Ecology of Urban Street Tree Herbivores 2016-11-18T13:25:26+00:00


Ecology of Urban Street Tree Herbivores

Research | Urban Ecology

As ectotherms, insects are especially sensitive to temperature, including urban heat islands. We are examining the consequences of this warming for urban herbivores and their host trees. Thus far, we have found that scale insect pests are most abundant in hot urban sites, where they damage street trees and compromise the ecosystem services trees provide. Additionally, our most recent studies of the responses of arthropods to warming across an urbanization gradient at broad geographic scales suggest that urban warming may be a canary in the coal mine for global climate change, as insects respond similarly to urban and global warming.


Elsa Younsteadt, Research Associate
Emily Meineke, Graduate Student
Andrew Ernst, The Taxonomist
Steve Frank, Assistant Professor

Project Publications

Meineke, E. K., Dunn, R. R., Frank, S. D. (2014) Early pest development and loss of biological control are associated with urban warming. Biology Letters. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0586. View PDF.

Youngsteadt, E., Dale, A. G.*, Terando, A. J., Dunn, R. R. and Frank, S. D. (2014). Do cities simulate climate change? A comparison of herbivore response to urban and global warming. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12692. View PDF.

Meineke EK*, Dunn RR, Sexton JO, Frank SD (2013). Urban Warming Drives Insect Pest Abundance on Street Trees. PloS ONE 8: e59687.

In the Press

Such a Pest: Why Global Warming Could Make That Sap on Your Car Worse

NBC News November 21, 2014 – Features the research of Emily Meineke et al.

Want to See the Earth After Global Warming? Move to the City

Newsweek August 27, 2014 – Features the research of Elsa Youngsteadt et al.