Amy Mertl

Assistant Professor

Amy Mertl

Amy has long been fascinated by the underlying patterns structuring the evolution and ecology of diverse insect groups. At Lesley, she teaches the following courses: Biology with Lab, Animal Behavior, and Ecology and Natural History. 

Her current research involves investigating the diversity, ecology and structure of ant and termite communities in New England forests. This project currently engages Lesley students and community members in citizen science projects. Amy also has a background in using film and video as educational tools. She has co-produced several short documentaries through Project Documentary at CCTV, including “Ants” an award-winning short film on her favorite tiny subjects. 

Amy holds a BS from the University of Minnesota and a PhD from Boston University. 


  • Mertl AL, Ryder Wilkie KT, Constantino R, and Traniello JFA. 2012. Ecological associations of two species-rich insect taxa in the litter-layer of an Amazonian rainforest: is there a relationship between ants and termites? Psyche doi:10.1155/2012/312054
  • Mertl AL, Traniello JFA. 2011. Review of Ant Ecology, Lach L, Parr C and Abbott K (Eds.). For the Entomological Society of America
  • Mertl AL, Sorenson MD, Traniello JFA. 2010. Community-level interactions and functional ecology of major workers in the hyperdiverse ground-foraging Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) community of Amazonian Ecuador. Insectes Sociaux 57(4): 441-452
  • Mertl AL, Ryder Wilkie KT, Traniello JFA. 2009. Impact of flooding on the species richness, density and composition of Amazonian litter-nesting ants. Biotropica 41(5): 633-641
  • Mertl AL, Traniello JFA. 2009. Behavioral evolution in the major worker subcaste of twig- nesting Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Does morphological specialization influence task plasticity? Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 63(10): 1411-1426
  • Ryder Wilkie KT, Mertl AL, Traniello JFA. 2010. Species diversity and distribution patterns of the ants of Amazonian Ecuador. PLoS ONE 5(10): e13146.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013146

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