David Carlon


2013- pres. Director, Coastal Studies Center, Bowdoin College
2013 – pres. Associate Professor, Bowdoin College
2008 – 2013 Associate Professor of Biology, University of Hawaii at Manoa
2003- 08 Assistant Professor of Zoology, University of Hawaii at Manoa
2003 Assistant Professor, Florida International University, Declined
2003 Adjunct Professor, Las Positas College, Livermore, CA
2001- 03 Postdoctoral Associate, University of California, Davis
1999- 01 Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Southern California
1997- 99 NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of California, Davis
1996- 97 Postdoctoral Associate, University of California, Riverside


1995 Ph.D. Zoology, University of New Hampshire
1991 M.S. Biology, University of Massachusetts at Boston
1987 B.A. Biology/BUMP Program, Boston University



  • 2015-17 NSF, Division of Biological Infrastructure $214,361. DBI 15-22545: RUI: Experimental seawater laboratory at the Coastal Studies Center, Bowdoin College. PI: D. Carlon, Co-PI: M. Lavigne
  • 2016 Maine Sea Grant College. $3000 Development Grant to support the 45th Benthic Ecology Society Meeting. PI: D. Carlon, Co-PI: Steve Allen.


  • 2009-10 NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Grant NA09NMF4630123 $46,000. How many have been lost? Using Ancient DNA to develop baselines for coral reef conservation and management. PI: R. Toonen, Co-PIs: D. Carlon and T. Hunt.
  • 2006-10 NSF Division of Environmental Biology $570,319. DEB 05-43661: A multidisciplinary approach to species boundaries in tropical reef corals. PI: D. Carlon, Co-PI: A. F. Budd.
  • 2006-07 NOAA-CSCOR Hawaiian Coral Reef Initiative Research Program $74,000. Of urchins and parrot fish: sources and sinks of keystone herbivores on Hawaiian reefs (PI: D. Carlon)
  • 2005-06 NOAA-CSCOR Hawaiian Coral Reef Initiative Research Program $77,125. Sources and sinks of a keystone herbivore on Hawaiian coral reefs (PI: D. Carlon)
  • 2005-06 Hawaii Sea Grant College $9,000. Developing microsatellite loci for a keystone herbivore on Hawaiian coral reefs: the parrotfish Scarus rubroviolaceus (PI: D. Carlon)
  • 2003-04 National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration $18,800. The ecology of speciation in a neotropical coral (PI: D. Carlon)
  • 1999-00 University Research Expeditions Program, University of California $7000 Conservation of genetic diversity on coral reefs (PI: D. Carlon)
  • 1994 PADI Foundation $4500. Spatial patterns in coral recruitment on Guana Island
  • 1993 American Museum of Natural History, Lerner Grey Foundation. $2000.


  • 1999-01 Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies Postdoctoral fellowship $85,000. Mating system evolution in temperate anemones.
  • 1997-99 National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Bioscences Related to the Environment $80,000. The adaptive value of fusion in a Caribbean reef coral


  • 2012 University Research Council Faculty Travel Grant to present a paper at the 1st Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology, Ottawa, Ontario $1,500
  • 2011 College of Natural Science Grant to develop EST libraries for tropical parrotfish using next generation sequencing. $28,000
  • 2011 University Research Council Faculty Travel Grant to present a paper at the Colloquium: A new chapter for marine time series in tropical America, Bocas del Toro, Panama $1,800
  • 2010 University Research Council Faculty Travel Grant to present paper at the 39th Benthic Ecology Meeting, Wilmington, NC $2,000
  • 2008 University Research Council Faculty Travel Grant to present paper at the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, Fort Lauderdale, FL $2,000.
  • 2005 University Research Council Faculty Travel Grant to present paper at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution, Fairbanks, AK $3,000.
  • 2004 University Research Council Faculty Travel Grant to present invited paper at 10th International Coral Reef Symposium, Okinawa, Japan $3,000.
  • 1994-95 University of New Hampshire, Dissertation Fellowship $12,000.


