Ph.D. Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University
B.S. Biology, Muhlenberg College
What do you eat, how do you behave, and how does chemistry have anything to do with it?
My research explores these questions using the concepts of behavioral ecology (how animals decide what to eat, what types of activities they perform, and how they interact with other organisms), and ecological stoichiometry (how elements like carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus that make up an organism’s tissues relate to its food, its environment, and the feedbacks between these things).
Using these research topics, I try to understand larger questions, like what organisms exist in an area, how communities are structured, and how human-driven changes to communities, like climate change or various types of land use, influence organism behavior, interactions, and stoichiometry.
Most of my research has been in in aquatic (“wet”) habitats like costal oceans, and I have mostly focused on copepods (small, shrimp-like animals, about the size of half a grain of rice). However, I’ve worked with many other organisms, from salmon, to salamanders, to snails, and have also worked in terrestrial (“land”)-based habitats.
I particularly enjoy exploring big research questions with undergraduates and my other research colleagues at St. Francis College and beyond. If you would like to learn more about my work, I encourage you to check out my webpage: https://emilyherstoff.weebly.com/