Elsa Youngsteadt

About Elsa Youngsteadt

As an insect ecologist, I am interested in plant-insect interactions and their responses to human modified environments. Plants and insects diversified together, producing the fascinating array of interactions we see in the world today—from seed dispersal and pollination to herbivory. My current research asks how urbanization and climate change alter plant-insect interactions, using scale insects and their host trees as a study system. I am comparing scale-insect abundance across urban, latitudinal, experimental, and historical temperature gradients. My other ongoing projects examine arthropod diversity and function across New York City green spaces, and the effects of Hurricane Sandy on New York’s urban insects. Ultimately, my goal is to understand how human activities, including both urbanization and restoration, can be guided to preserve a diversity of plants, insects, and their interactions.