I am an ecologist broadly interested in how plant defenses shape communities and ecosystems. I've looked at this question through the lens of multiple trophic levels (plants, insects, birds, microbes) and am now working to extend this understanding to fluxes and flows of nutrients as well.  

In 2007, I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware in Wildlife Conservation, working in the lab of Dr. Douglas Tallamy for my senior thesis work and then as lab manager. In 2016 I defended my dissertation work in the ecology and evolution department at Yale University in the wonderful lab of Dr. Os Schmitz.

Currently I am a Smithson postdoc  working with Dr. John Parker at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC). I have two large projects. The first examines lepidopteran host-use patterns, tree damage, and growth in two large scale tree diversity experiments (BiodiversiTREE) planted at the Smithsonian. The second involves examining trait plasticity and freeze tolerance in mangrove seedlings from core and edge populations.

Beginning in Fall 2018, I am very excited to be returning to my insect roots and will be starting a lab as an assistant professor in the University of Maryland Entomology Department! I will be recruiting a postdoc, tech, and graduate students soon so feel feel free to  check out the join us (really just me at the moment) page or contact me if you want to learn more about the lab.

I've got a twin sister (Dr. Liana T. Burghardt) who works on plant life cycle evolution and microbial symbionts. If you are really trying to find her instead of me check out her website.  

Contact me at:

email: burghardtk@si.edu

twitter: @karinburghardt