Dr. Virginia Winder | Benedictine College

Dr. Virginia Winder

Dr. Virginia Winder

Position Title: Associate Professor
Department: Biology
Office: Westerman 211
Phone: (913) 360-7281
Contact Dr. Virginia Winder


I am a broadly trained biologist with specific interests in conservation ecology, ecotoxicology, and physiological ecology. I developed these foundational and intersectional interests as an undergraduate (Benedictine College, 2004) when I got the opportunity to be involved in and take ownership of the research process, doing mentored and paid summer research and publishing our work. My M.S. (College of Charleston, 2008) and Ph.D. (UNC Wilmington, 2012) work focused on ecotoxicology, physiology, behavior, and demography. My postdoc work (Kansas State University 2012-13) focused on anthropogenic drivers of population change. During my time at Benedictine College, I have continued to focus my research in areas that represent the interfaces of different aspects of Biology. I have worked on projects that addressed questions about, i) effects of wind energy development and burning and grazing practices on the conservation of wild and economically valuable game species, ii) mercury exposure in wetland songbirds under different water management regimes, iii) and long-term population recovery of Bald Eagles in Kansas. My most recent research includes teams of undergraduates working on grant- and donor-funded research projects involving, i) the translocation of pheasants to a mitigation site south of Atchison, and ii) pollinator diversity, habitat, and conservation. 

Classes

  • BIOL-1121 General Biology
  • BIOL-1107 Principles of Biology
  • BIOL-3305 Biological Statistics
  • BIOL-3346 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • BIOL-3354 Animal Behavior
  • BIOL-3380 Ornithology
  • BIOL-4482 Animal Physiology

Research

I believe teaching and research are most effective when performed in concert. So I am focusing my career around these two components of biology. I believe the undergraduate students at a liberal arts college, such as Benedictine, are ideal candidates for assisting in professional biological research. And I look forward to mentoring students in many research projects over the coming years.

I am interested in questions that address our influence on ecosystems and wildlife. I have begun a career for myself with research that focuses on conservation biology. A recurring theme in my research has been an interdisciplinary approach. I believe any question that is worth addressing from the viewpoint of one discipline is worth exploring under multiple contexts. My dissertation research relied heavily on toxicology, ecology, and physiology. I believe my results are stronger for having been examined in light of this suite of disciplines.

My Master’s thesis and undergraduate research projects were also multidisciplinary. I completed my M.S. at the College of Charleston at a NOAA facility. My thesis research investigated the effects of fluoxetine (the active ingredient in the prescription antidepressant Prozac) on sheepshead minnows. My research relied on analytical chemistry and laboratory experiments to address behavioral, physiological and toxicological hypotheses.

I plan to continue to incorporate multiple disciplines to address questions about how our activities may be affecting ecosystems and wildlife and what we can do to mitigate these effects. In particular, I tend to think in terms of the interplay between physiology and ecology within the realm of conservation. Environmental issues are part of the consciousness of the general public now more than ever before. I believe the issues I study are truly applicable and understandable by any person who takes the time to consider them.

The Benedictine Bottoms Mitigation Site will also provide me with ample opportunity to involve undergraduates in research. I am working to connect class projects and laboratories for courses such as Animal Physiology, Research Design and Analysis, Wildlife Biology, or Conservation Biology to real experiences in field or lab research projects. I have started a two-pronged approach to long-term research on bird biodiversity and demography on the Benedictine Bottoms. I set up an array of 50 nest boxes for Tree Swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, and Carolina Wrens. And I started mist netting and color banding Common Yellow throats and Dickcissels. Both projects will provide new data on demographic rates and influences of habitat management on these species. In addition, both projects have provided opportunities for undergraduates to get involved in hands-on field research as part of long-term ecological projects. My research addresses issues of conservation concern and public interest, including the effects of mitigation on biodiversity, anthropogenic contaminants on physiology, survival, and population viability, and monitoring of populations of concern for recreational use such as Northern Bobwhite and Ring-necked Pheasant. This type of field research framework could easily extend to projects of students’ individual interest such as avian physiology, toxicology, or behavior. The proximity of the Benedictine Bottoms field site to the BC campus and our cooperation with Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism provide nearly endless possibilities for incorporating students in active research.

I am currently collaborating with researchers at Kansas State University on two projects that are addressing questions about the effects of wind energy development and fire and grazing management techniques on Greater Prairie-Chicken populations in northcentral Kansas. We use radio telemetry to track hens and monitor their nests, broods, and individual survival. We will use this information to address questions about population level demographic rates and trends as well as individual and population level space use in response to different anthropogenic and environmental variables (e.g., distance to road, frequency of fire, grazing intensity, distance to wind turbine, etc.). These projects will help provide novel insights into the spatial and population ecology of a species of conservation and economic concern in our area.  Greater Prairie-Chickens have been identified as an umbrella species for tallgrass prairie ecosystems.  This means, in theory, that if we can provide good quality habitat and breeding conditions for this species, that those management efforts will also benefit other types of wildlife in tallgrass prairies. 

Another area of research I am incredibly interested in pursing deals with the area of high mercury availability I have documented near Grand Forks, ND. We do not yet know whether high availability of mercury in these ecosystems is a function of contamination load or a specific set of ecosystem characteristics. We also do not know whether these concentrations of mercury exposure are having a negative effect on wildlife within these ecosystems and how this could carry over into human populations who rely on and interact with these ecosystems. My research in North Dakota has drawn the attention of biologists from at least five state and federal agencies in that region. I am currently collaborating with this group to expand my research, addressing the issue of mercury contamination over broader spatial and taxonomic scales. We are currently pursing funding an expansion of my previous study. There will certainly be room for undergraduate participation in field and lab work and in analysis and writing in connection with this project, which we anticipate to be carried out over several years.

I plan to build on these research questions here at Benedictine College and enthusiastically pursue funding and collaborations to address them.

Peer-reviewed Publications (ResearcherID.com A-4614-2013)

Allison TD, Diffendorfer JE, Baerwald EF, Beston JA, Drake D, Hale A, Hein CD, Huso MM, Loss SR, Lovich JE, Strickland D, Williams K, Winder VL (2019) Impacts to wildlife of wind energy siting and operation in the United States. Issues in Ecology. In press, July 2019.

Walsh J, Benham PM, Deane-Coe PM, Arcese P, Butcher BG, Chan YL, Cheviron ZA, Elphick CS, Kovach AI, Olsen BJ, Shriver WG, Winder VL, Lovette IJ (2019) Genomics of rapid ecological divergence and parallel adaptation in songbirds. Evolution Letters 3:324–338.

Plumb, R, Lautenbach, J, Robinson, S, Haukos, D, Winder, V, Hagen, C, Sullins, D, Pitman, J, Dahlgren, D (2018) Lesser Prairie-Chicken Space Use in Relation to Anthropogenic Strucures. Journal of Wildlife Management 83:216−230.

Winder, VL, McNew, LB, Pitman, JC, and Sandercock BK. (2018) Effects of rangeland management on survival of female Greater Prairie-Chickens. Journal of Wildlife Management 82:113–122.

Walsh, J, Lovette, IJ, Winder, VL, Elphick, CS, Olsen, BJ, Shriver, WG, and Kovach, A. (2017) Subspecies delineation amid phenotypic, geographic, and genetic discordance in a songbird. Molecular Ecology doi: 10.1111/mec.14010.

Winder, VL, McNew, LB, Pitman, JC, and Sandercock BK. (2017) Space use of female Greater Prairie-Chickens in response to fire and grazing interactions. Rangeland Ecology & Management 70:165−174.

Winder, VL, Herse, MR, Hunt, LM, Gregory, AJ, McNew LB, and Sandercock, BK. (2016) Patterns of nest attendance by female Greater Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) in northcentral Kansas. Journal of Ornithology 157:733−745.

McNew, LB, Winder, VL, Pitman, JC, and Sandercock, BK. (2015) Alternative rangeland management strategies and the nesting ecology of Greater Prairie-Chickens. Rangeland Ecology Management 68:298−304.

Sandercock, BK, Alfaro-Barrios, M, Casey, AE, Jonson, TN, Mong, TW, Odom, KJ, Strum, KM, and Winder, VL. (2015) Effects of grazing and prescribed fire on resource selection and nest survival of Upland Sandpipers in an experimental landscape. Landscape Ecology 30:325−337.

Winder, VL, Carrlson, KM, Gregory, AJ, Hagen, CA, Haukos, DA, Kesler, DC, Larsson, LC, Matthews, TW, McNew, LB, Patten, MA, Pitman, JC, Powell, LA, Smith, JA, Thompson, T, Wolfe, DH, and Sandercock, BK. (2015) Factors affecting female space use in ten populations of prairie chickens. Submitted to Ecosphere 6:art166.

Winder, VL, Gregory, AJ, McNew, LB, and Sandercock, BK. (2015) Responses of male Greater Prairie-Chickens to wind energy development. Condor 117:284−296.

Winder VL, McNew LB, Gregory AJ, Hunt LM, Wisely SM, Sandercock BK. (2014) Effects of wind energy development on survival of Greater Prairie-Chickens. Journal of Applied Ecology 51:395-405.

Winder VL, McNew LB, Gregory AJ, Hunt LM, Sandercock BK. (2014) Space use by female Greater Prairie-Chickens in response to wind energy development. Ecosphere 5:art3.

Winder VL. (2012) Characterization of mercury and its risk in Nelson’s, Saltmarsh, and Seaside Sparrows. PLoS ONE 7:e44446.

Winder VL, Emslie SD. (2012). Mercury in Nelson’s Sparrow subspecies at breeding sites. PLoS ONE 7:e32257.

Winder VL, Michaelis AK, Emslie SD. (2012) Winter survivorship and site fidelity of coastal sparrows. Condor 114:421–429.

Winder VL, Michaelis AK, Emslie SD. (2012) Understanding associations between nitrogen and carbon isotopes and mercury in three Ammodramus sparrows. Science of the Total Environment 419: 54–59.

Winder VL, Emslie SD. (2012) Mercury in non-breeding sparrows of North Carolina salt marshes. Ecotoxicology 21: 325–335.

Winder VL, Pennington PL, Hurd MW, Wirth EF. (2012) Effects of fluoxetine on Sheepshead Minnow locomotor activity and neurotransmitter pathways. Journal of Environmental Science and Health (Part B) 47: 51–58.

Winder VL, Emslie SD. (2011) Mercury in breeding and wintering Nelson’s Sparrows (Ammodramus nelsoni). Ecotoxicology 20: 218–225.

Winder VL, Sapozhnikova Y, Pennington PL, Wirth EF. (2009) Effects of fluoxetine exposure on serotonin-related activity in the Sheepshead Minnow (Cyprinodon variegates) using LC/MS/MS detection and quantitation. Journal of Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology (Part C) 149: 559–565. 

DeLorenzo ME, Keller JM, Arthur CD, Finnegan MC, Harper HE, Winder VL, Zdankiewicz DL. (2008) Preliminary assessment of the antimicrobial compound triclosan to estuarine organisms. Environmental Toxicology 23: 224–232. 

Bowen DA, Simon MP, Davis JW, Cope TM, Cusumano ZT, Hellmer JC, Winder VL, Kafka S, Lidolph AM, Zielinski SE, James B, Runchey M, Hackmann T. (2004) A list of plants observed along the Lower Missouri River by the Lewis and Clark expedition 1804–1806.  Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 107: 55–68.

Other Publications

Sandercock, B.K., S.M. Wisely, L.B. McNew, A.J. Gregory, V.L. Winder, and L.M. Hunt. Environmental impacts of wind power development on the population biology of Greater Prairie-Chickens.  U.S. Department of Energy, Final Project Report for Award DOE/EE0000526. doi: 10.2172/1080446.

Paper Presentations

*Student co-author.

Winder, V, and Schukman, J. Effects of Fire Frequency and Invasive Species on Abundance of Grassland Birds in the Flint Hills– oral presentation at Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Manhattan, Kansas, February 2018.

*Schuetz, E., *Lang, K., *Rudolph, J., Malloy, T., and Winder, V. Comparative Study of the Lactic Acid Accumulation During Anoxic Conditions of Winter Environments in Red Eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta) and Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) – oral presentation at Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Manhattan, Kansas, February 2018.

*Wilcox, M.K., Ackerman, J., Anteau, M.J., Fisher, M.R., Igl. L.D., and Winder. V.L. Wetland Management and Mercury at Kellys Slough National Wildlife Refuge – oral presentation at Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Manhattan, Kansas, February 2018.

Schukman, J, and Winder V. Ecological thresholds and prospective management of priority grassland birds in eastern Kansas– oral presentation at Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Manhattan, Kansas, February 2018.

Sandercock, B, Nilsen, E., and Winder V. Seasonal variation in survival versus timing of harvest in eight populations of prairie chickens – oral presentation at Oikos Conference, Trondheim, Norway, February 2018.

Walsh, J, A.I. Kovach, V.L. Winder, W.G. Shriver, B.J. Olsen, C.S. Elphick, and I.J. Lovette. (June 2017) Genomics of parallel evolution: comparative divergence and adaptation across tidal marsh gradients. Evolution Conference, Portland, Oregon.

Winder, V.L., McNew L.B., and Sandercock, B.K. (January 2017) Linking survival of female Greater Prairie-Chickens to habitat selection and rangeland management – oral presentation at Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Wichita, Kansas.

*Schuetz, E., *Henness, T., *Lang, K, *Rudolph, J, Thompson, K., Malloy, T, and Winder V. (January 2017) Ecological Surveys of Mitigation at Benedictine and Elwood Wildlife Areas – poster presentation at Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Wichita, Kansas.

Walsh, J, A.I. Kovach, V.L. Winder, W.G. Shriver, B.J. Olsen, C.S. Elphick, and I.J. Lovette. (June 2016) Resolving the Saltmarsh-Nelson’s Sparrow subspecies complex using genome-wide SNP analysis. Presented at Evolution, Austin, Texas.

*Plumb, R.T., D.A. Haukos, and V.L. Winder. (July 2016) Lesser Prairie-Chicken Space Use Response to Anthropogenic Structures among Landscapes. Presented at North America Congress for Conservation Biology, Madison, Wisconsin.

Winder, V.L., L.B. McNew, and B.K. Sandercock. (January 2016) Responses of Greater Prairie-Chickens to patch-burn grazing on private lands. Presented at Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Wichita, Kansas.

Winder, V.L., K.M. Carrlson, A.J. Gregory, C.A. Hagen, D.A. Haukos, D.C. Kesler, L.C. Larsson, T.W. Matthews, L.B. McNew, M.A. Patten, J.C. Pitman, L.A. Powell, J.A. Smith, T. Thompson, D.H. Wolfe, and B.K. Sandercock. (September 2015) Factors affecting female space use in ten populations of prairie chickens. Presented at Prairie Grouse Technical Council (31st), Nevada, Missouri.

Winder, V.L., L.B. McNew, and B.K. Sandercock. (September 2015) Demographic and movement responses of Greater Prairie-Chickens to patch-burn grazing on private lands. Presented at Prairie Grouse Technical Council (31st), Nevada, Missouri.

Sandercock, B.K., A.J. Gregory, L.B. McNew, and V.L. Winder.  (September 2015) Effects of wind power and rangeland management on Greater Prairie-Chickens. Presented at International Grouse Symposium (13th), Reykjavik, Iceland.  

Herse, M.R.*, V.L. Winder, L.M. Hunt, A.J. Gregory, L.B. McNew, and B.K. Sandercock. (September 2015) Timing of incubation breaks and predation risk for nesting Greater Prairie-Chickens.  Poster at International Grouse Symposium (13th), Reykjavik, Iceland.

Collins, M.C.*, M. Miller*, J. Schmit*, T. Almquist, T. Malloy, and V.L. Winder. (January 2015) Examining small mammal populations in relation to seed dispersal mechanisms for invasive Japanese hops along the Missouri River flood plain. Poster at Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Wichita, Kansas.

Cook, N.*, T. Malloy, V.L. Winder, and T. Almquist. (January 2015) Seed dormancy and germination of Japanese hops (Humulus japonicus): a cold case. Poster at Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Wichita, Kansas.

Winder, V.L., L.B. McNew, and B.K. Sandercock. (January 2015) Demographic and movement responses of Greater Prairie-Chickens to patch-burn grazing on private lands. Presented at Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Wichita, Kansas.

Winder, V.L., L.B. McNew, and B.K. Sandercock. (September 2014) Demographic and movement responses of Greater Prairie-Chickens to patch-burn grazing on private lands. AOU/COS/SCO, Estes Park, Colorado.

Winder, V.L., B.K. Sandercock, C.A. Hagen, D.A. Haukos, D.C. Kesler, M.A. Patten, and L.A. Powell. (September 2014) Lek sites drive female resource use in ten populations of prairie chickens. AOU/COS/SCO, Estes Park, Colorado.

Winder, V.L., L.B. McNew, A.J. Gregory, L.M. Hunt, S.M. Wisely, and B.K. Sandercock. (January 2014) Quantifying Greater Prairie-Chicken spatial ecology in response to wind energy development in northcentral Kansas. Presented at Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Kansas City, Missouri.

Winder, V.L., L.B. McNew, A.J. Gregory, L.M. Hunt, S.M. Wisely, and B.K. Sandercock. (October 2013) Quantifying Greater Prairie-Chicken spatial ecology in response to wind energy development in northcentral Kansas. Presented at and Prairie Grouse Technical Council meeting, Crookston, Minnesota.

Sandercock, B.K., T.W. Mong, A.E. Casey, M. Alfaro, and V.L. Winder. (September 2013) Resource utilization by Upland Sandpipers in tallgrass prairie managed with prescribed fire and grazing. Presented at the 5th Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group Meeting, Santa Marta, Colombia.

