Joseph ElkintonJoseph Elkinton



Office Phone: 413-545-4816

Cell Phone: 413-531-9512

Office: 310 Agricultural Engineering Bldg

Lab: 115, 117 Agricultural Engineering Bldg


Primary Interests

Population Ecology and Biological Control of Invasive Forest Insects

Research Interests

Population dynamics of invasive forest insects with a current emphasis on winter moth, hemlock woolly adelgid and emerald ash borer. All three projects involve introduction, release and evaluation of natural enemies of these three invasive species as biological control agents. We are also making important contribution to the understanding of winter moth population ecology. It is famous species in Europe that has been subject of foundation research on insect population dynamics.  Earlier research on gypsy moth elucidated the role of small mammal predators and viral and fungal pathogens in the dynamics of gypsy moth populations. Other earlier work with browntail moth, another invasive defoliator from Europe that was widespread in the northeastern United States in the early 20th century, showed that it was driven to near extinction in most places by the introduced parasitoid  Compsilura concinnata. More recently my lab has taken a leading role in the application of DNA sequencing technology to a wide range of ecological problems.

Current Projects

Winter moth, hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, Asian longhorned beetle, spotted lantern fly

Courses Taught

  • Insects and Pathogens of Forests and Shade Trees  (NRC 572)
  • OEB Graduate Course in Ecology  (Org&EvBi 617-01)


PhD   Dept. of Entomology, University of California, Berkeley

Recent Publications

Books and Pamphlets

Elkinton J, Boettner G, Broadley HJ, Reardon R & Weeks Jr. RD. 2018. Biological control of the winter moth in northeastern North America. USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Assessment and Applied Science Team-2018-03. 9pp.

Duan J.J, R. G. Van Driesche, L. S. Bauer, R. Reardon, J. Gould, J. S. Elkinton. 2017. The role of biocontrol emerald ash borer in protecting ash regeneration after invasion. Forest Health Assessment and Applied Sciences Team.

Elkinton, J., G. Boettner, A. Liebhold and R. Gwiazdowski. 2015. Biology, spread and biological control of winter moth in the eastern United States. USDA Forest Service, FHTET-2014-07. _winter_moth_bc-final

Elkinton, J. Insect Population Ecology: an African Perspective. 1994. ICIPE Science Press, Nairobi, Kenya. 144 pp.

Book chapters (last six years)

Elkinton J S, G H Boettner. 2014. Browntail moth pp 83-93   In: The Use of Classical Biological control to Preserve Forests in North America  (Van Dreische and Reardon eds).  USDA Forest Service FHTET-2013-2.

Elkinton J S, G H Boettner. Winter moth.  pp 221-230. In: The Use of Classical Biological control to Preserve Forests in North America  (Van Dreische and Reardon eds).  USDA Forest Service FHTET-2013-2.

Fuester R., A Hajek  Elkinton JS, P Schaefer,  2014. Gypsy  moth.  pp. 49-82. In: The Use of Classical Biological control to Preserve Forests in North America  (Van Dreische and Reardon eds).  USDA Forest Service FHTET-2013-2.

Elkinton, JS,  R.T. Trotter, and A. F Paradis   2012. Simulations of  population dynamics of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and Potential Impact of Biological Control Agents. Pp. 15-24.  In: Implementation and Status of Biological Control of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. US Forest Service Publication FHTET-2011-04  (B. Onken and R. Reardon eds.)  230pp.

Refereed Journal Publications

Elkinton JS, Boettner GH, Broadley HJ. Successful biological control of winter moth, Operophtera brumata, in the northeastern United States. J. of Ecological Applications. In Press

Andersen JC, Davis MJ, Schick KS, Elkinton JS. Molecular placement of an outbreaking gall wasp, Zapatella davisae (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae), with comments on the phylogenetic arrangement of the Cynipidae. Journal of Entomological Science. In Press.

