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Lehman College

Department of Earth Environmental and Geospatial Sciences

Daniel J. Gurdak

Daniel J. Gurdak Current location

  • Bronx, NY

Date of Graduation from Lehman

  • 2007

Type of degree/major/specialization/certificate

Macaulay Honors

  • BA, Biology and BA, Environmental Science, 2007
  • Macaulay Honors College, summa cum laude

Subsequent degrees earned or in progress

College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, Syracuse, NY

  • PhD, Conservation Biology, Summer 2009-present

Maxwell School of Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

  • Masters of Public Administration, 2013

Oxford University Centre for the Environment, St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, UK

  • MSc, Biodiversity Conservation and Management, 2008

Herbert H. Lehman College, City University of New York, Bronx, NY

  • BA, Biology and BA, Environmental Science, 2007
  • Macaulay Honors College, summa cum laude

Positions held since graduating

Research Experience

Arapaima Conservation and Management, 2009- present

SUNY College for Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY            

  • Interdisciplinary ecological research of arapaima conservation and management in Brazil through ecological field studies; conducted preliminary growth analysis.

Butterfly Research and Outreach, 2008-2011

Butterfly Northeast, Assam, India                                                

  • Collaborated with local butterfly interest/enthusiast group to study butterfly communities across a human-dominated landscape; butterfly conservation outreach & education.

Carbon Dynamics in the Tropics, Peru, Summer 2008

Oxford University Centre for the Environment; Ecosystem Dynamics Lab

  • Analyzed stocks and respiration of an understudied component of tropical carbon dynamics in the Andes to make prediction about the influence of a changing climate. 

Tropical Rainforest Studies, Australia, Spring 2008

School for Field Studies (SFS), Australia, Study Abroad

  • Conducted bird surveys, vegetation surveys, restoration projects, and GIS Research in Mabi rainforest with a team of students and faculty during a semester.  

Diet of tessellated darters, Bronx River, Fall 2006-Spring 2007

Laboratory for Marine and Estuarine Research (LaMER)

  • Excised the stomach content of tessellated darters, E. olmstedi, collected along the Bronx River to determine dietary niche breadth.

Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation in Equador and the Galapagos, Winter 2006

Galapagos Institute for the Arts and Sciences (GAIAS), Study Abroad

  • Conducted introductory field research on lava lizard behavior and learned about the conservation of the archipelago. 

Work and teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant, Fall 2010- Spring 2013

SUNY College for Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY

  • Teach laboratory component of Geographic Information Technology course and Ichthyology.

National Science Foundation GK-12 Teaching Fellow, Summer 2009-Fall 2010

SUNY College for Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY

  • Co-teach undergraduate-level “global environment” course; focus on research.

Coordinator of Alumni Relations, December 2008-June 2009

Macaulay Honors College, City University of New York, New York, NY

  • Organized and coordinated Alumni events.  Provided new opportunities and benefits to develop alumni network.  Worked on databases, communications, and fundraising.

Research Assistant, Carbon Dynamics, September 2008-Nov 2008

Oxford University Centre for the Environment; Ecosystem Dynamics Lab, Oxford, UK

  • Worked with team of researchers to establish long-term plots in Oxford University’s permanent forest for analysis and research of carbon dynamics in temperate forest.

Assistant High Adventure Director, 2005-2007 (summer intensive)

Ten Mile River Scout Camps, Boy Scouts of America; Narrowsburg, NY        

  • Conducted staff training and organized, supervised, and coordinated backpacking, climbing, wilderness survival, and river trek high adventure programs. 

Wilderness Guide, Climbing Instructor, 2002-2007 (summer intensive)

Ten Mile River Scout Camps, Boy Scouts of America; Narrowsburg, NY        

  • Guided weeklong hiking and canoe trips with attention to camping skills, wilderness survival and natural history; conducted week long climbing and rappelling lessons.

Specific accomplishments of which you are most proud

Awards and Honors

  • 2014 Robert L. Burgess Graduate Scholarship in Ecology
  • 2013 Wilford Dence Fellowship

award given by the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology (College of Environmental Science and Forestry; State University of New York, USA) to a graduate student who has demonstrated academic achievement and professional promise in broad areas of natural history, fish, and wildlife

  • 2013 Society of Wetland Scientists Student Research Award
  • 2013 Tropical Social Forestry Fund

award given by the Department of Forest and Natural Resource Management, College of Environmental Science and Forestry; State University of New York, USA

  • 2011 IIE Fulbright Scholar
  • 2010 Maurice and Annette Alexander Wetlands Research Award ($1125 USD)
  • 2009 NSF GK-12 STEM Fellowship
  • 2008 Abbey-Santander Travel Award (£500 GBP)
  • 2007 St Edmund Hall Brockhues Graduate Research Award, University of Oxford (£250 GBP)
  • 2007 Rhodes Scholar Finalist
  • 2007 The Kane Prize, Lehman College Biology Department’s Highest Graduating GPA
  • 2007 Male Scholar Athlete of the Year, Lehman College
  • 2006 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship ($5000 USD)
  • 2006 Ranger Award, highest rank in Venture Scouts
  • 2006 Charlie Greenberg Scholarship ($1000 USD)
  • 2003 Macaulay Honors College (2003-2007 tuition award)
  • 2003 Eagle Scout; highest rank in Boy Scouts

Research Grants

Active  

  • 2013 $20,000 Ecology, management, and conservation of Arapaima spp. in floodplains of the Lower Amazon; Research and outreach grant funded by the Boticario Foundation; Writer and Co-Principal Investigator: Daniel Gurdak
  • 2013 $25,000 Tracking arapaima to create sustainable reserves for inland fisheries in the Brazilian Amazon; Funded by National Geographic Society, Committee for Research and Exploration; Lead PI: Peter Klimely; Written by: Daniel Gurdak

Completed

  • 2010 National Geographic Young Explorers Grant ($5000 USD)
  • 2009 DEFRA/FFI Flagship Species Fund Small Grant (£1875 GBP)
  • 2010 Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research ($1000 USD)

Geography or GISc activities/accomplishments/awards/internships/publications

I was a teaching assistant for a GIS course at SUNY ESF. I have also used GIS in published papers and various papers that I currently have in prep.  I will be using GIS extensively in my ongoing telemetry research (i.e. deploying acoustic tags and an array of receivers to monitor movements and migration of arapaima in the lower Amazon.

Overall assessment of how Lehman’s EEGS Program prepared you for your current life

Lehman’s certificate program in GIS prepared me for my career in ecology and the sciences.  I recognize and appreciate the importance of place in the design, execution, and analysis of my research.

What else have you been up to?

Got married last year and we moved back to NYC!  I’m now finishing up my PhD work and will be back and forth from NYC to Brazil for the next year.