David "Bo" Bunnell

Adjunct Associate Professor


PhD, Ohio State University (evolution, ecology, and organismal biology)

MS, Clemson University (fisheries biology)

BS, Centre College (biology)

(734) 214-9324


David “Bo” Bunnell has been a Research Fishery Biologist at the USGS Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan since 2004. Trained as an Aquatic Ecologist, I am most interested in trophic interactions occurring between fish and their prey. I am also interested in how these interactions are influence by anthropogenic stressors, such as nonindigenous species and climate change. Within the USGS Great Lakes Science Center, I am assigned to the Lake Michigan section, but am fortunate to have had the opportunity to collaborate on research questions across the Great Lakes basin.

  • Food-web interactions in the Great Lakes.  We seek to understand how reductions in nutrients and phytoplankton, coupled with changes in the zooplankton community and declining native benthic invertebrates affect fish production, with a focus on larval fish dynamics and describing fish physiological condition.  This research is supported by US EPA. 

  • Native fish restoration in the Great Lakes.  We seek to provide science support to restoration of coregonines (e.g., cisco, bloater, lake whitefish) by describing historical habitat and improved understanding of the linkages between genetics, morphology, and ecological function.  This research is supported by US EPA and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.  Co-PI: Dr. Yu-Chun Kao.

  • Global inland fisheries.  Many scientists have hypothesized that inland fisheries harvest is underreported given their dispersed distribution across the landscape and the putative high harvests in countries with limited infrastructure for reporting.  One possible consequence is limited negotiating power for inland fisheries when water resource allocation decisions are being made (i.e., fisheries vs. agriculture or hydropower).  We seek to use novel techniques to estimate inland yield from lakes, as well as to determine how climate and land use changes could affect inland fisheries harvest.  This research is supported by the USGS National Climate Adaptation Center.  Co-PI: Dr. Mark Rogers



Select publications: 
  • Bunnell, D. B., S. A. Pothoven, P. M. Armenio, L. Eaton, D. M. Warner, A. K. Elgin, L. E. Burlakova, and A. Y. Karatayev. 2019.  Spatiotemporal variability in energetic condition of alewife and round goby in Lake Michigan.  Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2018-0391

  • Eppehimer, D. E., D. B. Bunnell, P. M. Armenio, D. M. Warner, L. Eaton, D. J. Wells, and E. S. Rutherford.  2019.  Densities, diets, and growth rates of larval Alewife and Bloater in a changing Lake Michigan ecosystem.  Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 148: 755-770

  • Dai, Q., D. B. Bunnell, J. S. Diana, S. A. Pothoven, L. Eaton, T. P. O’Brien, and R. T. Kraus.  2019.  Energy content of rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) in lakes Huron and Erie increases with chlorophyll a.  Journal of Great Lakes Research  45: 830-839

  • Bunnell, D. B., H. J. Carrick, C.P. Madenjian, E. S. Rutherford, H. A. Vanderploeg, R. P. Barbiero, E. Hinchey-Malloy, S. A. Pothoven, C. M. Riseng, R. M. Claramunt, H. A. Bootsma, A. K. Elgin, M. D. Rowe, S. M. Thomas, B. A. Turschak, S. Czesny, K. L. Pangle, D. M. Warner, and G. J. Warren.  2018.  Are changes in lower trophic levels limiting the capacity of prey fish biomass in Lake Michigan?  Great Lakes Fishery Commission Special Publication 2018-01.

  • Kao, Y., M. W. Rogers, and D. B. Bunnell.  2017.  Evaluating stocking efficacy in an ecosystem undergoing oligotrophication.  Ecosystems 21: 600-618. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-017-0173-5

  • Deines, A. M., D. B. Bunnell, M. W. Rogers, D. H. Bennion, W. M. Woelmer, M. J. Sayers, A. G. Grimm, R. A. Shuchman, Z. B. Raymer, C. N. Brooks, J. G. Mychek-Londer, W. W. Taylor, and T. D. Beard Jr.  2017.  The contribution of lakes to global inland fisheries production.  Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 15: 293-298.

  • Bunnell, D. B., R. P. Barbiero, S. A. Ludsin, C. P. Madenjian, G. J. Warren, D. M. Dolan, T.O. Brenden, R. Briland, O.T. Gorman, J. X. He, T. H. Johengen, B. F. Lantry, T. F. Nalepa, S. C. Riley, C. M. Riseng, T. J. Treska, I. Tsehaye, M. G. Walsh, D. M. Warner, and B. C. Weidel. 2014. Changing ecosystem dynamics in the Laurentian Great Lakes: bottom-up and top-down regulation.  BioScience 64:26-39.

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