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James Munger, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Year arrived at BSU: 1988
Mailing Address:
Department of Biology
Boise State University
Boise, ID 83725-1515
E-Mail Address:


  • B.A., University of California, Davis, 1972. Psychology (biology minor).
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1976. Zoology.
  • Ph.D., University of Arizona, Tucson. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (under James H. Brown; Genetics minor), 1982.
  • NATO Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Zoology (with John Holmes), University of Alberta (1983-1984)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Departments of Zoology (with Warren Porter) and Wildlife Ecology (with William Karasov), University of Wisconsin (1984-1988)


I am interested in the physiological, population, and community ecology of vertebrates and (occasionally) invertebrates. My present foci are:

Conservation Biology of Spotted Frogs. An isolated candidate-status population of spotted frogs occurs in the Owyhee Mountains of southwestern Idaho. A project that started as a series of surveys conducted by BSU undergraduates for the BLM has evolved into a study of (i) the predictive value of National Wetland Inventory Classifications, (ii) movement of adults and population structure (the project of Janice Engle, BSU graduate student), and (iii) the effects of grazing (the project of Amy Howard, BSU graduate student), (iv) microhabitat and macrohabitat utilization (the project of Tim Carrigan of BLM and BSU graduate student), (v) dispersal of juveniles (the project of Hallie Lingo, BSU graduate student), (vi) genetic structure of populations (the project of Kim Coyle, BSU graduate student), and (vii) effects of water quality on immunocompetence (the project of Robert Voermans, BSU graduate student).

Conservation biology of desert reptiles. Two projects are completed and a third is underway: (i) a study of the effects of off road vehicles on three snake species: long-nosed snakes, western ground snakes, and night snakes (field work by BSU undergraduates Bruce Barnett and Aaron Ames), (ii) habitat use of collared lizards (the project of Von Pope, BSU graduate student), and (iii) genetic structure of populations (the project of Kim Coyle).

Harvester Ant Population Biology. With the help of several BSU undergraduates, I have explored the importance of physical factors (such as temperature and soil moisture) in determining the microhabitat-level placement of harvester ant colonies and have examined how such effects might extrapolate to a macrohabitat-level determination of colony density. I next will examine the long-term interactions of harvester ants and sagebrush plants, and will assess dispersal of queens by determining the genetic structure of the population.

A long-time interest is the effects of parasites on host populations and energetics. Kristin Ross (BSU graduate student) has begun a project on the effects of Mexican chickenbugs on host Prairie Falcons with myself and Dr. Ian Robertson as co-advisors.

I’m always glad to include hard working, independent, and highly motivated undergraduates in my research. Students interested in participating in a research project (such as one of those listed above) should contact me or one of my graduate students.


Anderson, K. and J. Munger. 2003. Effect of temperature on brood relocation in Pogonomyrmex salinus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Western North American Naturalist 63:122-128

M. D. Oleyar, C. D. Marti, M. Bechard, and J. C. Munger. 2001. Flammulated owl reproduction in relation to human activities in aspen forests of northern Utah. Wilson Bulletin.

Bars, D. R., F. Heyrend, C. Simpson, and J. C. Munger. 2000. Use of Visual Evoked-Potential Studies and EEG Data to classify aggressive explosive behavior of youths. Psychiatric Services 51:81-86

Sutter, J., J. Munger, and D. Hengel. 1999. Sorex monticolus in shrub steppe habitat in the northern Great Basin. Great Basin Naturalist 59:102-104.

Heyrend, F. L., D. Bars, C. Simpson, J. Munger, Z. Nelson, and J. Burns. 1998. Pattern reversal, visual evoked potentials, and explosive behaviors. In I. Hashimoto & R. Kakigi (Eds.), Recent Advances in Human Neurophysiology (pp. 533-539). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science BV.

Kaltenecker, G., K. Steenhof, M. Bechard, and J. Munger. 1998. Winter foraging ecology of bald eagles on a regulated river in southwest Idaho. J. Raptor Research 32:215-220

Munger, J., M. Gerber, K. Madrid, M. Carroll, W. Petersen, and L. Heberger. 1998. Using National Wetland Inventory Classifications to Predict Amphibian Occurrence: Spotted Frogs (Rana pretiosa) and Pacific Treefrogs (Pseudacris regilla). Conservation Biology 12:320-330

Munger, J. and T. Slichter. 1995. Whipworm (Trichuris dipodomys) infection in kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spp.): effects on digestive efficiency. Great Basin Naturalist 55:74-7

Porter, W., J. Munger, and J. Jaeger. 1994. A biophysical model of endotherm metabolic expenditure: the model and tests. Australian Journal of Zoology 42:125-162

Munger, J. and W. Karasov. 1994. Costs of bot fly infection in white-footed mice: energy and mass flow. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 72: 166-173

Munger, J. 1992. Colony fitness of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex desertorum: effect of predation and food limitation. Oecologia 90: 276-282.

Munger, J. and W. Karasov. 1991. Sublethal parasites of white-footed mice: effects on survival and reproduction. Canadian Journal of Zoology 69: 398-404.

Munger, J. and W. Karasov. 1989. Sublethal parasites and host energy budgets: tapeworm infection in white-footed mice. Ecology 70: 904-921.

Brown, J. and J. Munger. 1985. Experimental manipulation of desert rodent communities: food addition and species removal. Ecology 66: 1545-1563.

Munger, J. 1984. Optimal foraging?: patch use by horned lizards (Iguanidae:Phrynosoma). American Naturalist 123: 654-680.

Munger, J. 1984. Long-term yield from harvester ant colonies: implications for horned lizard foraging strategy. Ecology 65:1077-1086.

Munger, J. 1984. Home ranges of horned lizards: circumscribed and exclusive? Oecologia (Berlin) 62: 351-360.

Munger, J. and J. Brown. 1981. Competition in desert rodents: an experiment using semipermeable exclosures. Science 211: 510-512.