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Brower was born to Bailey and Helen Pierson Brower in Madison, New Jersey in 1931. He was raised in Chatham, New Jersey, where he showed interest in butterflies. In an oral history, he recalled being punished at school, being made to sit all day for skipping a class to go out and collect a species of moth; asked whether it was worth it, he stated "Absolutely".
A butterfly and moth collector from an early age, he began studying the biology of the monarch butterfly while a postgraduate at Yale in 1954, and became a world expert on the species over six decades. He contributed to over 200 papers and 8 films, combining research, public education about the monarch butterfly, and conservation work. Unlike some popular sources, Brower did not suppose the monarch to be in danger of extinction, though he agreed that its migration across America was threatened.
He led a team of researchers studying the ecology of the overwintering grounds of the monarch in the mountains of Michoacan, Mexico, starting in the winter of 1977, incorporating aspects of thermal biology, predator-prey interactions, and chemical ecology. In the 1980s, he assisted conservation groups in Mexico and the Mexican government to protect fir forests used by the species from logging. In the last decades of his life, he recorded the sharp decline in the monarch population of North America, down by some 80% in the 20 years to 2018, attributed to herbicides, logging, and weather events. He was the only scientist to sign a 2014 petition to the US government to give the monarch legal protection.
He divorced Jane Van Zandt in 1974. He then married Christine Marie Moffitt; they divorced in 1980. He married his third wife, Linda S. Fink, in 1990. He had a son, Andrew Van Zandt Brower, who is also a biologist, and a daughter, Tamsin Brower Barrett.
Reconocimiento a la Conservacion de la Naturaleza from the Mexican federal government
^Brower, Lincoln Pierson; Cook, Laurence M.; Croze, Harvey J. (March 1967). "Predator Responses to Artificial Batesian Mimics Released in a Neotropical Environment". Evolution. 21 (1): 11-23. doi:10.2307/2406736. JSTOR2406736. PMID28556119.
^Brower, L. P. (1970). "Plant poisons in a terrestrial food chain and implications for mimicry theory". In Chambers, K. L. (ed.). Biochemical Coevolution. Corvallis, Oregon, USA: Oregon State Univ. pp. 69-82.
^Brower, J. V. Z. (1958). "Experimental studies in mimicry in some North American butterflies. Part II. Battus philenor and Papilio troilus, P. polyxenes and P. glaucus". Evolution. 12 (2): 123-136. doi:10.2307/2406023. JSTOR2406023.