Dennis Paulson

BS, University of Miami, 1958
PhD, University of Miami, 1966

Director, Slater Museum of Natural History
1990-2004 (presently Director Emeritus)

295 Thompson Hall
phone: 253-879-3357



My general interests focus on biodiversity and biology of dragonflies and birds. My current research is on the biology and systematics of Northwest and Neotropical dragonflies. I am particularly interested in the adaptive significance of coloration and am little by little publishing studies I have conducted on this subject.

Evolution is the process by which I approach research questions, although both ecology and ethology interest me greatly. I am also organismally oriented, i.e., interested in whole organisms, and some of my research has been descriptive-observing species in nature and writing about what they were doing. My favored approach is to ask evolutionary questions of organisms-why they are as they are, what selective pressures have molded them? Asking "why" questions leads to observational, experimental, and literature research.

After a long period of research on shorebirds (sandpipers, plovers and their relatives), in part because I was writing a book on them, I have chosen to return to the study of dragonflies, a strong early interest that I neglected during my "shorebird years." For my own research I am presently emphasizing biodiversity and systematics, as I feel more and more the need to deal with questions that are relevant to the health of our endangered planet, but I retain great enthusiasm for research on all aspects of the basic biology of dragonflies.

Because I feel the general public must be informed of the status of our natural systems, I am spending an increasing proportion of my time synthesizing what I have learned by writing field guides and books on general natural history.

As I compile it, I will be making more and more information about biodiversity of the Northwest and other regions available on the World Wide Web at Slater Museum Biodiversity Page.



For 12 years I taught Biology 378, Vertebrate Zoology.



Paulson, D. R. 1979. The phylum Chordata: classification, external anatomy and adaptive radiation, pp. 7-56, in Hyman's Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, M. H. Wake, ed. Univ. Chicago Press.
Paulson, D. 1989. Exotic Birds. Crescent Books, New York.
Wahl, T. R., and D. R. Paulson. 1991. A Guide to Bird Finding in Washington. T. R. Wahl, Bellingham, WA.
Paulson, D. 1993. Shorebirds of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle.
Alden, P., A. Gregoret, R. Keen, D. Mathews, E. A. Oches, D. Paulson, and R. Sundstrom. 1998. National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest. Chanticleer Press, New York.
Paulson, D. 1999. Dragonflies of Washington. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle.
Paulson, D., and L. Beletsky. 2001. Alaska - The Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guide. Academic Press, London.
Paulson, D. 2002. Birds, pp. 100-189, in Florida - The Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guide. Academic Press, London.
Paulson, D. 2005. Shorebirds of North America: The Photographic Guide. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
Paulson, D. 2009. Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
Paulson, D. R. 2009. 
Paulson, D., D. Pearson, and L. Beletsky. 2010. Bird Songs Bible. Chronicle Books, San Francisco.
Paulson, D. 2011. Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East. Princeton University Press, Princeton.


