David P. Benson, Ph.D.
Biology Department Chair
Professor of Biology
Science Director, Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab

(317) 955-6028
Marian Hall, Room 257

david benson


David Benson is a professor of biology and the science director for the Marian University Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab. He received his Ph.D. in 1999 from Washington State University doing research on White-tailed Ptarmigan in Glacier National Park, research he continues. Dr. Benson founded the EcoLab, our 70 acre natural and historic landscape on the Marian campus, in 2000.


  • Ph.D. Zoology, Washington State University,1999
  • B.A. Biology, Greenville College, 1994

Professional affiliations

  • Midwest-Great Lakes Chapter Society for Ecological Restoration International (2007-present): Founding Board Member (2007-2015)
  • Amos Butler Audubon (2000-present): President (2005-2008)
  • Indiana College Biology Teachers Association(2000-present): President (2007-2008)
  • Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society (2000-present) 
  • Indiana Academy of Science (1999-present)


  • BIO 202 Evolution and Ecology 
  • BIO 265 Geographic Information Systems
  • BIO 321 Conservation Biology and Law
  • BIO 328 Behavioral Ecology
  • BIO 363 Ornithology
  • BIO 463 Restoration Ecology
  • COL 111 Freshman Experience entitled: Outdoor Immersion

Research interests

  • White-tailed Ptarmigan distribution, behavior and density in Glacier National Park, MT
  • The effects of habitat restoration on Birds
  • Effectiveness of ecological restoration techniques


  • P. Smiley, D.P. Benson, J.A. Harrington. (In press) Discovering the roots of ecology and ecological restoration in the Midwest. in Ecological Restoration in the Midwest, P. Smiley and C. Lenhart Eds. University of Iowa Press.
  • D.P. Benson (2016) Glacier is for the Birds; A trail guide to the birds of Glacier National Park. Habitats for all Press, Indianapolis. 205 pp.
  • M.J. Abbott, B. Fultz, J. Wilson, J. Nicholson, M. Black, A. Thomas, A. Kot, M. Burrows, B. Schafer, D.P. Benson. (2013) Beaver-dredged Canals and their Spatial Relationship to Beaver-cut Stumps. Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Sciences 121: 91-96.
  • D. Benson, and M. Cummins. (2011) Move, Adapt, or Die: Lagopus leucura changes in Distribution, Habitat, and Number at Glacier N.P, MT. In R. T. Watson, T. J. Cade, M. Fuller, G. Hunt, and E. Potapov Eds. Gyrfalcons and Ptarmigan in a Changing World. The Peregrine Fund, Boise, Idaho, USA.
  • D.P. Benson, Atlas, R. Haberski, J. Higgs, P. Kiley, M. Maxwell Jr., W. Mirola, J. Norton. (2009) Teaching the broad, interdisciplinary impact of evolution. Bioscene 35: 53-57.
  • N.M Tuttle, D.P. Benson, D.W. Sparks. (2006) Diet of the Myotis sodalis (Indiana Bat) at an Urban/Rural Interface. Northeastern Naturalist 13: 435-442.
  • D.P. Benson, R. Bousum, D. Walls, and D. Sawchuk. (2005) The effects of honeysuckle removal on urban woodland vegetation (Indiana). Ecological Restoration 23: 124-125.
  • D.P. Benson. (2004) Jensen designed property as a case study of the long-term efficacy of ecological restoration. Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration Victoria, Canada pp. 24-26.
  • D.P. Benson. (2002) Low extra-pair paternity in White-tailed Ptarmigan. The Condor 104: 192-197.
  • Langin, K.M., Aldridge, C.L., Fike, J.A., Cornman, R.S., Martin, K., Wann, G.T., Seglund, A.E., Schroeder, M.A., Braun, C.E., Benson, D.P. and Fedy, B.C., 2018. Characterizing range-wide divergence in an alpine-endemic bird: a comparison of genetic and genomic approaches. Conservation Genetics, 19(6): 1471-1485.

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