Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dave Rugg

Dave Rugg
Program Manager, Research Data Services
Knowledge Management & Communications
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2366
United States
Current Research
I develop and implement methods for managing, publishing, and preserving the various types of research data generated by Forest Service Research & Development. This includes how to document research data using formal metadata and other materials so the data are usable by the originating research team (particularly for long-term research that spans the careers of multiple scientists), by the scientific community, and by the public.
Implementation of this research happens in my role as national program manager for Research Data Services, which includes operating the Forest Service Research Data Archive ( and converting paper-based historical research data from our experimental forests and grasslands into modern digital formats with documentation.
In my spare time, I’m working on a project to understand fledging in grassland birds.
Why This Research Is Important
The data generated by scientists, when properly documented and published, can have usefulness far beyond the original purpose behind its collection. Re-analysis using newer statistical methods and combination of data sets across studies can yield new insights not accessible to the original science team. Data are also very useful for modeling systems -- models which are often better suited to informing land management than the research articles associated with the data. Relative to the cost of acquiring and quality assuring the data, the investment in publishing the data and preserving them for future use is small but generates a substantial benefit for science and society.
  • University of Minnesota, M.S. Statistics, analysis of categorical data, 1983
  • University of Minnesota, M.S. Ecology, population ecology, 1981
  • Michigan State University, B.S. Zoology, population ecology, 1979
Professional Experience
  • Program Manager, Research Data Services,  U.S. Forest Service,  2010 - Current
    In this position I created, and now maintain/improve, a R&D-wide capability for publishing and preserving research data. I also manage a small project to scan historical research materials from our experimental forests and grasslands, convert the research data to digital format, and then publish the documented data. This position is a fun and rewarding integration of my background in ecology, statistics, and computer science.
  • IT Specialist,  U.S. Forest Service,  2000 - 2009
    Shifted my focus to creating a capacity in Forest Service R&D to document and publish research data. Wrote what turned out to be the surprisingly successful Metavist software for creating metadata.
  • Mathematical Statistician,  U.S. Forest Service,  1997 - 1999
    Worked as a scientist in the riparian ecology unit in northern Minnesota
  • Mathematical Statistician,  U.S. Forest Service,  1983 - 1996
    Worked as a consulting statistician at the North Central Research Station, interacting with scientists across the Station on experimental design, analysis of data, and development of new statistical techniques. Some of this period was spent in the Station’s Wildlife research unit focusing on beaver biology.
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Wood Turtle Habitat Use in Western Edge of Distribution

Year: 2016
Efforts to better understand habitat use patterns of the wood turtle at the western edge of their range is important for range-wide conservation. Forest Service scientists analyzed radio telemetry data from northeast Minnesota to assess habitat associations and space-use patterns and found wood turt...