Conrad-Rooney E, Barker-Plotkin A, Pasquarella V, Elkinton J, Chandler J, Hatala Matthes J. Defoliation severity is negatively correlated with soil nitrogen concentrations and positively correlated with N mineralization rates following a three-year invasive insect irruption. AoB Plants. In Press.

Andersen JC, Van Driesche RG, Crandall RS, Griffin BP, Elkinton JS, Soper AS. 2020. Successful biological control of the ambermarked birch leafminer, Profenusa thomsoni (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae), in Anchorage, Alaska: status 15 years after release of Lathrolestes thomsoni (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae). Biological Control. .

Blackburn LM, Elkinton JS, Havill NP, Broadley HJ, Andersen JC, Liebhold A. 2020. Environmental niche models for a highly polyphagous and widespread forest herbivore in its native and invaded range. NeoBiota. 59: 1–20.

Broadley HJ, Gould J, Wang X, Hoelmer KA, Hickin M, Sullivan L, Elkinton JS. 2020. Life history and rearing of Anastatus orientalis, an egg parasitoid of the spotted lanternfly. Environmental Entomology.

Chandler JL, Elkinton JS, Duan JJ. 2020. Cold hardiness in Spathius galinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a larval parasitoid introduced for biocontrol of emerald ash borer in North America. Biological Control.

Crandall RS, Jubb CS, Mayfield III AE, Thompson B, McAvoy TJ, Salom SM, Elkinton JS. 2020 Rebound of Adelges tsugae spring generation following predation on overwintering generation ovisacs by the introduced predator Laricobius nigrinus in the eastern United States. Biological Control. 145: 104264.

Duan JJ, Bauer LS, Van Driesche R, Schmude JM, Petrice T, Chandler JL, and Elkinton JS. 2020. Effects of extreme low winter temperatures on the overwintering survival of the introduced larval parasitoids Spathius galinae and Tetrastichus planipennisi: implications for biological control of emerald ash borer in North America. Journal of Economic Entomology, 113: 1145–1151.

Griffin BP, Chandler JL, Andersen JC, Havill NP, Elkinton JS. 2020.. The reliability of identification via genitalia morphology for monitoring the spread of the invasive winter moth, Operopthera brumata (Lepidoptera: Geometridae), in eastern North America. Environmental Entomology.

Gwiazdowski RA, Andersen JC, Knisley CB, Griffin BP, Elkinton JS. 2020. First account of phylogeographic variation, larval characters, and laboratory rearing of the endangered Cobblestone Tiger Beetle Cicindelidia marginipennis, Dejean, 1831, with observations of their natural history. Insects. 11:708;

Havill NP, Griffin, BP, Andersen JC, Foottit RG, Justesen MJ, Caccone A, D’Amico V, Elkinton JS. 2020. Species delimitation and invasion history of the balsam woolly adelgid, Adelges (Dreyfusia) piceae (Hemiptera: Aphidoidea: Adelgidae), species complex. Systematic Entomology.

Jubb CS, Heminger AR, Mayfield III AE, Elkinton JS, Wiggins GJ, Grant JF, Lombardo JA, McAvoy TJ, Crandall RS, Salom SM. 2020. Impact of the introduced predator, Laricobius nigrinus, on ovisacs of the overwintering generation of hemlock woolly adelgid in the eastern United States. Biological Control. 143:104180

Milam J, Johnson DE, Andersen JC, Fassler AB, Narango DL, Elkinton JS. 2020. Morphometric Measurements to Reliably Separate Three Cryptic Bombus (Hymenoptera: Apidae) species: Bombus sandersoni Franklin, Bombus vagans Smith, and Bombus perplexus Cresson. Insects. 11: 669.

Andersen JC, Havill NP, Mannai Y, Ezzine O, Dhahri S, Lahbib Ben Jamâa M, Caccone A, Elkinton JS. 2019. Identification of winter moth, Operophtera brumata, last glacial maximum refugia in North Africa: implications for outbreaks in Tunisian oak forests. Ecology and Evolution 9:13931-13941.

Smith-Freedman CJ, Andersen JC, Grifin BP, Schick K, & Elkinton JS. 2019. Rise and fall of an oak gall wasp (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) outbreak on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. Environmental Entomology. .

