Dr. Rodger Gwiazdowski (/(g)wiz·daʊ·skē/)
Adjunct Professor, Insect Conservation
Office: Ag. Eng. Rooms 115 & 117
Areas of Specialization
Insect conservation & ecology, molecular systematics and biodiversity informatics
Dr. Gwiazdowski is curious about discovering, and conserving biodiversity at the species level. His research focuses on insects, where he explores primary questions about evolution, diversity, ecology and conservation, using tools from molecular systematics, bioinformatics, ecology, and animal husbandry. He is also interested in principle-based negotiations, and popularizing methods in epistemology.
Prior to his graduate work, Rodger worked in several zoological institutions (Bronx Zoo, NY Aquarium, and the Liberty Science Center). Rodger completed his Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology & Entomology (joint degree) at UMass Amherst in 2011, where he found extraordinary cryptic species-diversity in one widespread North American pest insect that’s been “well known” for over 150 years. Concurrently, he developed captive-rearing techniques for rare tiger beetles. He then went to Canada as a post-doctoral fellow with the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, where he developed high-throughput DNA reference libraries for rapid insect identification, and combating seafood fraud. He currently consults on innovative conservation projects with Federal and state governments, and serves as Principal Investigator of tiger beetle recovery projects, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Puritan tiger beetle ecology, population dynamics, and recovery in the Connecticut River (This work was a cover story of the Science Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/science/puritan-tiger-beetles-vicious-predators-may-soon-hunt-again.html)
- Translocation of the Northeastern Beach tiger beetle from Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, MA to Sandy Hook, NJ.
- Constructing the first life table for a North American tiger beetle
NRC 397 – Insect Conservation (Spring semester 2020 & 2021) co-lead with Dr. Jeremy C. Andersen.
2020 The Montague Reporter: Insects Downstream Wait on Dam Relicensing; November 12. https://montaguereporter.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/November-12-2020.pdf
2020 Stockton University: The Essential Elements, Fall Issue. For Love of Tiger Beetles. https://stockton.edu/sciences-math/ezine/fall2020/for-love-of-tiger-beetles.html
2020 University of Massachusetts, Amherst, News & Media relations: Researchers to Fan Out on Seaward NJ Beach in July to Seek Tiger Beach Beetle Larvae Relocated from Cape Cod; June 30. https://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/article/researchers-fan-out-seaward-nj-beach-july
2020 The Asbury Park Press: Meet the beetles! Sandy Hook aims to bring back vanishing tiger beetles; May 28. https://www.app.com/story/news/local/land-environment/2020/05/28/sandy-hook-tiger- beetles/5261149002
2020 The Cape Cod Cronicle: Tiger Beetles From Thriving Monomoy Colony Transferred To New Jersey Beach; May 20. https://capecodchronicle.com/en/5521/chatham/5852/Tiger-Beetles-From-Thriving-Monomoy-Colony-Transferred-To-New-Jersey-Beach-Monomoy-National-Wildlife-Refuge-Conservation.htm
2020 The Cape Cod Times: Monomoy beetles used to help preserve rare species; May 18. https://www.capecodtimes.com/news/20200518/monomoy-beetles-used-to-help-preserve-rare-species
2020 Insider NJ: Rare beetles returned to North Jersey shores; May 13. https://www.insidernj.com/press-release/rare-beetles-returned-north-jersey-shores/
2020 The Monmouth Journal: Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle To Be Reintroduced At Sandy Hook; May 11. https://themonmouthjournal.com/northeastern-beach-tiger-beetle-to-be-reintroduced-at-sandy-hook-p9146-1.htm
2019 The Daily Hampshire Gazette: The fight is on to save the last of the puritan tiger beetles; July 16. https://www.gazettenet.com/Puritan-Tiger-Beetles-26525449
2018 The New York Times: Puritan Tiger Beetles, ‘Vicious Predators,’ May Soon Hunt Again; Dec. 04 (in print Dec. 04, page D1, as The Science Times cover story, above the fold). https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/science/puritan-tiger-beetles-vicious-predators-may-soon-hunt-again.html
2012 The New York Times: Exhibits That Only Researchers Usually See; Oct. 26 (in print Oct. 28, page F2). http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/arts/artsspecial/some-exhibits-at-natural-history-museum-are-only-seen-by-researchers.html
2019 National Public Radio: NEXT – Episode 164: New England’s Most Endangered Species; Young Climate Activists Take The Lead; Sept. 19. https://www.npr.org/podcasts/497694714/n-e-x-t
2018 WGBY 57, Public Television for Western New England – Connecting Point: Saving the Puritan Tiger Beetle from Extinction; Nov. 14. https://connectingpoint.wgby.org/puritan-tiger-beetle-extinction/
2014 Postdoctoral Fellow, Hanner Lab, University of Guelph, Ontario. Canada.
2012 – 2014 Postdoctoral Fellow, Hebert Lab, Biodiversity Institute of Ontario. Canada.
