Corbin Kuntze

PhD Student


My principal research interests involve community ecology, predator-prey dynamics, and global change. I use a multi-disciplinary approach to answering key ecological questions at the intersection of applied and conceptual ecology. My master’s research studied behavioral interactions between raccoon and coyote, as well as spatial variation in the microbiome of coyotes across the state of Michigan. My current Ph.D. research with Dr. Zach Peery and Dr. Jonathan Pauli examines species interactions within a complex and rapidly changing landscape – focusing on fishers in the southern Sierra Nevada and woodrat-spotted owl dynamics in the central Sierra Nevada. For the former, I am exploring the demographic consequences of rapid environmental change on a federally endangered fisher subpopulation using a combination of field- and lab-based methods, including survival monitoring, stable isotope analyses, and high-resolution climate and habitat imagery. For the latter, I am studying how predator-prey interactions play out in heterogenous space between the California spotted owl and one of its primary prey species, the dusky-footed woodrat. Specifically, this work will address questions regarding: (1) the role of spatial heterogeneity in predator prey interactions – and how habitat composition and landscape configuration mediate woodrat survival and prey capture rates by spotted owls, (2) how habitat conditions at multiple spatial scales affect risk perception and antipredator behaviors by woodrats, and (3) how forest structure and spatial heterogeneity affect the density and distribution of woodrats across a complex landscape. Overall, this research will provide key insights with policy and resource management implications, as well as takeaways with broad applicability in both predator-prey ecology and conservation strategies worldwide.


M.Sc. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology  |  University of Michigan, 2017

B.A. Biology; Ecology & Conservation Biology  |  Boston University, 2014

Kuntze, C.C., J. N. Pauli, C. J. Zulla*, J. J. Keane, B. P. Dotters, K. N. Roberts, S. C. Sawyer, M. Z. Peery. In Review. Landscape heterogeneity provides co-benefits to predator and prey.

Kuntze, C.C., M. Z. Peery, R. E. Green, K. L. Purcell, J. N. Pauli. In Review. Sex and age mediate the effects of rapid environmental change for a forest carnivore.

Colborn, A.S., Kuntze, C.C., Gadsden, G.I. and Harris, N.C., 2020. Spatial variation in diet–microbe associations across populations of a generalist North American carnivore. Journal of Animal Ecology89(8), pp.1952-1960.

Kuntze, C., Harris, NC. In Review. Raccoons (Procyon lotor) become more crepuscular in response to coyotes (Canis latrans) in northern Michigan. PLoS ONE

Kuntze, C., Colborn, AS., Harris, NC.  Manuscript in preparation. Spatial variation in the diet and microbiome of Coyote, Canis latrans, across Michigan.