Amy Berkov

Assistant Professor

Main Affiliation



Marshak Science Building



Amy Berkov


Dr. Berkov is a tropical ecologist who made a mid-life career change from art to science. One of the experiences that catalyzed this change was her opportunity to climb a huge tropical rain forest tree in Peru; looking out over a sea of green made her begin to realize how radically humans have transformed the planet. Her research program integrates lab and field studies to better understand the evolutionary ecology of Neotropical wood-boring beetles— especially those associated with trees in the Brazil nut family, which are icons of Amazonian forests.



Cullman Postdoctoral Research Fellow, American Museum of Natural History, 1999-2002
Ph.D. in Plant Sciences Subprogram, CUNY, 1999
B.F.A. in Printmaking, University of Colorado, 1977

Courses Taught

Biology 34500 - Botany (Spring 2011)
Biology 44300 - Insect Ecology
Biology 79301 - Plant-Animal Interactions

Research Interests

Interdisciplinary Studies of Tropical Plant-Insect Interactions
We use an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the evolutionary ecology of neotropical wood-boring beetles, including their host and stratum specificity, microclimate preferences, and interactions with gut microbes and parasitoids. Wood-boring beetles are among the earliest visitors to fallen trees and branches. They are able to locate patchily distributed, ephemeral resources, and derive nutrients from inhospitable substrates—thereby playing critical roles in nutrient cycling and forest ecology.


Berkov A. In press. Amy’s year in the rain forest. In Tropical Plant Collecting. Eds. Mori SA, Gracie CA, Hecklau E, Berkov A. TECC Editora, Brazil.

Berkov A. Monné MA. 2010. A new species of Neobaryssinus Monné & Martins, and two new species of Baryssiniella new genus (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), reared from trees in the Brazil nut family (Lecythidaceae). Zootaxa 2538: 47-59.

Robbins RK, Aiello A, Feinstein J, Berkov A., Caldas A, Busby RC, Duarte M. 2010. A tale of two species: detritivory, parapatry, and sexual dimorphism in Lamprospilus collucia and L. orcidia (Lycaenidae: Theclinae: Eumaeini). Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 42: 64-73.

Rivera FN, González E, Gómez Z, López N, Hernández-Rodríguez C, Berkov A, Zúñiga G. 2009. Gut-associated yeast in bark beetles of the genus Dendroctonus Erichson (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 98: 325-342.

Roddick C, Rodriguez N, Berkov A. 2009. Hard-won host records for two species of TrypanidiusBlanchard, 1847 (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Coleopterists Bulletin 63: 105-107.

Berkov A, Rodriguez N, Centeno P. 2008. Convergent evolution in the antenna of a cerambycid beetle, Onychocerus albitarsis, and the sting of a scorpion. Naturwissenschaften 95: 257-261.

Feinstein J, Purzycki KL, Mori S, Hequet V, Berkov A. 2008. Neotropical soldier flies (Stratiomyidae) reared from Lecythis poiteaui in French Guiana: Do bat-pollinated flowers attract saprophiles? Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 135: 200-207.

Berkov A., Feinstein J, Centeno P, Small J, Nkamany M. 2007. Yeasts isolated from Neotropical wood-boring beetles in SE Peru. Biotropica 39: 530-538.

Feinstein J, Mori SA, Berkov A. 2007. Saproflorivory: A diverse insect community in fallen flowers of Lecythidaceae in French Guiana. Biotropica 39: 549-554.

Melo MC, Berkov A., Coscoran M. 2005. Redescription of Manicocoris rufipes (Fabricius, 1787), including nymphs I, II, III and V (Reduviidae: Harpactorinae: Apiomerini), and its association with Clusia fruits. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 40: 55-64.

Mori SA, Gracie CA, Hecklau EF, Lobova TA, Berkov A., de Granville J-J. 2005. Documenting plant diversity in central French Guiana: the first step toward understanding biocomplexity. In Friis I & Balslev H, eds. Plant Diversity and Complexity: Local, Regional and Global Dimensions. Biol. Skr. 55: 11-24.

Berkov A. 2004. Lepuropetalaceae. In Smith N, Mori SA, Henderson A, Stevenson DW, & Heald SV, eds. Flowering Plants of the Neotropics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, p. 214. 

Berkov A. 2004. Pterostemonaceae. In Smith N, Mori SA, Henderson A, Stevenson DW, & Heald SV, eds. Flowering Plants of the Neotropics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, p. 316.

Berkov A. 2002. The impact of redefined species limits in Palame (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Lamiinae, Acanthocinini) on assessments of host, seasonal, and stratum specificity. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 76: 195-209.

Berkov A, Meurer-Grimes B, Purzycki K. 2000. Do Lecythidaceae specialists (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) shun fetid tree species? Biotropica 32(3): 440-551.

Berkov A, Tavakilian G. 1999. Host utilization of the Brazil nut family (Lecythidaceae) by sympatric wood-boring species of Palame(Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Lamiinae, Acanthocinini). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 67(2): 181-198.

Rovira I, Berkov A, Parkinson A, Tavakilian G, Mori S, Meurer-Grimes B. 1999. Antimicrobial activity of Neotropical wood and bark extracts. Pharmaceutical Biology 37(3): 208-215.

Meurer-Grimes B, Berkov A, Beck H. 1998. Theobromine, theophylline, and caffeine in 42 products of guaraná (Paullinia cupana, Sapindaceae). Economic Botany 52(3): 293-301.

Tavakilian G, Berkov A, Meurer-Grimes B, Mori S. 1997. Neotropical tree species and their faunas of xylophagous longicorns (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae) in French Guiana. The Botanical Review 63(4): 303-355.