Paulson, D. R. 1965. Two dragonflies new to Florida. Quart. Jour. Florida Acad. Sci. 27: 298.
Paulson, D. R. 1966. New records of Bahamian Odonata. Quart. Jour. Florida Acad. Sci. 29: 97-110.
Paulson, D. R. 1968. Odonata from Isla San Andres, western Caribbean Sea. Ent. News 79: 229-231.
Paulson, D. R. 1970. Oviposition in the tropical dragonfly genus Micrathyria (Odonata: Libellulidae). Tombo 12: 12-16.
Paulson, D. R. 1970. A list of the Odonata of Washington with additions to and deletions from the state list. Pan-Pacific Ent. 46: 194-198.
Paulson, D. R., and C. E. Jenner. 1971. Population structure in overwintering larval Odonata in North Carolina in relation to adult flight season. Ecology 52: 96-107.
Paulson, D. R. 1973. Temporal isolation in two species of dragonflies, Epitheca sepia (Gloyd, 1933) and E. stella (Williamson, 1911) (Anisoptera: Corduliidae). Odonatologica 2: 115-119.
Paulson, D. R. 1974. Reproductive isolation in damselflies. Syst. Zool. 23: 40-49.
Paulson, D. R. 1977. Odonata, pp. 170-184, in Biota Acuatica de Sudamerica Austral, S. H. Hurlbert, ed. San Diego State University.
Paulson, D. R., and R. W. Garrison. 1977. A list and new distributional records of Pacific coast Odonata. Pan-Pacific Ent. 53: 147-160.
Paulson, D. R. 1978. An Asiatic dragonfly, Crocothemis servilia (Drury), established in Florida (Anisoptera: Libellulidae). Notul. Odonatol. 1: 9-10.
Paulson, D. R. 1978. Additional record of Crocothemis servilia (Drury) from Florida (Anisoptera: Libellulidae). Notul. Odonatol. 1: 29-30.
Paulson, D. R., and R. A. Cannings. 1980. Distribution, natural history and relationships of Ischnura erratica Calvert (Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae). Odonatologica 9: 147-153.
Paulson, D. R. 1981. Anatomical modifications for displaying bright coloration in megapodagrionid and chlorocyphid dragonflies (Zygoptera). Odonatologica 10: 301-310.
Paulson, D. R. 1981. Peculiar wing position in Dysphaea dimidiata Selys (Zygoptera: Euphaeidae). Notul. Odonatol. 1: 134-135.
Paulson, D. R. 1982. Odonata, pp. 249-277, in Aquatic Biota of Mexico, Central America and the West Indies, S. H. Hurlbert & A. Villalobos, eds. San Diego State University.
Paulson, D. R. 1982. Tramea calverti Muttkowski in northern Argentina. Notul. Odonatol. 1: 166-167.
Paulson, D. R. 1983. A new species of dragonfly, Gomphus (Gomphuruslynnae spec. nov., from the Yakima River, Washington, with notes on pruinosity in Gomphidae (Anisoptera). Odonatologica 12: 59-70.
Paulson, D. R. 1984. Odonata from the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Notul. Odonatol. 2: 33-38.
Paulson, D. R. 1984. Additional records of Odonata from El Salvador. Notul. Odonatol. 2: 51-52.
Paulson, D. R. 1985. Odonata of the Tambopata Reserved Zone, Madre de Dios, Perú. Rev. Per. Ent. 27: 9-14.
Paulson, D. R. 1994. Two new species of Coryphaeschna from Middle America, and a discussion of the red species of the genus. Odonatologica 23: 379-398.
Paulson, D. R. 1996. The dragonflies of Washington. Bull. Am. Odonatol. 4: 75-91.
Paulson, D. R. 1998. Recent collections of Odonata from the Kuril Islands. Species Diversity 3: 75-80.
Paulson, D. R. 1998. Possible morphological and behavioral male mimicry in a libellulid dragonfly, Erythrodiplax umbrata (L) (Anisoptera: Libellulidae). Odonatologica 27: 249-252.
Paulson, D. R. 1998. The distribution and relative abundance of the sibling species Orthemis ferruginea and O. discolor in North and Middle America, and additional differences between them. Int. J. Odonatol. 1: 89-93.
Paulson, D. R. 1998. Variation in head spines in female Ophiogomphus, with a possible example of reproductive character displacement (Anisoptera: Gomphidae). Bull. Am. Odonatol. 5: 55-58.
Paulson, D. R. 1999. Ischnura perparva McLachlan (Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae) has an andromorphic female, and another suggestion to modify the terminology of female color polymorphism in Odonata. Int. J. Odonatol. 2: 101-103.
Paulson, D. R., and S. W. Dunkle. 1999. A checklist of North American Odonata. Slater Mus. Nat. Hist., Occ. Pap. No. 56: 1-86.
Paulson, D. R. 1999. Dragonflies (Odonata: Anisoptera) of south Florida. Occ. Pap. Slater Mus. Nat. Hist., No. 57: 1-139.
