Desirée L. Narango (she/her)Desiree Narango

Postdoctoral Fellow



Twitter: @DLNarango

As an ecologist, I seek to understand how specific management decisions and habitat features (e.g., plant selection, anthropogenic noise, fertilizer) impact ecological patterns and processes in human-dominated ecosystems. I am particularly interested in using mechanistic and multi-trophic approaches to tackle questions that span across temporal and spatial scales—from micro-habitat tree preferences to macro-habitat patterns of community diversity across the contiguous United States. Most of my research takes place in novel, working- and living-landscapes drastically altered by people such as residential yards, urban forests, and farmland. My work focuses on birds and insects (e.g. moths, bees, and beetles) because they serve as excellent indicators of ecological integrity, sources of essential ecosystem services, and charismatic taxa valued by the public. In all of my research, I strive to make novel contributions relevant to scientists and nonscientists and provide data-driven conservation solutions for management and decision-making.

Currently, I am a 2020 recipient of the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship and work with Dr. Susannah Lerman (USDA Forest Service, ECo Department), Dr. Alex Gerson (University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Biology Department), and Dr. Jeffrey Buler (University of Delaware). My current research explores how urbanization and tree communities shape habitat use and quality for migratory birds en route. I received my Ph.D. in 2018 from the University of Delaware studying the effects of nonnative plants on insects and breeding birds in residential landscapes. I also received an M.S. from The Ohio State University studying how anthropogenic noise changes vocal communication in urban birds.  From 2018-2020, I was a postdoctoral researcher at City University of New York/USDA Forest Service investigating how residential yard management impacts bird and insect communities across the United States. Beyond research, I am also very interested in science communication & storytelling, public outreach and improving diversity, equity and inclusion in ecology and conservation. In my free time, I like to take care of my indoor and outdoor plants, go hiking as much as possible, read sci-fi, explore new music, and watch movies.

Primary Interests

urban ecology, plant-animal and tritrophic interactions, novel & human-dominated ecosystems, wildlife conservation

Current Projects

Multitrophic relationships between plants, insects and migratory birds in urban forests; The American Residential Macrosystems Project

Courses Taught


Urban Wildlife Ecology (University of Delaware)


Ph.D. Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware

M.S. Natural Resources, The Ohio State University

B.S. Environmental Biology, State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry

A.A. General Studies, Community College of Baltimore County

Selected Publications

Narango, D.L., Shropshire, K.J., and Tallamy, D.W. Few keystone plant genera support the majority of Lepidoptera species. Nature CommunicationsAccepted.

Narango, D.L., Tallamy, D.W., Snyder, K.J.* and Rice, R.A. (2019) Canopy tree preference by insectivorous birds in shade‐coffee farms: Implications for migratory bird conservation. Biotropica, 51(3): 387-398.

Narango, D.L., Tallamy, D.W. and Marra P.P. (2018) Nonnative plants reduce population growth of an insectivorous bird. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(45):11549-11554.

Narango, D.L., Tallamy, D.W. and Marra, P.P. (2017) Native plants improve breeding and foraging habitat for an insectivorous bird. Biological Conservation, 213: 42-50.

Narango, D.L., and Rodewald A.D. (2016) Urban-associated drivers of song variation along a rural–urban gradient. Behavioral Ecology, 27.2: 608-616.

Full list with pdfs: