This faculty member is currently on leave. Please contact the Dean of Faculty's Office at 207-786-6067 if you need further assistance.

Donald C. Dearborn

Professor of Biology



Carnegie Science Hall, Room 315


Chair of Biology

Evolution, Behavior, and Conservation Biology

My 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. Combining lab work with fieldwork on remote islands, he explores how evolution and human activity shape the genetics and behavior of animals, sometimes conveniently intersecting with his love of trail running and mountain adventures.. Recurring research themes include mate choice, parental investment strategies, population structure, and host-parasite evolution. Most of this work is with seabirds and songbirds.  I uses a mix of lab methods (mainly genetics tools) and field methods.

My current lineup of courses at Bates includes: Avian Biology,  Genetics of Conservation Biology (BIES 333), Evolution and Interactions of Life (BIO 206), a Host-Parasite Evolution version of BIO 195, Biological Research Experience: Molecules to Ecosystems (BIO 204), and Advanced Topics in Evolution (BIO 355).

Selected Publications

Rand L*, Woodward C*, May R*, Ackerman RA*, Tweedie B*, Zicarelli TB*, Dearborn DC. 2019.  Divergence between genes but limited allelic polymorphism in two MHC class II A genes in Leach’s storm-petrels Oceanodroma leucorhoa.  Immunogenetics 71:561-573.

Tonelli B* and Dearborn DC. 2019.  An individual-based model for the dispersal of Ixodes scapularis by ovenbirds and wood thrushes during fall migration.  Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases 10:1096-1104.

Mauck RA, Dearborn DC, and Huntington CE.  2018.  Annual Global Mean Temperature explains reproductive success in a marine vertebrate from 1955-2010.  Global Change Biology 24:1599-1613.

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

* = Bates student