Amy Rosemond

Amy Rosemond is a Professor in the Odum School of Ecology at UGA. Dr. Rosemond’s research program has been motivated by society’s need for healthy, resilient freshwater ecosystems and the goods and services they provide. Her work has been aimed at identifying the factors that maintain, diminish or improve the health of aquatic ecosystems. She has been successful at identifying mechanistic understandings of aquatic ecosystem functions and how they change due to stressors like excess nutrients, temperature and other non-point source pollutants. Amy has collaborated with others to conduct ecosystem-scale experimental manipulations, to establish landscape-scale patterns in stream health due to watershed urbanization, and quantify the effects of flow variability, temperature and nutrients on aquatic organisms and ecosystem functions.

A topic that Amy and her students and collaborators have tackled most recently concerns the effects of excess nutrient as a leading source of impairment to streams. Amy’s lab has particularly focused on food web and carbon pathways based on terrestrially-derived detrital carbon because these pathways support the majority of ecosystem functions in many streams and have been understudied relative to the effects of nutrients on algal pathways. To understand how nutrients affect ecosystem functions in streams, their work has used a stoichiometric perspective and addresses how the balance of carbon and nutrients in an ecosystem is altered with anthropogenic nutrient loading or the loss of important species that recycle nutrients in ecosystems. Amy’s work was recently featured in an US EPA webinar to highlight the importance of how nutrients affect detrital (brown) pathways in addition to their known effects on algal (green) pathways.

Freshwater is warming due to both land use and climate change. Amy’s lab and collaborators just received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to determine how increased temperature will affect stream ecosystems. Current lab activities are also focused on understanding the effects of multiple stressors associated with watershed urbanization on streams. This work includes identifying what effects stressors have, how they can be detected and ultimately, addressed. Amy and collaborators are also determining how variation in river flow affects ecosystem functions.

Amy’s work tackles basic issues that advance the discipline, as well as applied problems that inform the management of watersheds. She has published >75 peer reviewed publications which have been cited >5000 times. Her publications are in leading general science journals (e.g., Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) as well as top-ranked ecological journals (e.g., Ecology, Ecological Applications, Ecological Monographs, Ecology Letters, Global Change Biology), and the leading journals in aquatic ecology (e.g., Freshwater Science, Limnology and Oceanography, Freshwater Biology). Dr. Rosemond’s scholarship has been well supported by federal agencies (particularly NSF), as well as other funding sources. In total she has been a PI or co-PI on 21 grants, totaling over $7M.

Amy grew up in central Florida in the 70’s – in one of the 20th century’s greatest decades of change. She states that her passion for ecology was founded on the observed contrast between the beauty and complexity of the woods and lakes she grew up around and the impacts of increased population pressure. Her love for and study of the science of ecology was fostered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she received Bachelors and Masters degrees. She then embarked on her dissertation work influenced by researchers in food web ecology and watershed ecology, working at Vanderbilt University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Through her work at ORNL, she developed perspectives on the integrative nature of watersheds and ecosystem ecology. The strong aquatics and ecosystem science groups in the Odum School (then, Institute of Ecology) attracted her to Athens, and she received a NSF postdoctoral fellowship to come to UGA to study factors that control stream ecosystem functions. Following her postdoc, Amy’s first position was a faculty appointment in Ecology at UGA that was largely research and administratively focused, before being hired in a tenure track position in 2005.

Amy states that her deepest love and commitment (besides to her family and friends!) are to the amazing students she has had the opportunity to teach and work with at UGA. She has taught many students about the fundamentals of freshwater ecology in her Freshwater Ecosystems course and has enjoyed teaching graduate students (Ecosystem Ecology) as well as undergraduate first year and senior students. Mentoring postdocs, graduate students and undergraduate students in research has been a significant part of her contributions to the field of aquatic ecology. Graduates from Amy’s lab are currently working in federal agencies, non-profit organizations and colleges and universities. She has mentored 8 PhD students and 7 MS students as a major advisor (3 graduate students currently), served on an additional 42 graduate committees at UGA, and sponsored 25 undergraduates and 3 high school students conducting research in her lab. Working with such creative, innovative and dedicated students keeps Amy’s optimism high for the future of freshwater science and freshwater resource conservation!