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

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., 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.