Elkinton, J.S., Bittner, T.D., Pasquarella, V.J., Boettner, G.H., Liebhold, A.M., Gould, J.R., Faubert, H., Tewksbury, L., Broadley, H.J., Havill, N.P. and Hajek, A.E., 2019. Relating Aerial Deposition of Entomophaga maimaiga Conidia (Zoopagomycota: Entomophthorales) to Mortality of Gypsy Moth (Lepidoptera: Erebidae) Larvae and Nearby Defoliation. Environmental Entomology. 48 1214-1222.

O’Donnell, K., Elkinton, J., Donahue, C. and Groden, E., 2019. Host Plant Effects on Winter Moth (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) Larval Development and Survival. Environmental Entomology. .48: 1162-1172.

Andersen JC, Havill NP, Broadley HJ, Boettner GH, Caccone A, & Elkinton JS. 2019. Widespread hybridization among native and invasive species of Operophtera moths (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) in Europe and North America. Biological Invasions. 21: 3383-3394. DOI:10.1007/s10530-019-02054-1

Andersen J. C., C. P. Camp, M. J. Davis, N. P. Havill, J. S. Elkinton. 2019. Development of microsatellite markers to study the population genetics of an outbreaking species of oak gall wasp, Zapatella davisae (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae), in the northeastern United States. Bulletin of Entomological Research. 109: 510-517. DOI:10.1017/S0007485318000858

Salom, S.M., Davis, G., Elkinton, J., Foley, J., Havill, N., Jubb, C., Mayfield, A., McAvoy, T., Rhea, R., Trotter, R.T. and Whitmore, M., 2019. A response to “Media representation of hemlock woolly adelgid management risks: a case study of science communication and invasive species control,” published in biological invasions online on September 18, 2018. Biological Invasions, 21: 2009-2017.

Baranowski, A.K., Conroy, C., Boettner, G.H., Elkinton, J.S. and Preisser, E.L., 2019. Reduced Compsilura concinnata parasitism of New England saturniid larvae. Agricultural and Forest Entomology. 21:346-349.

Broadley H, Kula RR, Boettner GH, Andersen JC, Griffin BP, & Elkinton JS. 2019. Recruitment of native parasitic wasps to populations of the invasive winter moth in the northeastern United States. Biological Invasions. 21: 2871-2890. DOI 10.1007/s10530-019-02019-4.

Donahue, K. L., Broadley, H. J., Elkinton, J. S., Burand, J. P., Huang, W. F., & Andersen, J. C. 2019. Using the SSU, ITS, and ribosomal DNA operon arrangement to characterize two microsporidia infecting Bruce spanworm, Operophtera bruceata (Lepidoptera: Geometridae). Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 66: 424-434.

Duan, J.J., Van Driesche, R.G., Crandall, R.S., Schmude, J.M., Rutledge, C.E., Slager, B.H., Gould, J.R. and Elkinton, J.S., 2019. Establishment and Early Impact of Spathius galinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) on Emerald Ash Borer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) in the Northeastern United States. Journal of Economic Entomology. 112: 2121-2130

Davis M., J. C. Andersen, and J. S. Elkinton. 2019. Identification of the parasitoid community associated with an outbreaking gall wasp, Zapatella davisae, and their relative abundances in New England and Long Island, New York. Ecology and Evolution 9:19-25.

Wang, X., Aparicio, E.M., Murphy, T.C., Duan, J.J., Elkinton, J.S. and Gould, J.R., 2019. Assessing the host range of the North American parasitoid Ontsira mellipes: potential for biological control of Asian longhorned beetle. Biological Control, p.104028.

Gould, J. R., B. Aflague, T. C. Murphy, L. McCartin, J.S. Elkinton, K. Rim, and J. J. Duan. 2018. Collecting non-target wood-boring insects for host-specificity testing of natural enemies of cerambycids: a case study of Dastarcus helophoroides (Coleoptera: Bothrideridae), a parasitoid of the Asian longhorned beetle (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Environmental Entomology 47: 1440-1450.

