SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Years of research have been clocked at Augustana University into Milkweed.

“We study these two species of Milkweed, who basically cover like the entire United States, and they come together and form hybrids here in the central United States,” said Carrie Olson-Manning, associate professor of biology at Augustana University.

For the Monarch Butterfly, Milkweeds are essential for their food and home.

“Milkweeds are the host plants of the Monarch Butterfly, which means it does its entire developmental cycle there. Then comes out as a Monarch and then flies around and then lays its eggs on more Milkweed, so it needs Milkweed to survive,” said Olson-Manning.

She says the environment can impact a whole species.

“So these two species come together and they hybridize and we’re looking at how that affects Monarch Butterflies and how that hybrid zone is shifting with climate change,” said Olson-Manning.

The money will also go toward funding undergraduate students’ research for the project.

“We have the outdoor campus garden and we’re able to go outside and go there and do research on those plants as well,” said Lily Derynck, a junior at Augustana.

“What she does is really interesting and I really like plants so I get to do both of them,” said Lara Matuck, a junior at Augustana.

One project she plans to work on is partnering with local schools around the state that can assist in her research.