Scientists at Work: Christopher Rogers
Christopher Rogers is an Invertebrate Zoologist, which is a scientist who studies animals without backbones. Specifically, he studies the invertebrates that live in vernal pools. Mostly, he studies the fairy shrimp, tadpole shrimp and clam shrimp.
He has travelled all over the world looking for new species in new places. He has discovered more than twenty new species from the United States, Canada, Australia, Chile, Brazil, Botswana, Mongolia, and Russia. In 2006, Christopher was called in to identify a new species of fairy shrimp discovered in Idaho. These fairy shrimp were huge – bigger than a human finger! For more on this amazing discovery, check out Christopher’s notes from the field.
Christopher also studies how male and female shrimp of the same species recognize one another, how the shrimp get from one vernal pool to another, how to protect endangered shrimp species, and how those species evolve. Another part of Christopher’s work is measuring the health of the vernal pool habitat where the animals live. By collecting, identifying and counting the vernal pool animals, Christopher and his colleagues can tell if the pool is affected by pollution or if the pool is healthy.
For several years Christopher worked for a company that studied the health of habitats by looking at the insects, shrimp, snails, and worms that live in rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans, as well as vernal pools. By measuring the health of water habitats, we can learn how to help keep our water healthy for nature and for humans both. Now Christopher works at Kansas State University where he studies fairy shrimp and travels all over the world looking for more species.
When asked, “What would you like kids to know about nature?”
“I want kids to know that there exists outdoors a world filled with all kinds of life, all ready for them to explore and investigate, and it is always turned on, whether they are watching it or not.”