Elkinton, J., Boettner, J., and Pasquarella V. 2018. Gypsy moths in 2017: a pathogen epidemic. Massachusetts Wildlife. 1: 30-35.

Broadley, H. J., E. A. Kelly, J. S. Elkinton, R. R. Kula, and G. H. Boettner. 2018. Identification and impact of hyperparasitoids and predators affecting Cyzenis albicans (Tachinidae), a recently introduced biological control agent of winter moth (Operophtera brumata L.) in the northeastern USA. Biological Control. 121: 99-108.

Pasquarella, V. J., J. S Elkinton, and B. A. Bradley. 2018. Extensive gypsy moth defoliation in Southern New England characterized using Landsat satellite observations. Biological Invasions: 20: 3047-3053.

Davis, M. J., and J. S. Elkinton. 2018. Efficacy of two systemic insecticides with stem gall wasp, Zapatella davisae (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) on Black Oak. Journal of Economic Entomology. 111: 986-988.

Murphy, T. C., J. R., Gould, R. G. Van Driesche, and J. S. Elkinton. 2018. Interactions between woodpecker attack and parasitism by introduced parasitoids of the emerald ash borer. Biological Control. 122: 109-117.

Murphy, T. C., R. G. Van Driesche, J. R. Gould, and J. S. Elkinton. 2017. Can Spathius galinae attack emerald ash borer larvae feeding in large ash trees? Biological Control. 114: 8-13.

Andersen, J. C., N. P. Havill, A. Caccone, and J. S. Elkinton. 2017. Postglacial recolonization shaped the genetic diversity of the winter moth (Operophtera brumata) in Europe. Ecology and Evolution. 7: 3312–3323.

Davis, M., J. Elkinton, and R. Norton. 2017. Life history and potential hosts of Zapatella davisae (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae), a recent invader on black oak in the northeastern United States. Northeastern Naturalist. 24: 526-535

Cardé, R.T., J. Bau, and J.S. Elkinton. 2017. Comparison of attraction and trapping capabilities of bucket-and delta-style traps with different pheromone emission rates for gypsy moths (Lepidoptera: Erebidae): implications for understanding range of attraction and utility in surveillance. Environmental Entomology. 47: 107-113.

Broadley, H. J., M. Boucher, J. P. Burand, and J. S. Elkinton. 2017. The phylogenetic relationship and cross-infection of nucleopolyhedroviruses between the invasive winter moth (Operophtera brumata) and its native congener, Bruce spanworm (O. bruceata). Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 143: 61-68.

Lombardo, J. A., and J. S. Elkinton. 2017. Environmental adaptation in an asexual invasive insect. Ecology and Evolution, 7: 5123-5130.

Andersen, J. C., N. P. Havill, A. Caccone, and J. S. Elkinton. 2017. Postglacial recolonization shaped the genetic diversity of the winter moth (Operophtera brumata) in Europe. Ecology and Evolution. 7: 3312–3323.

Elkinton, J.S., J. A. Lombardo, A. D. Roehrig, T. J. McAvoy, A. Mayfield  and M. Whitmore. 2016. Induction of cold-hardiness in an invasive herbivore: the case of hemlock woolly adelgid (Hemiptera: Adelgidae). Environ. Entomol. doi: 10.1093/ee/nvw143.elkinton-et-al-2016-hwa-cold-hardiness-induction

Elkinton, J.S,. and G.H. Boettner. 2016. Gypsy moth outbreak of 2016. Massachusetts Wildlife 66:

Havill, N. P. , J. C. Andersen, , A. Caccone, and J. S. Elkinton. 2016.  Asymmetric hybridization between non-native winter moth, Operophtera brumata (Lepidoptera: Geometridae), and native Bruce spanworm, O. bruceata, in the northeastern United States, assessed with novel microsatellites and SNPs. Bulletin of Entomological Research.