Ramirez, A., D. R. Paulson, and C. Esquivel. 2000. Odonata of Costa Rica: Diversity and checklist of species. Revista de Biologia Tropical 48: 245-252.
O'Neill, G., and D. R. Paulson. 2001. An annotated list of Odonata collected in Ghana in 1997, a checklist of Ghana Odonata, and comments on West African odonate biodiversity and biogeography. Odonatologica 30: 69-87.
Paulson, D. R. 2001. Recent Odonata records from southern Florida - effects of global warming? Int. J. Odonatol. 4: 57-69.
Paulson, D. R. 2002. Odonata records from Nayarit and Sinaloa, Mexico, with comments on natural history and biogeography. Odonatologica 31: 359-370.
Paulson, D. 2002. Comments on the Erythrodiplax connata (Burmeister, 1839) group, with the elevation of E. fusca (Rambur, 1842), E. minuscula (Rambur, 1842), and E. basifusca (Calvert, 1895) to full species (Anisoptera: Libellulidae). Bull. Am. Odonat. 6: 101-110.
Paulson, D. R. 2003. Teinobasis budeni sp. nov. from Pohnpei, Eastern Caroline Islands, Micronesia (Odonata: Coenagrionidae). Int. J. Odonatol. 6: 33-37.
Paulson, D. R., and D. W. Buden. 2003. The Odonata of Pohnpei, Eastern Caroline Islands, Micronesia. Int. J. Odonatol. 6: 39-64.
Buden, D. W., and D. R. Paulson. 2003. The Odonata of Kosrae, Eastern Caroline Islands, Micronesia. Pacific Science 57: 399-407.
Paulson, D. R. 2004. Critical species of Odonata in the Neotropics. Int. J. Odonatol. 7: 163-188.
Buden, D. W., and D. R. Paulson. 2004. The Odonata of Chuuk, eastern Caroline Islands, Micronesia. Opuscula Zoologica Fluminensia, No. 217: 1-11.
Paulson, D. R. 2004. Why do some zygopterans (Odonata) perch with open wings? Int. J. Odonatol. 7: 505-515.
Paulson, D. R., and N. von Ellenrieder. 2005. Synonymy of Subaeschna Martin, 1908, with Gynacantha Rambur, 1842, and a new species of Gynacantha from Peru (Anisoptera: Aeshnidae). Odonatologica 34: 65-72.
Fincke, O. M., R. Jödicke, D. R. Paulson, and T. D. Schultz. 2005. The evolution and frequency of female color morphs in Holarctic Odonata: why are male-like females typically the minority? Int. J. Odonatol. 8: 183-212.
Paulson, D. R. 2006. Openwing perching in some Zygoptera (Odonata): a response to Klaus Reinhardt. Int. J. Odonatol. 9: 111-118.
Paulson, D. R. 2007. The importance of forests to neotropical dragonflies. Pp. 79-101 in Forests and Dragonflies, Fourth WDA International Symposium of Odonatology, Pontevedra (Spain), July 2005, A. Cordero Rivera ed.
V. J. Kalkman, V. Clausnitzer, K-D B. Dijkstra, A. G. Orr, D. R. Paulson, and J. van Tol. 2007. Diversity and biogeography of dragonflies (Odonata). In A Global Assessment of Animal Diversity in Freshwater, Hydrobiologia. in press.
Buden, D. W., and D. R. Paulson. 2007. Odonata of Yap, Western Caroline Islands, Micronesia. Pacific Science 61: 267-277.
Kalkman, V. J., V. Clausnitzer, K-D. B. Dijkstra, A. G. Orr, D. R. Paulson, and J. van Tol. 2008. Global diversity of dragonflies (Odonata) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia (2008) 595: 351-363.
Clausnitzer, V., V. Kalkman, M. Ram, M. Bedjanic, W. Darwall, R. Dow, J. Hawking, H. Karube, E. Malikova, D. Paulson, K. Schütte, F. Suhling, R. Villanueva, N. von Ellenrieder, and K. Wilson. 2009. The global status of dragonflies and damselflies: the first invertebrate group to enter the biodiversity crisis discussion. Biological Conservation 142: 1864-1869.
Paulson, D. R. 2009. A new species of Leptobasis from Costa Rica (Odonata: Coenagrionidae). Zootaxa 2239: 62-68.
González-Soriano, E., and D. R. Paulson. 2011. Odonata de Chiapas, pp. 299-314, in Chiapas: Estudios Sobre su Diversidad Biológica, F. A. Noguera, general coordinator, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, D. F.
Hobson, K. A., D. X. Soto, D. R. Paulson, L. I. Wassenaar, and J. H. Mathews. 2012. A dragonfly (∂2H) isoscape for North America: a new tool for determining natal origins of migratory aquatic emergent insects. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. pp. 1-7. doi: 10.1111/j.2041-210X.2012.00202.x
Pinto, A. P., R. W. Garrison, D. R. Paulson, T. W. Donnelly, and M. L. May. 2012. Erythemis Hagen, 1861: proposed precedence over Lepthemis Hagen, 1861 (Insecta, Odonata). Bull. Zool. Nomenclature 69(2): 92-100.


