David P. Mindell


Dean of Science & Research Collections

Harry W. and Diana V. Hind Chair


Curator of Ornithology


Professional Background

  • Present-2008 Dean of Science and Curator, California Academy of Sciences
  • 2008-1994 Full and Associate Professor and Curator, University of Michigan
  • 1994-1989 Associate and Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati
  • 1988-1987 Post-doctoral Fellow, Harvard University
  • 1986- PhD, Brigham Young University

  • Research interests

    Dr. Mindell's research focuses on molecular phylogenetics and evolution of birds using nuclear and mitochondrial DNAs. He applies phylogenies to questions regarding the age and tempo of avian and other vertebrate diversifications, and the resolution of taxonomic uncertainties, particularly among Falconiformes. Another research focus concerns the evolution and phylogeny of viruses and their coevolution with birds and other vertebrates.

    Select recent publications

    Mindell, D. P. 2009.  Evolution in the Everyday World. Scientific American 300:82-89. Download PDF »


    Johnson, J. A., R. E. Tingay, M. Culver, F. Hailer, M. L. Clarke and D. P. Mindell. 2009.  Long-term survival despite low genetic diversity in the critically endangered Madagascar fish-eagle. Molecular Ecology 18:54-63. Download PDF »


    Johnson, J. A., M. Gilbert, M. Z. Virani, M. Asim and D. P. Mindell. 2008.  Temporal genetic analysis of the critically endangered oriental white-backed vulture in Pakistan. Biological Conservation 141:2403-2409. Download PDF »


    Lerner, H. R. L., M. C. Klaver and D. P. Mindell. 2008. Molecular phylogenetics of Buteoninae birds of prey (Aves: Accipitridae). The Auk  125:304-315. Download PDF »

    Brown, J. W., J. S. Rest, J. Garcia-Moreno, M. D. Sorenson, and D. P. Mindell. 2008. Strong mitochondrial DNA support for a Cretaceous origin of modern avian lineages. BMC Biology 2008, 6:6 doi:10.1186/1741-7007-6-6 Download PDF »


    Mindell, D. P. 2007. This land is your land. Evolutionary Psychology 5:605-611. Download PDF »


    Johnson, J. A., K. K. Burnham, W. A. Burnham, and D. P. Mindell. 2007.  Genetic structure identified among continental and island populations of gyrfalcons. Molecular Ecology 16:3145–3160 Download PDF »
    Brown, J. W., R. B. Payne, and D. P. Mindell. 2007. Nuclear DNA does not reconcile 'rocks' and 'clocks' in Neoaves. Biology Letters 2007 3:3; DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0611 Download PDF »


    Watanabe M., M. Nikaido, T. T. Tsuda, T. Kobayashi, D. P. Mindell, Y. Cao, N. Okada, and M. Hasegawa. 2006. New candidate species most closely related to penguins. Gene 378:65-73. Download PDF »


    Johnson, J. A., H. R. L. Lerner, Pamela C. Rasmussen and D. P. Mindell. 2006. Systematics within Gyps vultures: a clade at risk. BMC Evolutionary Biology 2006, 6:65. (doi:10.1186/1471-2148-6-65) Download PDF »


    Mindell, D. P.  2006.  The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life. Harvard University Press.  341 pp. View book and order »


    Contact Information:


    California Academy of Sciences

    55 Music Concourse Drive

    San Francisco, CA 94118


    415-379-5848 / 5348 (assistant / direct)

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