Erika Nowak, Ph.D.
Center for Adaptable Western Landscapes
Erika Nowak is an assistant research professor in the School of Earth and Sustainability at Northern Arizona University. Erika is the lead author or species expert co-author on four species accounts in Snakes of Arizona, a recently published book (November 2020; Eco Publishing, Rodeo, New Mexico). Her long-term research on federally threatened narrow-headed gartersnakes (Thamnophis rufipunctatus), species of concern Arizona black rattlesnakes (Crotalus cerberus) and North American milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum), and the medically important species western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) formed the basis of much of these species accounts. Her research, including contributions by several former NAU graduate and undergraduate students, included aspects of each species’ etymology, taxonomy, distribution, habitat use, ecology, behavior, prey use, predators, parasites, and pathogens, captive husbandry (for narrow-headed gartersnakes), management status and conservation threats, and human perceptions of snakes. In collaboration with Colorado Plateau Research Station affiliate herpetologist Trevor Persons, who also lead authored or co-authored several species accounts, she served as a reviewer and data contributor for multiple accounts in the book.