(undergraduate students underlined)

In preparation

Carlon, D. B., A. J. Laruson, C. Lippe, and H. Lessios. Unmaking a pantropical ring: the role of hard and soft barriers in forging new species in the sea urchin genus Tripneustes. (for Molecular Ecology).

Kingston S.E., Martino P., Watling J., Melendy M., Carlon D. B. Genotype and phenotype in a changing ocean, how much is standing genetic variation influencing mussel populations’ reaction to ocean acidification? (for Evolutionary Applications)

Carlon, D. B., J. Mitchell and A. Faucci. DNA barcoding reveals Inter-annual variation in tropical ichthyoplankton assemblages is driven by ENSO (for Marine Ecology Progress Series)

Carlon, D. B. and D. D. Kapan. Is speciation ecological? Application of a life table response experiment to fitness trade-offs between two new coral species. (for American Naturalist).


Longenecker, K., Y. L. Chan, R. J. Toonen, D. B. Carlon, T. L. Hunt, A. M. Friedlander, and E. E. Demartini. 2014. Archaeological evidence of validity of fish populations on unexploited Reefs as Proxy Targets for Modern Populations. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12287

Baums, I. B., L. Scott Godwin, E. C. Franklin, D. B. Carlon, and R. J. Toonen. 2014. Discordant population expansions in four species of coral-associated Pacific hermit crabs (Anomura: Diogenidae) linked to habitat availability resulting from sea-level change. Journal of Biogeography 41: 339-352.

Halbert, K. M., E. Goetze, and D. B. Carlon. 2013. High Cryptic Diversity across the Global Range of the Migratory Planktonic Copepods Pleuromamma piseki and P. gracilis. PLoS One 8: e77011.

Schwartz, S., Budd, A. F., and D. B. Carlon. 2012. Molecules and fossils reveal punctuated diversification in Caribbean “faviid” corals. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 12:123 doi:10.1186/1471-2148-12-123 (Highly Accessed).

Carlon, D. B., Budd, A. F., Lippé, C., and R. L. Andrew. 2011. The quantitative genetics of incipient speciation: heritability and genetic correlations of skeletal traits in populations of diverging Favia fragum ecomorphs. Evolution 65: 3428-3447.

Tice K. and Carlon, D. B. 2011. Can AFLP genome scans detect small islands of differentiation? The case of shell sculpture variation in the periwinkle Echinolittorina hawaiiensis. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24: 1814-1825.

Carlon, D. B. and C. Lippé. 2011. Estimation of the mating systems of the Tall and Short ecomorph of the coral Favia fragum. Molecular Ecology 20: 812-848

Fitzpatrick, J., Carlon, D. B., Lippé, C., and D. R. Robertson. 2011. The West Pacific diversity hotspot as a source or sink for new species? Population genetic insights from the Indo-Pacific parrotfish Scarus rubroviolaceus. Molecular Ecology 20: 219-234.

VanderWerf, E. A, Young, L. C., Yeung, N. W., and D. B. Carlon. 2009. Stepping stone speciation in Hawaii’s flycatchers: Molecular divergence supports new island endemics within the ‘elepaio. Conservation Genetics 11: 1283-1298

Yeung, N. W., Carlon, D. B., and S. Conant. 2009. Testing subspecies hypothesis with molecular markers and morphometrics in the Pacific white tern complex. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 98: 586–595.

Carlon, D. B. and C. Lippé. 2008. Fifteen new microsatellite markers for the reef coral Favia fragum and a new Symbiodinium microsatellite. Molecular Ecology Notes 8: 870-873.

Carlon, D. B. and C. Lippé. 2007. Eleven new microsatellite markers for the tropical sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla and cross-amplification in Tripneustes ventricosa. Molecular Ecology Notes 7: 1002-1004.

Carlon, D. B. and C. Lippé. 2007. Isolation and characterization of 17 new microsatellite markers for the Ember parrotfish (Scarus rubroviolaceus), and cross-amplification in four other parrotfish species. Molecular Ecology Notes 7: 613-616.

Crohn, D. M., Ruud, N. C, Decruyenaere, J. G., and D. B. Carlon. 2005. Goodness-of-fit test for modeling tracer breakthrough curves in wetlands. Journal of Environmental Engineering 131: 242-251.