Robertson, W. B., Jr., and D. R. Paulson. 1961. Florida region. Audubon Field Notes 15: 26-35.
Robertson, W. B., Jr., C. R. Mason, and D. R. Paulson. 1961. A tern new to the United States. Auk 78: 423-425.
Paulson, D. R., and H. M. Stevenson. 1962. Florida region. Audubon Field Notes 16: 398-404.
Paulson, D. R. 1966. New records of birds from the Bahama Islands. Notulae Naturae 394: 1-15.
Paulson, D. R. 1967. Searching for sea serpents. Sea Frontiers 13: 244-250.
Paulson, D. R. 1968. Variation in some snakes from the Florida Keys. Quart. Jour. Florida Acad. Sci. 29: 295-308.
Smith, H. M., and D. R. Paulson. 1968. A new lizard of the schiedi group of Anolis from Mexico. Southw. Nat. 13: 365-368.
Owre, O. T., and D. R. Paulson. 1968. Records of Falconiformes from the Lake Rudolf area, Kenya. Bull. Brit. Ornith. Club 88: 151-152.
Paulson, D. R., G. H. Orians, and C. F. Leck. 1969. Notes on birds of Isla San Andres. Auk 86: 755-758.
Paulson, D. R. 1969. Commensal feeding in grebes. Auk 86: 759.
Orians, G. H., and D. R. Paulson. 1969. Notes on Costa Rican birds. Condor 71: 426-431.
Paulson, D. R. 1973. Predator polymorphism and apostatic selection. Evolution 27: 269-277.
Perrone, M., Jr., and D. R. Paulson. 1979. Incidence of distress calls in mist-netted birds. Condor 81: 423-424.
Paulson, D. R. 1979. Dotterel at Ocean Shores, Washington. Continental Birdlife 1: 109-111.
Paulson, D. R. 1983. Fledging dates and southward migration of juveniles of some Calidris sandpipers. Condor 85: 99-101.
Paulson, D. R. 1983. Flocking in the Hook-billed Kite. Auk 100: 749-750.
Paulson, D. R. 1985. The importance of open habitat to the occurrence of kleptoparasitism among birds. Auk 102: 637-639.
Paulson, D. R., and W. J. Erckmann. 1985. Buff-breasted Sandpipers nesting in association with Black-bellied Plovers. Condor 87: 429-430.
Paulson, D. R. 1986. Identification of juvenile tattlers, and a Gray-tailed Tattler record from Washington. W. Birds 17: 33-36.
Paulson, D. R. 1986. Bird records from the Yucatan Peninsula, Tabasco and Chiapas, Mexico. Burke Mus. Contr. Anthrop. & Nat. Hist. No. 3: 1-9.
Rohwer, S., and D. R. Paulson. 1987. The avoidance image hypothesis and color polymorphism in hawks of the genus Buteo. Ornis Scand. 18: 285-290.
Paulson, D. R. 1988. Unusual agonistic behavior in a Green Honeycreeper. WIlson Bull. 100: 503-504.
Paulson, D. R. 1988. An incident of Common Loons eating clams. Murrelet 69: 53-54.
Wood, D. S., and D. R. Paulson. 1988. The status of Couch's Kingbird in Belize. J. Field Ornith. 59: 405-407.
Paulson, D. R. 1989. Sandhill Crane subspecies in Washington. Washington Birds 1: 24-26.
Paulson, D. R. 1989. Early dates for juvenile shorebirds in the Pacific Northwest. Washington Birds 1: 27-32.
Paulson, D. R. 1989. Surfbirds eating large edible mussels. Washington Birds 1: 35-36.
Paulson, D. R. 1990. Sandpiper-like feeding in Black-bellied Plovers. Condor 92: 245.
Paulson, D. R., and D. S. Lee. 1992. Wintering of Lesser Golden-Plovers in eastern North America. J. Field Ornithol. 63: 121-128.
Paulson, D. R. 1992. Northwest bird diversity: from extravagant past and changing present to precarious future. Northwest Env. J. 8: 71-118.
Paulson, D. R. 1992. The distribution of the northern Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel. Washington Birds 2: 6-7.
Paulson, D. R. 1992. Interior Song Sparrow in western Washington. Washington Birds 2: 42-43.
Censky, E. J., and D. R. Paulson. 1992. Revision of the Ameiva (Reptilia: Teiidae) of the Anguilla Bank, West Indies. Ann. Carnegie Mus. 61: 177-195.
Tweit, B., and D. Paulson. 1994. First report of the Washington Bird Records Committee. Washington Birds 3: 11-41.
Paulson, D. R. 1994. An early Tropical Kingbird report from Florida, based on calls. Florida Field Nat. 22: 14.
Paulson, D. R. 1995. Sharp-shinned Hawk hunts from thermal. Washington Birds 4: 60-61.
Paulson, D. R. 1995. Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola). In The Birds of North America, No. 186 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and the American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
Kiff, L. F., and D. R. Paulson. 1997. Northern Goshawk breeding records from San Diego County, California. Western Birds 28: 113-114.
Clark, W. S., and D. R. Paulson. 2002. Specimen record of Short-toed Snake Eagle for Kenya is invalid. Bull. Brit. Ornith. Club 122: 156-157.
Jordan, M., and D. Paulson. 2009. Wing-spreading behavior in Pacific coast cormorants. Northwestern Naturalist 90: 39-40.
Paulson, D. R. 2012. Discovery of a population of Cicindela hirticollis siuslawensis in Washington. Cicindela 44: 44-48.