Ph. D 2011 Organismic and Evolutionary Biology & Entomology – Joint Degree. University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass) Advisor: Dr. Benjamin B. Normark
B.S. 2000 Biology – Minor in Marine Science. Stockton University, Galloway, New Jersey Advisor: Dr. Rudolf Arndt
Knisley, C. B., Gwiazdowski, R. A., 2020. Conservation Strategies for Protecting Tiger Beetles and their Habitats in the United States: Studies with Listed Species. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, Special Conference Proceedings. Invited paper, in press.
Gwiazdowski, R. A., Andersen, J.C., Knisley, C. B., Griffin, B. P., and Elkinton, J. S., 2020 . First Account of Phylogeographic Variation, Larval Characters, and Laboratory Rearing of the Endangered Cobblestone Tiger Beetle Cicindelidia marginipennis, Dejean, 1831 with Observations of Their Natural History. Insects 11, 708. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11100708
Duran, D. P., Laroche, R. A., Gough, H. M., Gwiazdowski, R. A., Knisley, C. B., Herrmann, D. P., Roman, S. J., and Egan, S. P., 2020. Geographic life history differences predict genomic divergence better than mitochondrial barcodes or phenotype. Genes 11 (3): 265. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030265
Blair, J., Gwiazdowski, R. A., Borrelli, A., Hotchkiss, M., Park, C., Perrett, G. and Hanner, R. 2020 .Toward a catalogue of biodiversity databases: An ontological case study. Biodiversity Data Journal Online: 27 March. https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.8.e32765
Duran, D.P., Herrmann, D.P., Roman, S.J., Gwiazdowski, R.A., Drummond, J., Hood, G.R., Egan, S.P.. 2019. Cryptic diversity in the North American Dromochorus tiger beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae: Cicindelinae): a congruence-based method for species discovery. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, zly035, 1-36. https://doi.org/10.1093/zoolinnean/zly035
Abell, K. J., Gwiazdowski, R. A., Kamata, N., Normark B. B., Van Driesche, R.G., 2016. The scale and parasitoid community on native hemlocks in Japan. Biological Control 100: 7-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2016.05.006d
Strohm, J.H.T., Gwiazdowski, R. A., Hanner, R. 2015. Fast fish face fewer mitochondrial mutations: patterns of dN/dS across fish mitogenomes. Gene 572 (1): 27-34. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2015.06.074
Phillips, J. D., Gwiazdowski, R. A., Ashlock, D., Hanner, R. 2015. An exploration of sufficient sampling effort to describe intraspecific DNA barcode haplotype diversity: examples from the ray-finned fishes (Chordata: Actinopterygii). DNA Barcodes, 3 (1): 66-73.
Gwiazdowski, R. A., and Normark B, B. 2014. An unidentified parasitoid community (Chalcidoidea) is associated with pine-feeding Chionaspis scale insects. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 107 (2): 356-363. http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/AN13041
Gwiazdowski, R. A., Elkinton, J. S., deWaard, J. R., Sermac, M. 2013. Phylogeographic diversity of the winter moths (Lepidoptera: Geometridae: Operophtera) O. brumata, and O. bruceata in Europe and North America. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 106 (2): 143-151. http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/AN12033
Vea, I. M., Gwiazdowski, R. A., Normark B. B. 2012. Corroborating molecular species discovery: Four new pine-feeding species of Chionaspis (Hemiptera, Diaspididae). ZooKeys 270: 37-58. http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.270.2910
Gwiazdowski, R. A., Vea, I. M., Andersen, J. C., B. B. Normark. 2011. Discovery of Cryptic Species among North American Pine-feeding Chionaspis Scale Insects (Hemiptera: Diaspididae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 47: 47-62. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2011.01716.x
Gwiazdowski, R. A., Gillespie S., Weddle, R., Elkinton, J. 2011. Laboratory Rearing of Common and Endangered Species of North American Tiger Beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae: Cicindelinae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 104 (3): 534-542. http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/AN10114
Andersen, J. C., Wu, J., Gruwell M. E., Gwiazdowski, R. A., Santana, S.E., Feliciano, N. Morse, M.G.E., Normark B. B.. 2010. A phylogenetic analysis of armored scale insects (Hemiptera: Diaspididae), based upon nuclear, mitochondrial, and endosymbiont gene sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57 (3): 992-1003. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2010.05.002
Elkinton, J.S., Boettner, G.H., Sremac, M., Gwiazdowski R. A., Hunkins, R.R., Callahan, J., Scheufele, S.B., Donahue, C.P., Porter, A.H., Khrimian, A., Whited, B.M., Campbell, N.K. 2010. Survey for Winter Moth, Operophtera brumata L. (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) in Northeastern North America with Pheromone-baited Traps and Hybridization with the Native Bruce spanworm, Operophtera bruceata (Hulst). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 103 (2): 135-145. http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/AN09118
Gwiazdowski, R. A.,Van Driesche, R.G., Desnoyers, A., Lyon, S., Wu, S., Kamata, N., Normark, B.B. 2006. Possible Geographic Origin of Beech Scale, Cryptococcus fagisuga (Hemiptera: Eriococcidae), an Invasive Pest in North America. Biological Control 39 (1): 9-18. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2006.04.009