John B. “Barny” Dunning is a Professor of Wildlife Ecology in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue. He received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Kent State University (Kent, Ohio) in 1978, where he graduated summa cum laude and was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He then received a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona (Tucson, Arizona) in 1986. Prior to coming to Purdue, Dr. Dunning held positions as a postdoctoral research associate and research scientist at the University of Georgia’s Institute of Ecology. During that time, he worked on the wildlife impact of forest management across large spatial scales at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in Aiken, South Carolina. This research was funded by grants from the Department of Energy, U.S. Forest Service and the National Science Foundation. He joined the faculty at Purdue in 1994, and was promoted to Professor in 2010.
Barny teaches courses in environmental conservation, ornithology, and conservation biology. He also leads study abroad courses to Costa Rica, Ecuador, British Columbia and throughout Europe. He has been voted the department’s Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher three times, and received the Richard L. Kohls Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher Award by the College of Agriculture in 2011. He has also been selected as one of the University’s outstanding teachers by receiving the Charles Murphy Award in 2011 and being inducted into Purdue’s Book of Great Teachers in 2013. He has published over 120 research papers and 3 books. His research focuses on the effects of habitat change across large landscapes on native wildlife species. Much of this research has focused on various species of sparrows in grasslands, wetlands and other open habitats. Sparrows are representative of a large group of native songbirds found in non-forested habitats that have declined greatly in recent decades. His early work at Purdue made use of habitat restoration projects involving both Midwestern grasslands and wetlands to examine how native birds respond to the creation of habitat in new locations within landscapes. He is now involved in a long-term field experiment in southern Indiana (the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment) to determine how practices of modern forest management impact a wide variety of native species. Current students are also using Doppler weather radar to study migration across the state and the effect of habitat restoration on endangered species in Hawaii and grasslands of Indiana.