About Me

 Daniel J. Gurdak
PhD Candidate
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

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A Walk in the Várzea
I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Ecology at SUNY-ESF working under the advising of Dr. Donald J. Stewart.  My research focuses on the ecology, conservation, and management of Amazonian arapaima, among the largest freshwater fish species in the world.

At an early age, I developed an interest in the environment through camping and hiking as an outdoor guide. Over time, this interest matured into a passion for research and the natural sciences. I’ve worked on projects close to and far from home, including New York, Ecuador/ Galapagos Islands, Australia, Peru, United Kingdom, India, and now Brazil. Research topics included fish diet, forest disturbance, forest carbon cycling, butterfly communities, conservation outside protected areas, flagship species, and, now, tropical fisheries. I consider myself a conservation biologist and a natural scientist-- I eventually hope to contribute to these fields in meaningful ways. The rest of my story remains to be written…

I was born and raised in New York City to parents who emigrated from Poland. My primary languages are Polish and English. I also speak conversational Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese (and constantly improving). I enjoy sports such as basketball and rock-climbing and competed for eight years in track and field. While I don't currently have a permanent "home," New York (NY), Rochester (NY), Syracuse (NY), and Brazil (around the city of Santarem) are places you will likely find me.