My choice of wildlife ecology as the focus of my work is based on two motivations: my fascination with nature and my belief that humans should use natural resources responsibly. Because ecology provides a framework for an almost unlimited array of questions, I have chosen to focus my research on issues that I believe to be steeped in a relative sense of urgency. In general, I classify these issues, as well as my scientific interests, as conservation biology and applied ecology.
In particular, I am interested in understanding the effects of human activities on vertebrates and in developing workable management strategies to mitigate these effects. Because I understand and appreciate the advantages of research based on the principles of sound design, most of my research has employed manipulative experiments because of the powerful inferences they provide. Most support for my research has come from land-management agencies that often face resource-management challenges that align with my interests.
With the help of my students, I consequently have pursued research questions on a suite of human impacts that range from recreation to long-term, large-scale changes in land use. We have assessed effects on a variety of endangered or sensitive vertebrates, and quantified responses that include changes to behavior, reproductive success, and community composition. Because human impacts vary in intensity and in their spatial and temporal extent, they provide a range of perspectives of how disturbances affect wildlife in changing landscapes. I believe too that research on issues connected to humans strengthens my teaching efforts, my connection to students, and increases my value with regard to extracurricular service commitments.
John Koprowski's research interests focus on the integration of basic ecological research into conservation and management decision making. He prefers to investigate basic ecological questions that have the potential to be applied to real-world problems in the conservation of biodiversity. As a result, many of his research group's studies focus on model species that are threatened or endangered or ecosystems that are rare or undergoing rapid change. His team enjoys collaborative work on a local, regional, national, and international scale and continuously seeks cooperators to investigate the impacts of climate change, population growth, and other anthropogenic influences.