David E. Cowley

Image of David Cowley
David Cowley

Appointment: Associate Professor

Research Area: Aquatic ecology

Office Location: Knox 119

Email Address: dcowley@nmsu.edu

Office Phone: 575-646-1346

Office Fax: 575-646-1281

Website: Southwest Ichthyological Research Laboratory (SWIRL)


  • Postdoctoral - North Carolina State University, 1987-1992
  • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, 1987
  • M.S. Eastern New Mexico University, 1979
  • B.S. Eastern New Mexico University, 1977


  • Associate Professor (since 2007), Assistant Professor (2001-2007), New Mexico State University, Department of Fishery & Wildlife Sciences.
  • Owner/Consultant, EnviroStat, Albuquerque, NM (1992-2001)
  • Research Assistant to Postdoctoral Research Associate to Researcher in Genetics, North Carolina State University, Department of Genetics, Raleigh, NC (1986-1992)


  • Distinguished Research Award, College of Agriculture and Home Economics, New Mexico State University, 2006
  • Mobley Award for Excellence in Research, College of Agriculture and Home Economics, New Mexico State University, 2006
  • Young Investigator Prize, American Society of Naturalists, 1988

Research Interests:

My research program spans theory and experimentation in genetics and conservation ecology. Presently I am directing research in conservation genetics of fishes and on aquatic species interactions in arid land aquatic ecosystems. Intermittent rivers and ephemeral playa lakes provide model systems for studying adaptation of species to climate change and invasive species.

Selected Publications:

  • Shirey, PD, DE Cowley & R Sallenave. (in press) Diatoms from gut contents of museum specimens of an endangered minnow suggest long-term ecological changes in the Rio Grande (USA). Journal of Paleolimnology (online early, DOI: 10.1007/s10933-007-9156-4)
  • Cowley, DE. (in press). Estimating required habitat size for fish conservation in streams. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems (online early, DOI: 10.1002/aqc.845)
  • Cowley, DE, RC Wissmar, & R Sallenave. 2007. Fish assemblages and seasonal movements of fish in irrigation canals and river reaches of the middle Rio Grande, New Mexico (U.S.A.). Ecology of Freshwater Fish 16:548-558.
  • Metcalf, JL, VL Pritchard, SM Silvestri, JB Jenkins, JS Wood, DE Cowley, RP Evans, DK Shiozawa, & AP Martin. 2007. Across the great divide: Genetic forensics reveals misidentification of endangered cutthroat trout populations. Molecular Ecology 16:4445-4454.
  • Pritchard, VL, K Jones, & DE Cowley. 2007. Estimation of levels of introgression in cutthroat trout populations using microsatellites. Conservation Genetics 8:1311-1329.
  • Pritchard, VL, K Jones, & DE Cowley. 2007. Genetic diversity within fragmented cutthroat trout populations. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 136:606-623.
  • Pritchard, VL, K Jones, JL Metcalf, AP Martin, Y Paroz, K Patten, P Wilkinson, & DE Cowley. 2007. Characterization of tetranucleotide microsatellites for Rio Grande cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii virginalis) and rainbow trout (O. mykiss), and their cross-amplification in other cutthroat trout subspecies. Molecular Ecology Notes 7:594-596.
  • Shemai, B, R Sallenave, & DE Cowley. 2007. Competition between hatchery-raised Rio Grande cutthroat trout and wild brown trout. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 27:315-325.
  • Cowley, DE. 2006. Strategies for ecological restoration of the Middle Rio Grande in New Mexico and recovery of the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow. Reviews in Fisheries Science 14:169-186.
  • Cowley, DE & R Sallenave. 2006. Preface: Conservation and management of aquatic resources in arid lands. Reviews in Fisheries Science 14:25-27.
  • Cowley, DE, PD Shirey, & MD Hatch. 2006. Ecology of the Rio Grande silvery minnow (Cyprinidae: Hybognathus amarus) inferred from specimens collected in 1874. Reviews in Fisheries Science 14:111-125.
  • Pritchard, VL & DE Cowley. 2006. Rio Grande cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii virginalis): A technical conservation assessment. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, Species Conservation Project, (invited, peer-reviewed by the American Fisheries Society). Species Conservation Assessments, 75 pp. Sallenave, R & DE Cowley. 2006. Science and effective policy for managing aquatic resources. Reviews in Fisheries Science 14:203-210.
  • Sallenave, R, J Alleman, J Padilla, & DE Cowley. 2005. First record of Daphnia lumholtzi (Sars) in the Rio Grande Basin, New Mexico. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 20(4):775-776.
  • Sallenave, R & DE Cowley. 2004. Aquatic resources in arid lands: issues and opportunities. Aquatic Sciences 66(4):343-345.
  • Cowley, DE, FW Ward, R Deitner, & MD Hatch. 2003. Optimizing the allocation of hatchery-produced fish among multiple stocking sites. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 23:216-229.

Most Highly-Cited Publications:

  • Cowley, DE & WR Atchley. 1990. Development and quantitative genetics of correlation structure among body parts of Drosophila melanogaster. American Naturalist 135:242-268.
  • Cowley, DE, D Pomp, WR Atchley, EJ Eisen, & D Hawkins-Brown. 1989. The impact of maternal uterine genotype on postnatal growth and adult body size in mice. Genetics 122:193-203.
  • Cowley, DE & WR Atchley. 1992 Quantitative genetic models for development, epigenetic selection, and phenotypic evolution. Evolution 46:495-518.