Kathleen Donohue

Professor of Biology

130 Science Drive, Room 226, Duke Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708-0338
(919) 684-6095
We investigate the genetic basis of adaptation, including the evolution of phenotypic plasticity and maternal effects, the adaptive value of epigenetic modifications, niche construction, dispersal, and mechanisms of multilevel natural selection.


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago 1993

  • M.S., Stanford University 1985

  • B.A., Stanford University 1985

  • B.S., Stanford University 1985

Donohue, K. Darwin's Finches Readings in the Evolution of a Scientific Paradigm. University of Chicago Press, June 15, 2011.

Donohue, K. "Genotype-by-Environment Interaction." In Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Biology, 186-194. April 14, 2016. Full Text

Donohue, K. "Development in the Wild: Phenotypic Plasticity." In The Evolution of Plant Form, 321-355. November 27, 2012. Full Text

Donohue, K. "The Snail's Charm." The American Naturalist 193, no. 2 (February 2019): 149-163. Full Text

Vayda, K, Donohue, K, and Auge, GA. "Within- and trans-generational plasticity: seed germination responses to light quantity and quality." Aob Plants 10, no. 3 (June 2018): ply023-null. Full Text Open Access Copy

Martel, C, Blair, LK, and Donohue, K. "PHYD prevents secondary dormancy establishment of seeds exposed to high temperature and is associated with lower PIL5 accumulation." Journal of Experimental Botany 69, no. 12 (May 2018): 3157-3169. Full Text

Saastamoinen, M, Bocedi, G, Cote, J, Legrand, D, Guillaume, F, Wheat, CW, Fronhofer, EA, Garcia, C, Henry, R, Husby, A, Baguette, M, Bonte, D, Coulon, A, Kokko, H, Matthysen, E, Niitepõld, K, Nonaka, E, Stevens, VM, Travis, JMJ, Donohue, K, Bullock, JM, and Del Mar Delgado, M. "Genetics of dispersal." Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 93, no. 1 (February 2018): 574-599. (Review) Full Text

Auge, GA, Blair, LK, Karediya, A, and Donohue, K. "The autonomous flowering-time pathway pleiotropically regulates seed germination in Arabidopsis thaliana." Annals of Botany 121, no. 1 (January 2018): 183-191. Full Text

Leverett, LD, Schieder, GF, and Donohue, K. "The fitness benefits of germinating later than neighbors." American Journal of Botany 105, no. 1 (January 2018): 20-30. Full Text

Edwards, B, Burghardt, LT, Kovach, KE, and Donohue, K. "Canalization of Seasonal Phenology in the Presence of Developmental Variation: Seed Dormancy Cycling in an Annual Weed." Integrative and comparative biology 57, no. 5 (November 2017): 1021-1039. Full Text

Williams, CM, Ragland, GJ, Betini, G, Buckley, LB, Cheviron, ZA, Donohue, K, Hereford, J, Humphries, MM, Lisovski, S, Marshall, KE, Schmidt, PS, Sheldon, KS, Varpe, Ø, and Visser, ME. "Understanding Evolutionary Impacts of Seasonality: An Introduction to the Symposium." Integrative and Comparative Biology 57, no. 5 (November 2017): 921-933. Full Text

Auge, GA, Leverett, LD, Edwards, BR, and Donohue, K. "Adjusting phenotypes via within- and across-generational plasticity." The New Phytologist 216, no. 2 (October 2017): 343-349. (Review) Full Text

Auge, GA, Blair, LK, Neville, H, and Donohue, K. "Maternal vernalization and vernalization-pathway genes influence progeny seed germination." The New Phytologist 216, no. 2 (October 2017): 388-400. Full Text


Selected Grants

Epigenetic stability and its evolutionary potential awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2020

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: The Phenotypic and Genetic Basis of Facilitation and Competition in Plants awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2018

The Genetic Basis and Adaptive Significance of Pleiotropy: FLC-Regulated Germination and Flowering awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2017

Collaborative Research: Integrating Genetically Informed awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2016

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Predicting Plant Life-Cycles in Changing Environments awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2016

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Adaptive divergence and the evolution of reproductive isolation across the genus Cakile (Brassi awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2013

The Physiological Basis of Natural Variation in Germination Responses of Arabidopsis Thaliana awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2008 to 2012