David Rogowski, PhD


David never expected to find himself crunching numbers, but as the Wildlife Specialist Regional Supervisor in the Research Branch, that’s exactly what he does—and he loves it. While he does spend 40-60 days a year doing field research on fish – including the endangered humpback chub – most of his time is spent making sense of the data that’s collected by himself and the rest of his team.

David’s early education and career went the route of consulting and government work in the environmental field. “As an undergraduate, I knew very little about conducting research, or that it was even a career option,” he explains. “I ended up working with some biologists and thought that their job was more interesting than mine, and consequently went to graduate school to become a research biologist.”

When research once wasn’t even on his radar, it’s now one of his favorite parts about his job with AZGFD. “While rafting down the Colorado River capturing fish can be a lot of fun, one of my favorite parts is analyzing the data we collected. We collect data on location, growth, movement, relative abundance, and a variety of other characteristics. That data we collect helps us to tell a story about fish and how they are doing. It is all about learning something new.”

As someone who studies fish, it’s no surprise that one of the most interesting things he’s seen in the field is, well, a fish. In particular, the endangered, rare wild razorback sucker. Native to the Colorado River, most other populations of razorbacks are supporting by stocking, so catching one in the wild of the Grand Canyon is a rare event.

For Arizona’s amazing wildlife to live on into the future, David believes we can and must find a way to coexist. “Every organism needs a home,” he remarks. “Economic development and growth can occur and be sustainable without destroying habit, the environment, or jeopardizing our children’s health, or our health.”

DAVID ROGOWSKI, PHD featured image