Donald Dearborn – Evolution

Evolution, Behavior, and Conservation Biology

Dre and Emma Dearborn working in the field.

Dre and Emma Dearborn working in the field.

Great frigate male in flight.

Great frigate male in flight.

Professor Dearborn’s research asks why animals do the things they do, and how we can do a better job of mitigating our impacts on the natural world.  Recurring research themes include mate choice, parental investment strategies, population structure, and host-parasite evolution. Most of this work is with seabirds and songbirds.  Professor Dearborn uses a mix of lab methods (mainly genetics tools) and field methods.   For more information, see

Selected Publications

Dearborn DC, Gager AB, Gilmour ME, McArther AG, Hinerfeld DA, and Mauck RA. 2015. Non-neutral evolution and reciprocal monophyly of two expressed Mhc class II B genes in Leach’s storm-petrel. Immunogenetics 67:111-123.

Juola FA and Dearborn DC. 2012. Sequence-based evidence for major histocompatibility complex-disassortative mating in a colonial seabird. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 279:153-162.

Dearborn DC and Kark S. 2010. Motivations for conserving urban biodiversity. Conservation Biology 24:432-440.

Selected Mentored Theses

Agyare, Asant 2015. Phylogenetic analysis reveals failure to sort MHC Class II B Exon 2 alleles by locus in the Great Frigatebird, Fregata minor

Tilchin, Carla 2013. A comparative study of songbird serum effectiveness against the causative agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi

Wellens, Kaitlin 2011. Colony formation and nest preference in Galapagos Blue-footed Boobies, Sula nebouxii