.Pepi, A. H. Broadley, and J. S. Elkinton. 2016. Density-dependent effects of larval dispersal mediated by host plant quality on populations of an invasive insect. Oecologia. 82:499-509.apepi-ms-oecologia-9-18-16

Weed  A. S, J. Elkinton and N. Lany. 2016.  Density-dependent recruitment and diapause in the spring-feeding generation of hemlock woolly adelgid (Hemiptera: Adelgidae) in western North America. Environ. Entomol. 45: 1352-1359.weed-et-al-w-adelgid-ms-env-ent-2016

Havill, N. P., S. Shiyake, A. Galloway, R. Foottit , G. Yu , A. Paradis,  J. Elkinton,  M. Montgomery, M. Sano, and A. Caccone. 2016. Ancient and modern colonization of North America by hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect from Asia.  Molecular Ecology 25:2065-2080.havill_et_al-2016-molecular_ecology

Buffington, M. L., G. Melika, M. Davis and J. S. Elkinton. 2016. The description of Zapatella davisae, new species, (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) a pest gall wasp of black oak (Quercus velutina) in New England. Proc. Ent. Soc. Wash. 118: 14-26.buffington-et-al-zapatella_2016-1

Hibbard, E. M. and J. S. Elkinton. 2015.  Effect of spring and winter temperatures on winter moth (Geometridae: Lepidoptera) larval eclosion in the northeastern United States.  Environ. Entomol. 44:798-807.hibbard-and-elkinton-2015

Sussky, E. M. and J. S. Elkinton.  2015. Survival and near-extinction during summer aestivation of hemlock woolly adelgid (Hemiptera: Adelgidae) in a hemlock plantation. Environ. Entomol. 44: 153-159.sussky-and-elkinton-2015

Elkinton, J.S, A. M. Liebhold, G. H. Boettner and M. Sremac. 2014. Invasion spread of Operophtera brumata in northeastern United States and hybridization with O. bruceata   Biol. Invasions 16: 2263-2272.elkinton-et-al-2014-wm-spread

 McKenzie, E. A.  J. S. Elkinton, R. A. Casagrande, E. L. Preisser and M. Mayer. 2014. Terpene chemistry of eastern hemlocks resistant to hemlock woolly adelgid. J. Chem. Ecol.  40: 1003-1012.mckenzie-et-al-2014-terpenes-of-resistant-hemlocks

Pezet, J, and  J. S. Elkinton. 2014. Hemlock woolly adelgid (Hemiptera: Adelgidae) induces twig volatiles of eastern hemlock in a forest setting. Environ. Entomol. 43: 1257-1285.pezet-and-elkinton-2014

  Sussky, E. M. and J. S. Elkinton.  2014. Density-dependent survival and fecundity of hemlock woolly adelgid (Hemiptera: Adelgidae). Environ. Entomol. 43: 1157-1167.sussky-and-elkinton-2014

 Simmons, M. J.,  T. D. Lee, M. J.  Ducey, J S. Elkinton, G H. Boettner, and K. J. Dodds. 2014.  Effects of invasive winter moth defoliation on tree radial growth in eastern Massachusetts. Insects. 5:  301-318.simmons-et-al-nsects-2014

 Pezet, J., J. Elkinton, S. Gomez, E. A. McKenzie, M. Lavine, and E. Preisser. 2013. Hemlock woolly adelgid and elongate hemlock scale induce changes in foliar and twig volatiles of eastern hemlock. J. Chem. Ecol. 39:1090-1100.pezet-2013

Gwiazowski, R  S.  J.S. Elkinton, J. R. Dewaard and M. Sremac. 2013.  Phylogeographic diversity of the winter moths (Lepidoptera: Geometridae: Operophtera) O. brumata, and O. bruceata in Europe and North America. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Amer. 106:  143-151.gwiazdowski_et_al_2013

Liebhold, A.M., R. Plymale, J.S. Elkinton. 2013. Emergent fungal entomopathogen does not alter density dependence in a viral competitor. Ecology, 94: 1217–1222  (PDF)

Other Publications