Michael F. Antolin

Michael F. AntolinChair and Professor
Office: 430 Biology
Phone: 970-491-7011
Education: BA: University of Pennsylvania; MSc: University of Alberta, Canada; PhD: Florida State University
Email: michael.antolin@colostate.edu

My laboratory group focuses on the effects of patchy or fragmented habitats on the population genetics of animals and plants. Most of my work has been on the genetics of sex ratio, life-history variation, and mating systems of parasitic wasps. For the last 18 years we have conducted studies of the population ecology, genetics, and epidemiology of the Black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus), whose populations are severely affected by local outbreaks of plague (Yersinia pestis). Besides studying metapopulation dynamics of prairie dogs, we study plague in the context of climate variability and the rodent communities surrounding prairie dog colonies, transmission of the plague bacterium by fleas, and genetic analyses of the plague bacterium.  Our study sites have been on the the USDA Central Plains Experimental Range and on the US Forest Service Pawnee National Grasslands, located 40 miles northeast of Fort Collins, and on the Vermejo Ranch, owned by Turner Enterprises, in northern New Mexico.   Recently we have been working with a large interdisciplinary group of researchers on the NSF-funded Laramie Foothills Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Project.  CWD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy caused by misfolding of prions, or proteins of infectious origin.  This same protein is naturally expressed in all vertebrates, the misfolded form is the prion, and causes disease like scapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy ("mad cow disease"), and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans (e.g. the infamous kuru of the South Fore tribe of New Guinea).  We study the genetics of CWD in mule deer in relation to spatial epidemiology and genetics http://www.nrel.colostate.edu/projects/modelingCWD/.   In our studies we employ a variety of molecular genetic markers, including microsatellites, mitochondrial DNA, SSCP, and DNA sequencing.

Selected Publications

St. Romain, K., D.W. Tripp, D.J. Salkeld, and M.F. Antolin.  2013.  Duration of plague (Yersinia pestis) outbreaks in Black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies of northern Colorado.  EcoHealth 10: 241-245.

Lowell, J.L, M.F. Antolin, G. Andersen, P. Hu, R.P. Stokowski, and K.L. Gage.  2015.  Single nucleotide polymorphisms reveal spatial diversity among clones of Yersinia pestis during plague outbreaks in Colorado and the western United States.  Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 15: 291-302.

Bayard de Volo, S., R.T. Reynolds, R.T., S.A. Sonsthagen, S.L. Talbot and M.F. Antolin.  2013.  Phylogeography, post-glacial gene flow and population history of North American Goshawks (Accipiter gentilis).  The Auk, 130:342-354.

Antolin, M.F., K.P. Jenkins, C.T. Bergstrom, B.J. Crespi, S. De, A. Hancock, K.A. Hanley, T.R. Meagher, A. Moreno-Estrada, R.M. Nesse, G.S. Omenn, S.C. Stearns.  2012.  Evolution and medicine in undergraduate education: a prescription for all biology students. Evolution 66: 1991–2006.

Jenkins, K.P., and M.F. Antolin.  2011. Evolution and medicine.  Evolution: Education and Outreach 4: 556-558.

Antolin, M.F.  2011.  Evolution, medicine, and the Darwin family.  Evolution: Education and Outreach 4: 613-623.

Savage, L.T., R. M. Reich, L.M. Hartley, P. Stapp, M.F. Antolin.  2011. Climate, soils and connectivity predict plague epizootics in Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus).  Ecological Applications 21: 2933–2943

Tavener, S.J., M. Mikucki, S.G. Field, and M.F. Antolin.  2011.  Transient sensitivity analysis for nonlinear population models.  Methods in Ecology and Evolution 2: 560–575.

Tripp, D.W., K.L. Gage, K.L., J.A. Montenieri, J.A., & M.F. Antolin.   2009.  Flea abundance on Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) increases during plague epizootics.  J. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 9: 313-321.

Antolin, M.F. 2008. Unpacking β: Within-host dynamics and evolutionary ecology of pathogen transmission. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Systemat. 39: 415-437.

Wilder, A.P., R.J. Eisen, S.W. Bearden, J.A. Montenieri, D.W. Tripp, R.J. Brinkerhoff, K.L. Gage, and M.F. Antolin. 2008. Transmission efficiency of two flea species (Oropsylla tuberculata cynomuris and Oropsylla hirsuta) involved in plague epizootics among prairie dogs. EcoHealth 5: 205-212.

Antolin, M.F., T.A. Bjorksten, and T. T. Vaughn. 2006. Host-related fitness trade-offs in a presumed generalist parasitoid, Diaeretiella rapae (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae). Ecological Entomology 31: 242-254.

Eisen, R.J., S.W. Bearden, A.P. Wilder, J.A. Montenieri, M.F. Antolin, and K.L. Gage. 2006. Early-phase transmission of Yersinia pestis by unblocked fleas as a mechanism explaining rapidly spreading plague epizootics. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 103: 15380-15385.

Webb, C.T., C.P. Brooks, K.L. Gage, and M.F. Antolin. 2006. Classic flea-borne transmission does not drive plague epizootics in prairie dogs. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 103: 6236-6241.

Stapp, P., M.F. Antolin, and M. Ball. 2004. Patterns of extinction in prairie dog metapopulations: plague outbreaks follow El Niño events. Front. Ecol. Environ 2: 235-240.

Baer, C.F., D.W.Tripp, T.A. Bjorksten, and M. F. Antolin. 2004. Phylogeography of a parasitoid wasp (Diaeretiella rapae): no evidence of host-associated lineages. Molecular Ecology 13: 1859-1869.

Black, W.C. IV, C.F. Baer, M.F. Antolin, and N.M. DuTeau. 2001. Population Genomics: Genome-wide Sampling of Insect Populations. Annual. Review of Entomology 46: 441-469.

Antolin, M.F. and J. H. Herbers. 2001. Perspective: Evolution's struggle for existence in America's public schools. Evolution 55: 2379-2388.