Edmunds, P. J., Bruno, J. F., and D. B. Carlon. 2004. Effects of depth and microhabitat on growth and survivorship of juvenile corals in the Florida Keys. Marine Ecology Progress Series 278: 115-124.

Carlon, D. B. and A. F. Budd. 2002. Incipient speciation across a depth gradient in a scleractinian coral? Evolution 56: 2227–2242.

Carlon, D. B. 2002. Production and supply of larvae as determinants of zonation in a brooding tropical coral. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 268: 33-46.

Carlon, D. B. 2001. Depth-related patterns of coral recruitment and cryptic suspension-feeding invertebrates on Guana Island, British Virgin Islands. Bulletin of Marine Science 68: 525-541.

Carlon, D. B. 1999. The evolution of mating systems in tropical reef corals. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 14: 491-495.

Carlon, D. B. 1996. Calcification rates in corals. Science 274: 117.

Carlon, D.B. and J.P. Ebersole. 1995. Life history variation among three temperate hermit crabs: the importance of size in reproductive strategies. Biological Bulletin 188: 329-337.

Carlon, D.B. and R.R. Olson. 1993. Short distance dispersal as an explanation of spatial pattern in two Caribbean reef corals. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 173: 247-263.

Olson, R. and D. Carlon. 1993. Dispersal of Caribbean coral larvae. National Geographic Research and Exploration 9: 379-380.


1987  Marine Biology Laboratory, Woods Hole

1989-91  University of Massachusetts Field Station, Nantucket Island

1991  NOAA NURP Laboratory, Key Largo, Florida

1992-95  Guana Island Wildlife Sanctuary, British Virgin Islands

1992  Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory, Jamaica

1992  Newfoundland, research diving

1992-95  Gulf of Maine, research diving

1995  Aquarius Mission off Key Largo, Florida, Co-PI and Aquanaut

1992-95  St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands, research diving

1997-98  San Blas Field Station, Panama, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

1999-pres. Bocas del Toro Field Station, Panama, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

1999 Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas

1999-01 Wrigley Institute for Environmental Sciences, Santa Catalina Island

2002  Great Barrier Reef, Australia

2004-pres. Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, Coconut Island

2004-pres. Kewalo Marine Laboratory, Honolulu

2008 Florida Keys, research diving

2010 Coral Bay Research Station, Murdoch University, Western Australia

2010 Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia, research diving

2010 Rottnest Island, Western Australia, research diving

2010-11  Friday Harbor Laboratories, Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center Scholar


At Bowdoin College

BIOL 2232 Benthic Ecology – A course module in the Bowdoin Marine Science Semster, offered every Fall. An introduction to the ecological processes that control the abundance and distribution of benthic organisms. Field work is based in the Gulf of Maine and Gulf of California.

BIOL 1090 Understanding Climate Change – A non-majors course (INS) designed to improve comprehension of the scientific, political, and social issues surrounding global warming. Offered in the Spring.

University of Hawaii

ZOOL 487/719 Molecular Ecology. Introduction to the concepts and techniques of applying DNA sequence variation to understand ecological problems. Discussion and Lab. Taught at the senior undergraduate/graduate student level. I designed the complete course.

BIOL 404 Advanced Topics in Marine Biology. Senior capstone course for marine biology majors stressing critical thinking, writing, and oral communication.

BIOL 301/301L Marine Ecology and Evolution. Complimentary lecture and lab course for marine biology majors. I designed the complete course.

Occasional courses at the University of Hawaii:

BIOL 375 Concepts of genetics. Team taught. I lecture on statistics, population, quantitative, and evolutionary genetics. Fall semester, 2010 & 2012

ZOOL 719 The Evolutionary Ecology of Adaptive Radiation. Graduate seminar featuring Dolph Schluter’s text of the same name, and Jerry Coyne and Allen Orr’s “Speciation.” Spring semester, 2005

ZOOL 619 Advanced Topics in Evolutionary Biology

Community college

ZOOL 1 & 1L Introductory Zoology. Lecture and lab course at Las Positas Community College. Spring, 2005

Field courses

Conservation Biology of Coral Reefs. Field course offered through H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, Tortola, and taught among the British Virgin Islands. Summer, 1994

200N Coastal Ecology. Field course offered through the University of Massachusetts and taught on Nantucket Island, MA. Summer,1990-91

Teaching Assistant

University of New Hampshire: Biological Oceanography, Ecology, Animal Behavior, Anatomy and Physiology. University of Massachusetts: Introductory Biology, Biology for Non-majors.


