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Patrick Magee

Faculty Senate Chair, Associate Professor of Wildlife & Conservation Biology


Ph.D., University of Missouri, Wildlife Ecology, 1996
M.S., University of Missouri, Wildlife Ecology, 1989
B.S., Colorado State University, Wildlife Biology, 1986


How did you discover Western?

I am a Colorado native and knew about the college for many years. I learned about a job opportunity at Western through a colleague and I was deeply appreciative to discover a small college in the mountains of Colorado. Western and I are a good fit.

What are some of the highlights of your career?

At Western I teach a two-week intensive field course called Colorado Ecoregions. It is deep immersion into the natural history of Colorado’s plains, mountains and desert canyons. It is a transformative experience for students. The impact on student lives is astonishing as they explore the natural beauties of the state from intellectual, physical, mental and spiritual contexts. This is absolutely my Western highlight.

What most excites you about your field?

I study wildlife and their habitats. I love working with land-management and wildlife-management agencies to help solve real-world problems and to collaborate across boundaries. I love trying to communicate the science of wildlife in interesting ways that help students and various audiences to value species and ecosystems.

What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?

I love the mountains and the waters of the basin and the birds that migrate here or those that, year-round, reside in this beautiful but challenging environment.

Research Interests

My major professional goal is developing and delivering experiential courses for undergraduate students with emphasis on field based techniques and natural history. As a wildlife biologist I work cooperatively with local and regional researchers, managers, conservationists and many others to design and implement strategies for wildlife conservation. My recent research is two pronged: 1) sagebrush ecosystems with emphasis on obligate and near-obligate bird species and 2) mammal population dynamics and ecology, with focus on red fox in the urban/rural interface and snowshoe hares in the sub-alpine forests. I have a continued interest in wetland ecology and waterfowl and other waterbirds. I have worked with numerous undergraduate students in diverse projects from macroinvertebrates to mammals. The emphasis of many of these projects is on habitat relationships and land management consequences to populations and communities. In cooperation with student interns and volunteers, I coordinate the Gunnison Sage-grouse Watchable Wildlife Program in conjunction with the non-profit organization, Sisk-a-dee. I also serve on the Strategic committee and the Predation sub-committee of the Gunnison Sage-grouse Working Group.

Research Projects

  • Small mammal composition and habitat preference in an anthropogenic montane wetland complex in the Gunnison Basin, Colorado. John Richards and Patrick Magee.
  • Bird communities in grazed and ungrazed montane wetlands in the Gunnison Basin. Ben Pritchett and Patrick Magee.
  • Chemical characteristics and aquatic macroinvertebrate diversity, abundance, and biomass in thermal backwaters and hyporheic zones of Tomichi Creek, Gunnison County. Brigid Heckel, Patrick Magee, and Anne Ryter.
  • Top-down verses bottom-up: aquatic macroinvertebrate population regulation in a Rocky Mountain wetland. Regan Tieff and Patrick Magee.
  • Reproductive ecology and microhabitat characteristics of nests of sora (Porzana carolina) and common snipe (Gallinago gallinago) in a high elevation montane floodplain wetland. Kristi Davies and Patrick Magee.
  • A classification of vegetation community succession for a montane floodplain in relation to nest site selection by the sora (Porzana carolina) and the common snipe (Gallinago gallinago). Wendy McDermott and Patrick Magee.
  • Effects of mowing on small mammal communities in arid sagebrush-steppe within the Gunnison Basin. Mike Thrift and Patrick Magee.
  • The effects of fire on small mammal communities in the sagebrush ecosystem in the Gunnison Basin, Colorado. John Waters and Patrick Magee.
  • Effect of wetland plants in the reduction of nitrogen and phosphorus in simulated run-off from feedlots. Eric Hoff, Evan Morgan, Dale Orth, Kevin Alexander and Patrick Magee.
  • Effects of mechanical treatments on avian nest success and depredation rates in the sagebrush ecosystem in the Gunnison Basin, Colorado. Jason Brooks and Patrick Magee.
  • Effects of predators on nest success of sagebrush birds in the Gunnison Basin, Colorado. Nick Hirsch and Patrick Magee.
  • Using automated listening stations to investigate factors influencing vocal intensity and to monitor nesting ecology of boreal owls (Aegolius funereus). Tyler Hicks and Patrick Magee.
  • A comparison of natural ejacualte characteristics and sperm morphometry between Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and Gunnison Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus minimus). Tyler Hicks, Jessica Young, Sara Olyer-McCance, and Patrick Magee.
  • Home range, movements, and habitat use of red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Gunnison, Colorado. Preston Alden and Patrick Magee.
  • Snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) population density in a subalpine forest ecosystem in the Southern Rocky Mountains, Colorado. Patrick Magee.
  • Determining presence or absence of Lynx canadensis in the Gunnison National Forest, Gothic, Colorado. Natalie Mesce and Patrick Magee.

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 130: Environmental Biology
  • BIOL 301: General Ecology
  • BIOL 302: Ecology Laboratory and Recitation
  • BIOL 320: Ornithology
  • BIOL 322: Mammalogy
  • BIOL 430: Wildlife Ecology and Management
  • BIOL 431: Wildlife Techniques Workshop
  • BIOL 444: Colorado Ecoregions

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