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, Page SM*, Dainson M*, Hauber ME, and D. Hanley.  2017.   Eggshells as hosts of bacterial communities: an experimental test of the antimicrobial egg coloration hypothesis.  Ecology and Evolution (In press)

Dearborn DC, Gager AB, McArthur AG, Gilmour ME, Mandzhukova E, and RA Mauck.  2016.  Gene duplication and divergence produce diverse MHC genotypes without disassortative mating.  Molecular Ecology 25:4355-4367.

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

Selected Mentored Theses

Conservation Impact Analysis: Advocating for Intersectional Approaches for Wildlife Conservation Efforts and Management Plans. Misha Copeland, Class of 2017.

Nutritional Deficits Do Not Affect Spatial Cognition in Leach’s Storm-Petrels (Oceanodroma leucorhoa).  Ryan Mahar, Class of 2017.

Identifying Diversity in the α2 Peptide Chain of the Major Histocompatibility Complex Class I in Leach’s Storm-Petrels (Oceanodroma leucorhoa).  Gabby Froehlich, Class of 2017.