amanda heidt

Amanda Heidt

Amanda first began dabbling in scicom as a master’s student studying marine science at Moss Landing Marine Labs, where she edited the student blog and interned at a local NPR station. She enjoyed that process of demystifying science so much that after receiving her degree in 2019, she went straight into a second master’s program in science communication at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Formerly an intern at The Scientist, Amanda joined the team as a staff reporter and editor in 2021 and oversaw the publication’s internship program, assigned and edited the Foundations, Scientist to Watch, and Short Lit columns, and contributed original reporting across the publication. Amanda’s stories often focus on issues of equity and representation in academia, and she brings this same commitment to DEI to the Science Writers Association of the Rocky Mountains and to the board of the National Association of Science Writers, which she has served on since 2022. She is currently based in the outdoor playground that is Moab, Utah. Read more of her work at

Articles by Amanda Heidt
Close-up shot of sea surface with small waves
The Constellation of Creatures Inhabiting the Ocean Surface
Amanda Heidt | Jan 2, 2023 | 10+ min read
The myriad species floating atop the world’s seas, called neuston, are mysterious and understudied, complicating efforts to clean up plastic pollution.
Slideshow: Meet the Neuston, the Diverse Organisms Living at the Ocean’s Surface
Amanda Heidt | Jan 2, 2023 | 2 min read
The ocean’s surface harbors an ecosystem of colorful, understudied life, ranging from protists and cnidarians to insects.
Illustration showing where neuston reside
Infographic: Neuston Drift Atop the World’s Oceans
Amanda Heidt | Jan 2, 2023 | 1 min read
The sea surface is home to a diverse group of animals adapted to life in the open ocean, but increasingly, they’re sharing that space with plastic debris.
Various images of different types of neuston
Neuston: Living Among Plastic Debris in the Open Ocean
Amanda Heidt | Jan 2, 2023 | 3 min read
With plastic recovery operations now underway in the world’s marine garbage patches, scientists must contend with how little was known about the organisms living at the surface.
Three flying foxes (a type of bat) hanging upside down on a bare branch
Climate Change, Deforestation Drive Bat Virus Spillover Into Humans
Amanda Heidt | Nov 17, 2022 | 4 min read
Bats that experience food shortages due to climate change and habitat loss end up roosting in urban settings, where they shed more of the deadly Hendra virus. 
A visualization of a spinal cord with neurons highlighted in red
Scientists Identify Neurons Needed to Walk After Paralysis
Amanda Heidt | Nov 10, 2022 | 3 min read
Nine people with spinal injuries walked again after electrical stimulation, allowing researchers to pinpoint neurons likely underlying their recovery.
Three turtles resting closely together on a log, one end of which is submerged in brackish water
Turtle Vocalizations Reframe Origins of Auditory Communication
Amanda Heidt | Oct 26, 2022 | 4 min read
Sounds made by more than 50 vertebrates previously thought to be mute push back the origin of this type of communication by at least 100 million years, a study finds.
The structure of a biological cell (macro)
The Long and Winding Road to Eukaryotic Cells
Amanda Heidt | Oct 17, 2022 | 10+ min read
Despite recent advances in the study of eukaryogenesis, much remains unresolved about the origin and evolution of the most complex domain of life.
Illustration showing the path result of Eukaryogenesis
Infographic: Evolutionary Leaps Leading to Modern Eukaryotes
Amanda Heidt | Oct 17, 2022 | 2 min read
A lot happened in the hundreds of millions years separating the first and last eukaryotic common ancestors, but when and how most features arose remains a mystery.
A composite headshot of Camila Behrensen (left) and Pablo Guzmán Palma (right)
Two Allegedly Murdered Scientists Found in Apartment Fire
Amanda Heidt | Oct 5, 2022 | 2 min read
Emergency responders arrived at a structure fire in Kansas City to find the two graduate students suffering from “apparent trauma” before they were declared dead at the scene.