Winder, V.L., L.B. McNew, A.J. Gregory, L.M. Hunt, S.M. Wisely, and B.K. Sandercock. (August 2013) Quantifying Greater Prairie-Chicken spatial ecology in response to wind energy development in northcentral Kansas. Presented at joint American Ornithologists’ Union and Cooper Ornithological Society meeting, Chicago, Illinois.

Sandercock, B.K., V.L. Winder, L.B. McNew, A.J. Gregory, and S.M. Wisely. (August 2013) Demographic effects of wind power on Greater Prairie-Chickens. Presented at joint American Ornithologists’ Union and Cooper Ornithological Society meeting, Chicago, Illinois.

Sandercock, B.K., A.J. Gregory, L.M. Hunt, L.B. McNew, V.L. Winder, and S.M. Wisely.  (February 2013) Effects of rangeland management and wind power on Greater Prairie-Chickens in eastern Kansas.  Presented at Society for Range Management (66th), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Winder VL, Erickson AN, McNew LB, Sandercock BK. (January 2013) Demographic and movement responses of Greater Prairie-chickens to patch-burn grazing on private lands. Presented at Kansas Natural Resource Conference in Wichita, Kansas.

Sandercock BK, Wisely S, McNew LB, Gregory A, Winder VL. (November 2012). Responses of Greater Prairie-chicken population to wind power development. Presented at Wind Wildlife Conference in Denver, Colorado.

Winder VL, Erickson AN, McNew LB, Sandercock BK. (Septemeber 2012) Demographic responses of Greater Prairie-chickens to patch-burn grazing on private lands. Presented at Kansas Ornithological Society Meeting in Winfield, Kansas.

Winder VL, Erickson AN, McNew LB, Sandercock BK. (August 2012) Demographic responses of Greater Prairie-chickens to patch-burn grazing on private lands. Presented at Patch-burn Grazing Working Group Conference in Elmdale, Kansas.

Winder VL, Emslie SD, Koopman H, van Tuinen M, Skrabal S, Williard A. (March 2012) Mercury exposure and winter ecology of Nelson’s, Seaside, and Saltmarsh Sparrows. Presented as invited speaker for Kansas State University Ecology and Evolutionary Biology seminar series in Manhattan, Kansas.

Winder VL, Emslie SD. (July 2011) Mercury in Nelson’s Sparrows (Ammodramus nelsoni) on breeding and non-breeding sites. Presented at the International Conference for Mercury as a Global Pollutant in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Winder VL, Emslie SD. (March 2011) Ecology of Nelson’s Seaside and Saltmarsh Sparrows and mercury (Hg) availability at breeding versus non-breeding sites. Presented at AFO/COS/WOS joint meeting in Kearney, Nebraska.

Winder VL, Wirth EF, Pennington PL, Hurd M, Meyer-Bernstein E. (March 2008) Effects of Fluoxetine on Sheepshead Minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus) Locomotor Activity. Presented at SEERS meeting, Charleston, South Carolina.

Winder VL, Wirth EF, Pennington PL, Hurd M, Meyer-Bernstein E. (April 2007) Fluoxetine in the Marine Environment: Effects on the sheepshead minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus) brain serotonin activity and locomotor behavior.  Presented at Joint Carolina and Southeast Chapters SETAC annual meeting in Athens, Georgia.

Winder VL, Wirth EF, Pennington PL, Hurd M, Meyer-Bernstein E. (February 2007) Fluoxetine in the Marine Environment: Effects on the sheepshead minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus) brain serotonin activity and locomotor behavior.  Presented at Grice Marine Lab Graduate Student Colloquium in Charleston, South Carolina.

Winder VL, Bosslet T, Brown M, Kraus E, Bowen DE, Simon MP. (April 2004) Bird Community Development Through 10 Years on the Benedictine Bottoms. Presented at Discovery Day, Benedictine College, and at the joint Kansas and Missouri Academies of Science Meetings in Atchison, Kansas.

Degrees

Doctor of Philosophy (2012)

  • Marine Biology
  • University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • Dissertation: Mercury Exposure and Winter Ecology of Nelson’s Seaside, and Saltmarsh Sparrows

Master of Science (2008)

  • Marine Biology
  • College of Charleston
  • Thesis: Fluoxetine in the Marine Environment: Effects on Sheepshead Minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus) Serotonin Activity and Locomotor Behavior

Bachelor of Science (2004)

  • Biology
  • Benedictine College
Location