Peter Dunn

 (414) 229-2253
 Lapham Hall 497


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Louisiana State University, 1994-96
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, The Australian National University, 1992-94
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Queen’s University, 1990-92
  • PhD, University of Alberta, 1989
  • MS, Colorado State University, 1984
  • BS, University of Maine, 1981


Research Interests

My research focuses on the behavior, evolution and conservation of birds. In particular, I am interested in the evolution and ecology of mating systems, life history strategies and the population genetics of threatened species. Current studies focus on:

  1. sexual selection and extra-pair mating in tree swallows and common yellowthroats
  2. the evolution of sexual dimorphism in birds
  3. conservation genetics of prairie-chickens
  4. the effects of climate change on breeding in birds

Selected Publications

Dunn, Peter O., Armenta, Jessica, and Whittingham, Linda A. “Natural and sexual selection act on different axes of variation in avian plumage color.” Science Advances/AAAS 1.2 (2015): 10.1126/sciadv.1400155.
Whittingham, Linda A., Freeman-Gallant, Corey, Taff, Conor, and Dunn, Peter O. “Different ornaments signal male health and MHC variation in two populations of a warbler.” Molecular Ecology/Wiley 24.7 (2015): 1584-95.
Dunn, Peter O., Bollmer, Jennifer, Freeman-Gallant, Corey, and Whittingham, Linda A. “MHC variation is related to a sexually-selected ornament, survival and parasite resistance in common yellowthroats.” Evolution 67.3 (2012): 679-687.
Hess, Brian, Dunn, Peter O., and Whittingham, Linda A. “Females choose multiple males in the lekking Greater-prairie Chicken.” Auk 129.1 (2012): 133-139.
Taff, Connor, Freeman-Gallant, Corey, Dunn, Peter O., and Whittingham, Linda A. “Multi-modal sexual selection in a warbler: plumage and song are related to different fitness components.” Animal Behaviour 84.4 (2012): 813-821.
Bollmer, Jennifer L., Dunn, Peter O., Freeman-Gallant, Corey, and Whittingham, Linda A. “Social and extra-pair mating in relation to major histocompatibility complex variation in common yellowthroats.” Proceedings of the Royal Society London B, Royal Society 279.1748 (2012): 4778-4785.
Dunn, Peter O., Winkler, David, Whittingham, Linda A., Susan, Hannon, and Roberston, Raleigh. “A test of the mismatch hypothesis: how predictable is food abundance for aerial insectivores ?.” Ecology 92. (2011): 450-461.
Eimes, John, Bollmer, Jennifer, Johnson, Jeff, Whittingham, Linda A., van Oosterhout, Cock, and Dunn, Peter O. “Rapid loss of MHC class II variation in a bottlenecked population is explained by drift and loss of copy number variation.” Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24.9 (2011): 1847-1856.
Whittingham, Linda A., and Dunn, Peter O. “Fitness benefits of polyandry for experienced females.” Molecular Ecology 19. (2010): 2328-2335.
Dunn, Peter O., and Winkler, David. “Effects of climate change on timing of breeding and reproductive success in birds.” Effects of climate change on birds. Oxford University Press, (2010): 113-128.
Petersen, M., Dunn, Peter O., and Whittingham, Linda A. “Extra-territorial forays are related to a male ornamental trait in common yellowthroats.” Animal Behaviour 72. (2006): 479-486.