2001 Directory                                                        Faculty Information Page 2001
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(Photo of Dr. Kesner)
(IUP Seal)

Dr. Michael H. Kesner

Professor of Biology

Indiana Univ. of PA


Electronic Mail Address



Office: (724) 357-2309
Biology Department Office: (724) 357-2352
FAX: (724) 357-5700


Semester Schedule

Office Hours

Teaching Schedule


IUP Campus Address

330 Weyandt Hall
Department of Biology
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Indiana, Pennsylvania 15705

Professional Interests and Formal Education
[ Publications ]

Field: Theoretical population ecology, mammalian community and population ecology.

         My research interests revolve around the ecology of disturbance and because Dr. Linzey (see her Faculty Information Page) shares this interest, we often collaborate. For example, we are interested in the modification of theoretical population models to allow their application to estimating effects of perturbations on populations. Perturbations are increasingly common (nearly always associated with human activities) and their effect on populations must be understood if we are to minimize impacts.

         I am also interested in population estimation techniques. While the techniques available seem to cover all possible contingencies, the assumptions of the techniques are rarely met and a choice of techniques for a given field problem is difficult. In collaboration with Drs. Linzey and Forbes, I have been investigating the accuracy and precision of estimation techniques such as Jolly-Seber and Minimum Number Known to be Alive under varying realistic conditions. Hopefully, such studies will increase the validity of population estimates and thereby all the studies based on those estimates.

         The interest Dr. Linzey and I share in the ecology of disturbance is also evident in a long term study (our 12th year) of the population dynamics of
Peromyscus leucopus (the white-footed mouse) in suboptimal habitat. We have recently completed studies to determine the relative contribution of intrinsic (density-dependent) versus extrinsic (density-independent) factors to mouse population dynamics. Our study has now entered an experimental stage (projected to last 5-10 years) where we will manipulate habitat quality (by altering vegetation) to test our hypothesis that in very early successional stages, the dynamics of this woodland mouse is largely determined by the dynamics of adjacent populations in optimal habitat, but the local population very rapidly develops the intrinsic ability to self-regulate as succession progresses (although the habitat remains sub-optimal for this mouse). These studies have obvious implications for the behavior of populations perturbed by human activities.

         Dr. Linzey and I are also collaborating in a study of the ecological interactions between African large (elephant, antelope, etc.) and small (rodent) herbivores during competition for food. See Dr. Linzey's statement of research interests for details. We hope that a better understanding of this important component of community ecology will provide information needed to minimize the continuing loss of biodiversity in Sub-Saharan Africa.

B.A.   - 1969 Northeastern University
M.S. - 1972 Northeastern University
Ph.D. - 1978 University of Massachusetts

Biology Department Web Site Maintainer: Dr. Ray L. Winstead
Direct e-mail Link: RWinstea@grove.iup.edu