»  Kari L. Schmidt

Kari L. Schmidt

Kari L. Schmidt


Ph.     (212) 313-7946
email:     kschmidt@amnh.org
Facebook:     facebook.com/GuatemalaMacaws


PhD student
Dept. of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology (E3), Columbia University


My research interests include the identification of conservation units, genetic effects of population fragmentation, behavioral ecology, impacts of wildlife trade, and interface between in situ and ex situ conservation efforts, with an emphasis on Neotropical psittacines. 

The focus of my doctoral dissertation has been the use of molecular genetics as a tool to enhance conservation efforts for an endangered population of scarlet macaws (Ara macao) in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Specifically, this work aimed to elucidate phylogeographic patterns across the species’ range, characterize historical and contemporary population dynamics, quantify genetic variation, and evaluate the utility of confiscated individuals for population reinforcement.

For my postdoctoral project, I will continue working with scarlet macaws in Guatemala to monitor demographic changes, investigate behavioral and ecological factors driving nest selection, and identify key life history traits influencing reproductive success.


  • Russello, M.A., C. Stahala, D. Lalonde, K.L. Schmidt and G. Amato. 2010. Cryptic diversity and conservation units in the Bahama parrot. Conservation Genetics 11:1809-1821.
  • Schmidt, K.L. and G. Amato. (submitted). Phylogeographic assessment of scarlet macaws (Ara macao): Patterns of intraspecific diversity and implications for conservation management. BMC Evolutionary Biology