Dr. John L. Koprowski, Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona, mammalogist, conservation biologist, and leading expert on the ecology and conservation of squirrels, was born in 1961 in Lakewood, Ohio.
John Koprowski graduated from Lakewood High School in Lakewood, Ohio, in June 1979 and earned his B.S. in Zoology at Ohio State University in June, 1983. He then attended Southern Illinois University to earn his M.A. in Zoology in August, 1985 with advisor Dr. Willard D. Klimstra. His Ph.D. was completed in May, 1991 at University of Kansas where he graduated with honors in Biology studying with advisor Dr. Kenneth B. Armitage.
While a doctoral and postdoctoral student at the University of Kansas, John began teaching night courses in introductory biology at Kansas City Kansas Community College and also advanced courses in vertebrate biology and evolution at the University of Missouri–Kansas City at Kansas City. This teaching experience and his research on behavior and ecology of tree squirrels permitted John to join the Deptartment of Biology faculty at Willamette University, the oldest university in the American west, in 1992 in Salem, Oregon. John was granted tenure and promoted during his time at Willamette. In 2000, John left Oregon to join the faculty of the wildlife program at the University of Arizona and to serve as the Director of the Mt. Graham Biology Program that includes intensive research on one of the most endangered species in the United States, the Mount Graham Red Squirrel. John is professor of wildlife science in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment and a faculty affiliate of the Institute of the Environment.
John Koprowski’s research extends from his early experience with the behavior and ecology of wildlife in human impacted environments, especially squirrels. Perhaps most notable for his work on squirrels, he conducted and published two papers on ground squirrels from undergraduate course projects, obtained both of his graduate degrees focused on the population, behavioral, and evolutionary ecology of tree squirrels, and continues to work on squirrels as model organisms. His work has focused on the conservation of diversity of mammals, particularly squirrels, and elucidating patterns in the social and mating systems of mammals as well as the population response of wildlife to stressors in their environment such as non-native species, human development, disease, fire, and climate change.
- Outstanding Mentor of Graduate and Professional Students, University of Arizona Graduate & Professional Student Council (2011)
- IUCN North American Coordinator-Small Mammals (2010)
- Outstanding Scholarly Publication, School of Natural Resources, University of Arizona (2007, 2002)
- Outstanding Faculty Member, School of Natural Resources (2005, 2003)
- Western National Parks Association’s Emil W. Haury Award for Outstanding Achievement in Science in the National Park (1999)
- Dorothy Haglund Outstanding Dissertation Award, The Graduate School, University of Kansas (1991)
- Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year, University of Kansas (1990)
John Koprowski is the eldest son of Judith Irene and Anthony Thomas Koprowski, a homemaker and a city laborer, who also raised two younger sons, Jerome Anthony and Joseph Raymond Koprowski. John married Nancy M. Cervenak on 21 September 1985. They have two children, Zachary Dylan and Emma Irene Koprowski.
John was raised in the west side suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio spending various amounts of time living in apartments in Cleveland, Lakewood, Westlake, and Rocky River before the family settled into a house in Lakewood while he was in the 6th grade. His parents loved fishing and he obtained his passion for the outdoors from the many family fishing trips. He would usually fish for a few hours and then sneaked off to catch turtles, frogs, or salamanders. Squirrels were one of the few species that could be found in an inner, highly urbanized, suburb and became a fascination for the young naturalist; the taxonomic group remained a research interest in his career. He had become fascinated by questions about animal behavior and how animals were able to survive in such challenging environments. Besides biology, John had strong interests in sports, especially baseball, and history; he coauthored a history of the Lakewood, Ohio public school system while a student in Advanced Placement U.S. History at Lakewood High School that was integrated into the curriculum. As a high school student, John was a member of the Latin Club, The Wilderness Society, and the Backpacking and Mountaineering Society that permitted him to combine his interests in science and the outdoors.
- Steele, MA, Koprowski, JL. 2001. North American Tree Squirrels, Smithsonian Institution Press. 224 pp.
- Sanderson, HR, Koprowski, JL. (eds). 2009. The Last Refuge of the Mt. Graham Red Squirrel: Ecology of Endangerment, University of Arizona Press.
- Thorington, RW, Koprowski, JL, Steele, MA, Whatton, J. 2012. Squirrels of the World, Johns Hopkins University Press, 472 pp.
- Koprowski, J.L. 1993. Alternative reproductive tactics in male eastern gray squirrels: "Making the best of a bad job". Behavioral Ecology 4:165-171.
- Koprowski, J.L. 1992. Removal of copulatory plugs by female tree squirrels. Journal of Mammalogy 73:572-576.
- Koprowski, J.L. 1996. Natal philopatry, communal nesting, and kinship in fox squirrels and eastern gray squirrels. Journal of Mammalogy, 77: 1006-1016.
- Koprowski, J.L. 1998. Conflict between the sexes: a review of social and mating systems of the tree squirrels. pp. 33–41 in M.A. Steele, J.F. Merritt, D.A. Zegers (eds.), Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of Tree Squirrels, Special Publication 6, Virginia Museum of Natural History. 310 pp.
- Koprowski, J.L. 2002. Handling tree squirrels with an efficient and safe restraint. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 30:101-103.
- Koprowski, J.L., M.I. Alanen, A.M. Lynch. 2005. Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide: response of endemic Mt. Graham red squirrels to catastrophic forest damage. Biological Conservation, 127:491-498.
- Koprowski, JL. 2005. The response of tree squirrels to fragmentation: a review and synthesis. Animal Conservation 8: 369-376.
- Koprowski, J.L. 2007. Reproductive strategies and alternative reproductive tactics of tree squirrels. In: Wolff, J. Sherman, P (eds). Rodent Societies: an ecological and evolutionary perspective. Chapter 7: pages 86–95. University of Chicago Press.
- Koprowski, J.L., N. Rajamani. 2008. Global hotspots, centers of diversity, and conservation of the tree and flying squirrels. Current Science 95: 851-856.
- Lurz, P.W.W., J.L. Koprowski, D.J.Wood. 2008. The use of GIS and modelling approaches in squirrel population management and conservation: a review. Current Science 95: 918-922.
- Zugmeyer, C.A., J.L. Koprowski. 2009. Severely insect-damaged forest: A temporary trap for red squirrels? Forest Ecology and Management 257: 464-470.