Mike Wunder

Mike Wunder photo
Ph.D. • Associate Professor • Director of Graduate Program • Biology Research Faculty
Department of Integrative Biology

Mailing Address:
Department of Integrative Biology
Campus Box 171
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364

Physical Location:
1150 12th Street
SI 4124B
Denver, CO 80204

Office Hours:
By appointment ONLY.

Expertise Areas:
I study animal population biology with a special interest in migratory systems. Migratory systems are useful models because conditions experienced at one place and time influence dynamics observed in distant locations; these are systems that link the biology and health of continents. My long-term goal is to understand factors regulating population demography and geographic range distributions, so that we can predict responses to disease epidemics and changes in climate, environmental health, and human land use. I combine fieldwork, lab work and modeling to study these systems and have developed novel statistical tools for determining dietary and geographic histories from chemical and molecular compositions of animal tissues.

Ph.D., Colorado State University, Ecology, 2007
B.A., University of Colorado Boulder, Environmental Biology, 1994

Dr. Wunder is a quantitative ecologist with interests in the ecology, behavior, biogeography, and evolution of migratory species. His research relies on a mixture of fieldwork, laboratory work, and computer-based simulation analysis and modeling to understand natural populations of animals. More about my research group can be found on the lab website.

  1. Vander Zanden, H.B., M.B. Wunder, K.A. Hobson, S.L. Van Wilgenburg, L.I. Wassenaar, J.M. Welker (2014) Contrasting assignment of migratory organisms to geographic origins using long-term versus year-specific precipitation isotope maps. Methods in Ecology and Evolution In Press
  2. Vander Zanden, H. B., A.D. Tucker, K.M. Hart, M.M. Lamont, I. Fujisaki, D.S. Addison, K.L. Mansfield, K.F. Phillips, M.B. Wunder, G.J. Bowen, M. Pajuelo, A.B. Bolten, K.A. Bjorndahl (2014) Determining foraging area origin in a migratory marine vertebrate by integrating stable isotope analysis and satellite tracking: a novel approach. Ecological Applications In Press
  3. Cryan, P.M., C.A. Stricker, and M.B. Wunder (2014) Continental-scale, cross-seasonal movements of a heterothermic migratory tree bat. Ecological Applications 24:602-616
  4. Bryan, R.D. and M.B. Wunder (2014) Western burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) eavesdrop on alarm calls of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Ethology 120:180-188
  5. Flockhart, D.T.T., L.I. Wassenaar, T.G. Martin, K.A. Hobson, M.B. Wunder, and D.R. Norris (2013) Tracking multi-generational migratory connectivity: colonization of the breeding grounds by monarch butterflies in eastern North America. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 280 (1768):20131087
  6. Rundel, C.W., M.B. Wunder, A.H. Alvarado, K.C. Ruegg, R. Harrigan, A. Schuh, J.F. Kelly, R. Siegel, T.B. Smith, and J. Novembre (2013) Novel statistical methods for integrating genetic and stable isotopic data to infer individual-level migratory connectivity. Molecular Ecology 22:4163-4176
  7. Wunder, M.B., J.R. Jehl, and C. Stricker (2012) The early bird gets the shrimp: confronting assumptions of isotopic equilibrium and homogeneity in a wild bird population. Journal of Animal Ecology 81:1223-1232
  8. Oyler-McCance, S.J., J.A. Fike, T.A. Castoe, D.F. Tomback, M.B. Wunder, and T.D. Schaming (2012) Development and characterization of thirteen microsatellite loci in Clark’s nutcracker (Nucifraga Columbiana). Conservation Genetics Resources 5:303-305
  9. Barringer, L.E., D.F. Tomback, M.B. Wunder, and S. McKinney (2012) Whitebark pine stand condition, tree abundance, and cone production as predictors of visitation by Clark’s nutcracker. PLoS ONE 7(5):e37663
  10. Wunder, M.B. (2012) Determining geographic patterns of migration and dispersal by analysis of stable isotopes in keratins. Journal of Mammalogy 93:360-367
  11. Cryan, P.M., C.A. Stricker, and M.B. Wunder (2012) Biologically structured isotopic variation in a sedentary population of bats. Journal of Mammalogy 93:381-389
  12. Wunder, M.B. (2010) Using isoscapes to model probability surfaces for determining geographic origins. In: Isoscapes: Understanding movement, pattern, and process on Earth through isotope mapping (Bowen, G., West, J., Tu, K, and Dawson, T. eds.) Springer-Verlag, New York.
  13. Dinsmore, S. J., M. B. Wunder, V. J. Dreitz, and F. L. Knopf (2010) An assessment of factors affecting population growth of the Mountain Plover. Avian Conservation and Ecology 5(1): 5
  14.  Hobson, K.A., M.B. Wunder, S. VanWilgenburg, R. Clark, and L.I. Wassenaar (2009) A method for investigating population declines of migratory birds using stable isotopes: origins of harvested lesser scaup in North America. PLoS ONE 4(11): e7915
  15. Gutowsky, S., Janssen, M.H., Arcese, P., Kyser, T.K., Ethier, D., Wunder, M.B., Bertram, D.F., Tranquilla, L.M., Lougheed, C., and D.R. Norris. (2009) Concurrent declines in nestling diet quality and reproductive success of a threatened seabird over 150 years. Endangered Species Research 9:247-254
  16. Sellick, M.J., T.K. Kyser, M.B. Wunder, D. Chipley, and D.R. Norris (2009) Geographic variation of strontium and hydrogen isotopes in avian tissue: implications for tracking migration. PLoS ONE 4(3): e4735.
  17. Augustine, D.J., S.J. Dinsmore, M.B. Wunder, V.J. Dreitz, and F.L. Knopf (2008) Mountain plover response to plague-driven dynamics in black-tailed prairie dog landscapes. Landscape Ecology 23:689-697
  18. Wunder, M.B. and D.R. Norris (2008) Improved estimates of certainty in stable isotope-based methods for tracking migratory animals. Ecological Applications 18:549-559
  19. Norris, D.R., M.B. Wunder, and M. Boulet (2006) Perspectives in Migratory Connectivity. Ornithological Monographs 61:79-88.
  20. Knopf, F.L. and M.B. Wunder (2006) Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus). In The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; Retrieved from The Birds of North America Online http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/BNA/account/Mountain_Plover doi:10.2173/bna.211
  21. Schneider, S.C., M.B. Wunder, and F.L. Knopf (2006) Relationship between shrubs and foods in Mountain Plover habitat in Park County Colorado, USA. Southwestern Naturalist51:197-202
  22. Wunder, M.B., C.L. Kester, F.L. Knopf, and R.O. Rye (2005) A test of geographic assignment using isotope tracers in feathers of known origin. Oecologia 144:607-615
  23. Dretiz, V.J., M.B. Wunder, and F.L. Knopf (2005) Movements and home ranges of Mountain Plovers raising broods in three Colorado landscapes. Wilson Bulletin 117:128-132
  24. Wunder, M.B., F.L. Knopf and C.A. Pague (2003) The high elevation population of Mountain Plovers in Colorado. Condor 105:654-662
  25. Wunder, M.B. and F.L. Knopf (2003) Imperial Valley of California is critical to wintering Mountain Plovers. Journal of Field Ornithology 74(1):74-80

BIOL 6764: Biological Data Analysis
BIOL 6705: Biological Research Workshop
BIOL 3763: Biostatistics
BIOL 4425/5425: Biogeography