Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
Home | Intranet | Digital Measures | Help

Dr. Shawn McKinney

Assistant Unit Leader-Wildlife, Shawn McKinney, conducting whitebark pine community research in Yellowstone NP.


  • Ph D University of Montana 2007
  • MS University of Colorado - Denver 2004
  • BA University of Colorado - Boulder 1996


I joined the Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit in 2012, where I am the Assistant Unit Leader-Wildlife and Assistant Professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology at the University of Maine. Before coming to the Maine CRU, I was an Ecologist with the National Park Service Sierra Nevada Inventory and Monitoring Network in California, and before that, I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Montana in Missoula.

Research Interests

I am a terrestrial community ecologist by training, and I’ve worked in a broad diversity of ecosystems from grasslands up to the alpine. Most of my research, however, has taken place in forest systems. In general, I am motivated to understand how habitat context shapes the strength of interspecific interactions, and how species relationships in turn influence the trajectory of community structure and composition. I am particularly interested in identifying how anthropogenic change to primary producers influences higher-level species interactions. I believe that this information has broad applicability, and can be used to develop scientifically sound management plans, and conservation and recovery strategies for sensitive, threatened, and endangered species.

Teaching Interests

I like to combine multiple teaching strategies within a given course and have incorporated lecture, lab, and field aspects into courses ranging from General Biology to Research in Ecology. I currently lead a graduate seminar entitled "Bayesian Study and Methods" and will teach a graduate course entitled "Advanced Topics in Ecology" each fall semester.

Research Publications

  • Fiedler, C. E., and S. T. McKinney. Forest structure, health, and mortality in two Rocky Mountain whitebark pine ecosystems: Implications for restoration. Download  | 
  • Stucki, D.S., S.T. McKinney, and J.C.B. Nesmith. 2012. Sierra Nevada Network White Pine Community Dynamics Annual Monitoring Report. Natural Resource Data Series NPS/SIEN/NRDS––2012/405. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado. Download  | 
  • Keane, Robert E.; Tomback, D.F.; Aubry, C.A.; Bower, A.D.; Campbell, E.M.; Cripps, C.L.; Jenkins, M.B.; Mahalovich, M.F.; Manning, M.; McKinney, S.T.; Murray, M.P.; Perkins, D.L.; Reinhart, D.P.; Ryan, C.; Schoettle, A.W.; Smith, C.M. 2012. A range-wide restoration strategy for whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis). Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-279. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 108 p. Download  |  Publisher Website | 
  • See All ...

Current Projects

Completed Projects


  • Ecology, Evolution, and Complex Systems (2013)
  • Bayesian Study and Methods (2013)
  • Ecology, Evolution, and Complex Systems (2013)

Technical Publications

  • McKinney, S. T., and T. J. Rodhouse. 2011. Monitoring white pine in national parks. Nutcracker Notes 21:15-17.
  • Fiedler, C. E., and S. T. McKinney. 2011. Effects of blister rust in two whitebark pine ecosystems: implications for restoration. Nutcracker Notes 20:14-15.
  • McKinney, S. T. 2008. Trapping Clark’s Nutcrackers and locating nests. Nutcracker Notes 14:10-11.
  • See All ...

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 3

Masters Students: 7

Phd Students: 8

Post Docs: 0

University Staff: 7

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 26

Scientific Publications: 58

Presentations: 200


Contact Information

Tel: (207) 581 - 2915

Current Students

Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
  2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  3. U.S. Geological Survey
  4. University of Maine
  5. Wildlife Management Institute