame. The university — which views itself as a world class institution — is investing heavily in scientific research.

But not all of the research at Notre Dame requires millions of dollars in backing.

We spoke to Matthew Eng and Sean Ryan — both PhD candidates in Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame — to discuss their unique crowdfunding research project.

Known as the Pieris Project, Notre Dame’s researchers (along with a colleague from University of Nevada – Reno) sought $6,000 in funding from online donors on — a website that hopes to close the funding gap for promising research projects.

They succeeded.

The Pieris Project was 109 percent funded at the end of the 30 day fundraising campaign this past Saturday. Eng and Ryan managed to raise $6,570 in pledges for their research.

The project aims to study the effects of climate change on the cabbage white butterfly through an innovative process. “Citizen scientists” have already begun collecting the butterflies across the globe. The cabbage white butterflies are then sent to the researchers, where they will undergo DNA sequencing, as well as chemical analyses to identify how agriculture affects wing pigments.

You can find out more about the Pieris Project in a guest post on the South Bend Voice website, or by visiting


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