1994 Outstanding Contributions and Achievements Award, University of New Hampshire, Department of Zoology.

1993 Outstanding Teaching Award, University of New Hampshire, Department of Zoology.

1991 Outstanding Achievement Award, University of Massachusetts, Department of Biology.


“Two marine hybrid zones and their evolutionary applications” Center for Population Biology Seminar Series, University of California, Davis, March 29, 2016.

“Finding climate change genes in a blue mussel hybrid zone” Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory, Bodega Bay, CA, March 28, 2016.

“Marine speciation on a small planet revisited” Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama, Earl Tupper Seminar Series, May 26, 2015

“Climate change meets quantitative genetics – using genomic technology to map the targets of natural selection.” Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama, Naos Marine Laboratory Seminar Series, May 27, 2015

“Towards a mechanistic understanding of adaptive radiation in corals: Fossils, molecules, and ecological speciation” Colloquium- A new Chapter for Marine Time Series in Tropical America, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Bocas del Toro, Republic of Panama, September 2011.


*presenter, students underlined, oral presentation unless noted.

Voss, E, and *D. B. Carlon. When genomes collide – dynamics of hybridization after a green crab double invasion. Poster – Benthic Ecology Meeting, March 17, 2016, Portland, Maine.

*Carlon, D. B., Budd, A., and R. Thomson. Is the tropical Atlantic an evolutionary hotspot for coral evolution? timing and diversification of the coral subfamilies Mussinae and Faviinae, Geological Society of America, Nov. 1-4, 2015, Baltimore, Maryland.

*Short, A., Masland, D., and D. B. Carlon. (Poster) A molecular analysis of green crab diets in Casco Bay, Maine. Benthic Ecology Meeting, March 4-7, 2015, Quebec City.

Kingston, S., Watling, J, Eisenberg, B, and *D. B. Carlon. Genotype and phenotype in a changing ocean: can standing genetic variation in stress responses rescue mussel populations from climate change? Benthic Ecology Meeting, March 4-7, 2015, Quebec City.

*Carlon, D. B, Choat, J. H., Clements, K., and D. R. Robertson. Shaking the parrotfish tree: hybridization in a peripheral environment produces phenotypic novelty. Evolution 2014, June 20-24, Duke University, North Carolina.

*Carlon, D. B. More skepticism towards Santa Rosalia: why are there so few kinds of corals with limited dispersal? 1st Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology, Ottawa, Ontario, July 6-10, 2012.


Graduate Committees

U. of Hawaii – Aki Laruson, PhD. Morphological and genomic divergence with the tropical sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla; Sean Canfield, PhD. Conservation genetics of coral reefs; Raphael Ritson-Williams, PhD. Ecological genomics of environmental stress.

Bowdoin undergraduates

Jack Mitchell, Barcoding Hawaiian Ichthyoplankton; Erin Voss, P. Martino, Ecological genetics of climate change; R. Barron, Describing the World’s largest marine hybrid zone.

Former graduate students (4 total)

Kristin Halbert, M.S. 2013. High cryptic diversity across the global range of the migratory planktonic copepods Pleuromamma piseki and P. gracilis (co-advised with E. Goetz, SOEST).

Sonja Schwartz, PhD. 2012. Species boundaries and speciation on coral reefs (co-advised with G. Roderick, UC Berkeley).

Kimberly Tice, M.S. 2009. Against the grain? Morphometric and genomic investigation of the causes of shell variation in the Hawaiian periwinkle Echinolittorina hawaiiensis.

John Fitzpatrick, M.S. 2008. Phylogeography predicts biogeography: a multi-locus test of vicariance and dispersal in a widespread Indo-Pacific parrotfish.

Former undergraduate students (17 total)

Erin Voss (2015 – 16).

Christy Hammack (2008- 09). Barcoding and identification of tropical fish larvae.

Jon Coloma (2007- 08). Field studies, SCUBA support of field experiments, animal care, molecular lab work.

Narissa Bax (2007- 08) Independent research project: Divergent larval behavior between ecomorphs of the Caribbean coral Favia fragum.

Darlenis Vargas Cedeño (2006- 07) Field studies, animal care, laboratory assistant.

Scott Walls (2006- 07) Field studies, animal care, SCUBA support, field experiments

Sean Macduff (2006- 07) Independent research project: Estimates of fishing and fishing effort on herbivorous reef fishes in the Central Pacific.

Li-Chien Chen (2005-06) Independent research project: Population structure and phylogeography of three common hermit crabs in the Hawaiian Islands.

John Fitzpatrick (2005-06) Independent research project: The role of predation in structuring two ecomorphs of the coral Favia fragum.

Michael Dunford (2003 – 04) Independent research project: A new tool for morphometric measurements in faviid scleractinian corals.

Alexis Jinbo-Doran (2004) Senior Thesis Research, Whitman College: Lunar periodicity in larval release in two morphotypes of Pocillopora damicornis.

Saipologa Toala (2004) UMEB independent research project: Where do zooxanthellae come from when the coral Pocillopora damicornis is recovering from bleaching?

Houston Lomae (2004) UMEB independent research project: Settlement plates for larvae of the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis on four artificial substrates in a tank.

Julie Diemler (2000) Animal care and assistance with molecular genotyping.

John Jiminez (2000) Animal care.

Stephanie Coe (1999) Animal care and assistance with molecular genotyping.


  • President, Benthic Ecology Meeting Society 2015-16 – Hosted the annual Benthic Ecology Meeting in Portland Maine, March 15 -19, 2016
  • NSF/DEB/DIG Panelist
  • Convener of the Albert Tester Symposium- Three day meeting at the University of Hawaii featuring graduate student research in the biological and earth sciences. Features seminars by a distinguished speakers (Tyrone Hayes, ’08; Daniel Pauly, ’09).
  • Course development- I have designed and taught several inquiry based courses at the University of Hawaii. For example, ZOOL 487/719 Molecular Ecology emphasizes hypothesis testing via molecular data sets. Students develop basic bench skills in DNA extraction, PCR, genotyping, direct sequencing, in vitro cloning, and bioinformatics. I have trained students from the college of Natural Sciences, the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences, and the College of Tropical Agriculture.
  • Undergraduate research opportunities- At the University of Hawaii I have focused on recruiting and training under-represented minorities with research projects in molecular evolution and ecology, field ecology, and marine biology. Past undergraduates have been supported by NSF REU supplements, the C-MORE training grant at the University of Hawaii, an NSF UMEB & NRB awards to the University of Hawaii.


I regularly review manuscripts for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, and occasionally for the journals: Biological Bulletin, Bulletin of Marine Science, BMC Evolutionary Biology, Coral Reefs, Ecology, Hydrobiologia, J. Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Journal of Heredity, Journal of Marine Biological Association UK, Limnology and Oceanography, Marine Biology, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

I have served as a National Science Foundation, Division of Environmental Biology, Dissertation Improvement Grant Panelist; and an adhoc reviewer for a number of National Science Foundation Programs (DEB, OCE, and IOSE); N.O.A.A. Ocean Exploration Program; and the California Sea Grant College.

University of Hawaii committee work: 2010: Evolutionary Biologist Search Committee (Chair); 2010: Population geneticist search committee; 2007-08: Albert Tester Memorial Symposium (Convener and Chair); 2008: Evolutionary Developmental Biologist Search Committee; 2005-06: EECB Student Grants Committee, 2006- Present: Molecular Biology Laboratory Development Committee (Chair); 2003-Present: Marine Biology Steering Committee, 2003- Present; 2006- Present: Curriculum Committee; 2005: Physiologist Search Committee; 2005; Zoology Seminar Series 2004, 2012.


  • Society for the Study of Evolution
  • American Society of Naturalists
  • Western Society of Naturalists





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