Paulson, D. R. 1969. Review of Washington Birds, their location and identification, by E. J. Larrison and K. G. Sonnenberg. W. Bird Bander 44: 46-47.
Paulson, D. R. 1974. Review of Wildlife Ecology, by A. N. Moen. Amer. Sci. 62: 495.
Paulson, D. R. 1978. Review of A checklist of the birds of Washington state, with recent changes annotated, by P. W. Mattocks, E. S. Hunn and T. R. Wahl. Birding 10: 123-124.
Paulson, D. R. 1987. Review of Shorebirds: An Identification Guide, by P. Hayman, J. Marchant, and T. Prater. Northwest Envir. J. 3: 179-180.
Paulson, D. R. 1990. Review of Birds of the Seward Peninsula, Alaska: Their Biogeography, Seasonality, and Natural History, by Brina Kessel. Wilson Bull. 102: 736-737.
Paulson, D. R. 1992. Review of The Birds of Japan, by M. Brazil. Wilson Bull. 104: 556-558.
Paulson, D. R. 1992. Review of The Birds of British Columbia, by R. W. Campbell, N. K. Dawe, I. McTaggart-Cowan, J. M. Cooper, G. W. Kaiser, and M. C. E. McNall. Auk 109: 689-692.
Paulson, D. R. 1993. Review of Florida Bird Species: An Annotated List, by W. B. Robertson, Jr., and G. E. Woolfenden. Florida Field Nat. 21: 39-40.
Paulson, D. R. 1996. Review of A Century of Avifaunal Change in Western North America, eds. J. R. Jehl, Jr., and N. K. Johnson. Condor 98: 664-666.
Paulson, D. R. 1997. Review of The damselflies of North America, by M. J. Westfall, Jr., and M. L. May. Ann. Ent. Soc. Amer. 90: 700-701.
Paulson, D. 1999. Review of Dragonflies: Behavior and Ecology of Odonata, by P. S. Corbet. Argia 11(3): 20-22.
Paulson, D. R. 2000. Review of Tundra Plovers, by I. Byrkjedal and D. Thompson. Birding 32: 368-369.
Paulson, D. 2001. Review of Dragonflies Through Binoculars, by S. W. Dunkle. Science 293: 2005-2006.
Paulson, D. R. 2010. Review of Dragonflies & Damselflies: Model Organisms for Ecological and Evolutionary Research, ed. by A. Córdoba-Aguilar. Animal Behaviour 80: 345-346.
Paulson, D. R. 2010. Review of Damselfly Genera of the New World, by R. W. Garrison, N. von Ellenrieder, and J. A. Lawton. Florida Entomologist 93(4): 666.