hero image
Doug Tallamy - University of Delaware. Newark, DE, US

Doug Tallamy

Professor, Agriculture and Natural Resources | University of Delaware


Prof. Tallamy researches how plants that evolved elsewhere impact food webs and biodiversity.



Doug Tallamy Publication Doug Tallamy Publication Doug Tallamy Publication Doug Tallamy Publication



loading image loading image loading image


Douglas Tallamy | Nature's Best Hope | Talks at Google Dr  Douglas Tallamy   Nature's Best Hope 1 6 2023 (High Resolution video) Doug Tallamy Presentation - Gardening For Life Celebration


Episode 120: An Interview with Doug Tallamy


Doug Tallamy is the T. A. Baker Professor of Agriculture in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 111 research publications and has taught insect-related courses for 42 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home was published by Timber Press in 2007, The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014; Nature's Best Hope, a New York Times bestseller, was released in February 2020, and his latest book, The Nature of Oaks, was released in March 2021. In 2021 he cofounded Homegrown National Park with Michelle Alfandari (HomegrownNationalPark.org). His awards include recognition from The Garden Writer’s Association, Audubon, The National Wildlife Federation, Western Carolina University, The Garden Club of America, and The American Horticultural Association. Doug lives with his wife, Cindy, on their restored property in Oxford, PA.

Industry Expertise (2)



Areas of Expertise (4)

Native Plants

Insect Conservation

Ecological Landscaping

Ecosystem Function

Media Appearances (7)

Creating biodiversity one landscape at a time | Gardener State

My Central Jersey  online


Article quoted Doug Tallamy, entomology and wildlife ecology, who stated that one of the most important things we can do to support biodiversity is to plant native plant species in our landscapes.

view more

Gardens blooming with endangered plants could prove a boon to conservation

Science.org  online


Saving critically endangered plants will require unorthodox solutions like these, says Tallamy. “We’re in the midst of the Earth’s sixth great extinction event. We have parks and preserves, but they’re not good enough. So, we have to practice conservation outside of those.”

view more

To mow or not to mow? Why there's a culture war happening on your lawn

WTXL Tallahassee  online


"The ecological I.Q. of this country is really low. We don't get that we are living off the life support that healthy ecosystems provide. If we don't support those ecosystems, we don't have that life support," Doug Tallamy said.

view more

Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Corner: Addressing climate change in your own backyard

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel  online


It’s important in keeping motivated for this cause to exercise personal agency and a sense of purpose in one’s own life. One way to achieve a modicum of success is to strive to make small changes in one’s personal life to address climate change. Spring is the ideal time to set some climate goals in your own backyard–a first step is the lawn, as Dr. Douglas Tallamy, botanist at the University of Delaware and author of the book, “Nature’s Best Hope,” expresses through his slogan, “shrink the lawn.”

view more

Taking Back The Future, One Yard At A Time

Wisconsin Public Radio  online


Insects, birds and other wildlife populations are on the decline, and the cause may be the loss of our native plants. But not all hope is lost, says Doug Tallamy, professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. In his book, "Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard," Tallamy explains the relationship between living things and how humans can make a difference.

view more

Plant a garden that helps the planet by devouring carbon

Popular Science  online


If you’re not sure where to start looking for native plants, Doug Tallamy, a professor of entomology at the University of Delaware, has created a website where you can enter your zip code and learn about the native flora in your area. Local extension services and nurseries are also great resources that will help you understand what will work in your community.

view more

Meet the Ecologist Who Wants You to Unleash the Wild on Your Backyard

Smithsonian Magazine  online


The land is ten gently sloping acres in rural southeastern Pennsylvania, at one time mowed for hay, with a handsome farmhouse that Douglas Tallamy bought around 20 years ago. It isn’t much to look at, by the standards most Americans apply to landscaping—no expansive views across swaths of lawn set off by flowerbeds and specimen trees—but, as Tallamy says, “We’re tucked away here where no one can see us, so we can do pretty much what we want.” And what he wants is for this property to be a model for the rest of the country, by which he means suburbs, exurbs, uninhabited woods, highway margins, city parks, streets and backyards, even rooftops and window boxes, basically every square foot of land not paved or farmed.

view more

Articles (5)

Lepidoptera Host Records Accurately Predict Tree Use by Foraging Birds

Northeastern Naturalist

2021 The richness, abundance, and biomass of phytophagous arthropods like lepidopteran larvae is highly uneven among sympatric tree taxa. Optimal foraging theory predicts that predation pressure will be greatest on foraging substrates that support the highest abundance and/or diversity of prey, thus offering the greatest reward and maximizing fitness. Predation pressure can also vary with the nutritional or energetic needs of predators across the annual cycle.

view more

Are declines in insects and insectivorous birds related?

Ornithological Applications

2021 A flurry of recently published studies indicates that both insects and birds have experienced wide-scale population declines in the last several decades. Curiously, whether insect and bird declines are causally linked has received little empirical attention. Here, we hypothesize that insect declines are an important factor contributing to the decline of insectivorous birds. We further suggest that insect populations essential to insectivorous birds decline whenever non-native lumber, ornamental, or invasive plant species replace native plant communities.

view more

Few keystone plant genera support the majority of Lepidoptera species

Nature Communications

2020 Functional food webs are essential for the successful conservation of ecological communities, and in terrestrial systems, food webs are built on a foundation of coevolved interactions between plants and their consumers. Here, we collate published data on host plant ranges and associated host plant-Lepidoptera interactions from across the contiguous United States and demonstrate that among ecosystems, distributions of plant-herbivore interactions are consistently skewed, with a small percentage of plant genera supporting the majority of Lepidoptera.

view more

Do non-native plants contribute to insect declines?

Ecological Entomolog

2020 With evidence of significant global insect declines mounting, urgent calls to mitigate such declines are also increasing. Efforts to reverse insect declines will only succeed, however, if we correctly identify and address their major causes.

view more

Effects of parental diapause status and release time on field reproductive biology of the introduced egg parasitoid, Oobius agrili (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) in the Mid-Atlantic:

Biological Control

2020 Oobius agrili Zhang and Huang (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), a solitary egg parasitoid native to China, was introduced to the United States for biocontrol of the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) in 2007. To help develop effective biocontrol-release strategies, we evaluated the effect of parental diapause and release time of the adult parasitoids on their longevity, realized fecundity, and progeny diapause rate under field conditions in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region in 2016 and 2017.

view more

Education (4)

University of Iowa: Post-Doctoral Fellow, Entomology 1981

University of Maryland: PhD, Entomology 1980

Rutgers University: MS, Entomology 1976

Allegheny College: BS, Biology 1973

Affiliations (4)

  • Entomological Society of America
  • Ecological Society of America
  • The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
  • The International Heteropterists Society