Peter Dunn

Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Biological Sciences


  • 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., and Moller, Anders. Effects of Climate Change on BirdsSecond. Oxford : Oxford University Press. 2019.
Minias, Piotr, Whittingham, Linda A., and Dunn, Peter O.“Coloniality and migration are related to selection on MHC genes in birds” Evolution71. (2017): 432-441.
Bateson, Zachary , Whittingham, Linda A., Johnson, Jeffrey, and Dunn, Peter O.“Contrasting patterns of selection and drift between two categories of immune genes in prairie-chickens” Molecular Ecology24. (2015): 6095-6106.
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/AAAS1.2 (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/Wiley24.7 (2015): 1584-95.
Hess, Brian, Dunn, Peter O., and Whittingham, Linda A.“Females choose multiple males in the lekking Greater-prairie Chicken” Auk129.1 (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 Behaviour84.4 (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 Society279.1748 (2012): 4778-4785.
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” Evolution67.3 (2012): 679-687.
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 Biology24.9 (2011): 1847-1856.
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 ?” Ecology92. (2011): 450-461.
Dunn, Peter O., and Winkler, David. “Effects of climate change on timing of breeding and reproductive success in birds” Effects of climate change on birdsEd. Møller, A. P., Fieldler, W., and Berthold, P.. Oxford University Press. (2010): 113-128.
Whittingham, Linda A., and Dunn, Peter O.“Fitness benefits of polyandry for experienced females” Molecular Ecology19. (2010): 2328-2335.
Petersen, M., Dunn, Peter O., and Whittingham, Linda A.“Extra-territorial forays are related to a male ornamental trait in common yellowthroats” Animal Behaviour72. (2006): 479-486.