Amy McDermott

Amy McDermott

Amy is a 2013 EICES Fellow and graduate student in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology at Columbia University. She is broadly interested in scientific research and communication centered on the the evolution and conservation of marine biodiversity.

Recent Posts

Aerial view of a changing landscape. Photo: Marcia Macedo

Warming Streams Have Cascading Impacts in the Amazon

To protect a river, you must preserve its headwaters. Agricultural development is warming streams at the headwaters of the Xingu River, in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Rising temperatures have local impacts that could cascade into regional changes, highlighting the importance of responsible land use outside of protected areas.

by |October 13, 2014
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Seeger’s Legacy Lives on Aboard Sloop Clearwater

In the summer of 1969, legendary folk musician and activist Pete Seeger headed a grassroots campaign to clean up the polluted Hudson River. At the heart of that campaign was a replica of a 200-year-old sailing ship– the sloop Clearwater. Nearly 50 years later, Clearwater remains an emblem of environmental reform. But with Seeger’s death at age 94 this past January, what will become of his cause?

by |May 13, 2014
Mute Swans on Long Island Sound

‘Oysters, Pearls of Long Island Sound’ at The Bruce Museum

“Oysters, Pearls of Long Island Sound,” on display now at The Bruce Museum of Arts and Sciences, is both informative and visually engaging. Running until March 23, the exhibition introduces the ecology and evolutionary history of these mollusks, but that’s not all. True to a museum of both art and science, The Bruce has drawn in local history as well, displaying oystermen’s tools, vintage oyster advertisements, and even an early American Impressionist painting. This exhibit highlights the tremendous impact that oysters have had on New England, both ecologically and culturally.

by |March 7, 2014
Mantis Shrimp. Nazir Amin, 2008

A Whole New Way of Seeing…Mantis Shrimp

Mantis shrimp are marine crustaceans inhabiting the shallow sunlit waters of tropical seas, where they make a living as voracious ambush predators. This week in Science, new research sheds light on their fascinating visual system, and reveals a novel form of color vision, previously unknown in the animal kingdom.

by |January 29, 2014

Why Conservation is Not Condescension: A Case Against Eco-imperialism

Western ecologists and conservationists have been portrayed at times as modern imperialists, forcefully imposing a radical ideology of environmentalism on the developing world. These so-called “eco-imperialists” are depicted as arrogant and uncaring elites, concerned with the protection of pristine nature, but indifferent to human welfare. But the future of wild places is entwined with human welfare, and the protection of wildlands is in fact critical in the long run. This piece investigates the perception of modern conservationists as eco-imperialists, and argues against that view of environmentalism.

by |January 2, 2014
Autumn in Central Park. A. McDermott

Losing Leaf Peepers: the Effect of Climate Change on Fall Color

The spectacular colors of fall foliage draw throngs of tourists to the Eastern U.S. each year. However, new research from The Chinese Academy of Sciences suggests that climate change may shift the timing of this seasonal event to the detriment of travelers and locals alike.

by |November 11, 2013
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Visit Ecosystems in Brazil, India, or Jordan This Summer

Are you curious about environmental sustainability in a global context? Want to earn course credit while traveling the world this summer? Take advantage of The Summer Ecosystem Experiences for Undergraduates program (SEE-U) offered through The Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability! Through summer field courses in Brazil, India, or Jordan, you will have the unique opportunity to conduct environmental fieldwork while learning firsthand about contemporary challenges in sustainable development.

by |October 17, 2013
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Buried Treasure: Unexpected Finds and the Value of Museum Collections

As the first new species of American carnivore described in 35 years, the olinguito is big news for science. Its discovery is also big news for museums, highlighting the value of collections in an age of rapid biodiversity loss.

by |October 15, 2013

Sustainability Certification in Aquaculture: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?

Should we certify aquaculture? A look at mounting challenges in the push for sustainable seafood.

by |October 3, 2013