Faculty/Staff Directory

Michael Lombardo

Photo of Michael Lombardo



Office Address
3390I Kindschi Hall of Science

Office Phone

Areas of Expertise
Zoology, Animal Behavior, Avian Biology, Evolution

Professional Societies

American Ornithologists' Union - Elective Member
Association of Field Ornithologists- Council Member
Cooper Ornithological Society
International Society for Behavioral Ecology
Michigan Society of Fellows
Society for the Study of Evolution

Courses Taught at GVSU

BIO 222 Natural History of the Vertebrates
BIO 325 Human Sexuality
BIO 342 Ornithology
BIO 349 The Darwinian Revolution
BIO 418 Field Zoology
BIO 452 Human Evolution
BIO 495 Evolutionary Biology

Research Interests

Dr. Lombardo is interested in the evolution of behavior. His current research involves examining both theoretically and empirically the role of sexually transmitted microbes (e.g., viruses, bacteria, and fungi) in the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of mating systems. According to Dr. Lombardo, it is easy to understand the advantages that accrue to individuals that avoid copulating with partners infected with sexually transmitted pathogens. However, it is also possible for an individual, especially a female, to benefit by copulating with a partner that inoculates it with a beneficial microbe that either acts as a therapy against a current infection or as a "vaccine" against future infection. Dr. Lombardo is interested in how the relative frequencies and potencies (i.e., effects on hosts) of sexually transmitted microbes in a population affect mating behavior. He also is collaborating with Dr. Thorpe on this project. Dr. Thorpe focuses on the microbiological aspects of this question while Dr. Lombardo focuses on the behavioral aspects. 

Sport is a human universal, but has received relatively little attention from evolutionary biologists. I am currently working on a book, "A Natural History of Sports," that synthesizes information from anthropology, biology, history, psychology, sociology, and today's sports pages to explain the biological importance of this fundamental component of human nature.


Ph.D. - Rutgers University. Ecology, 1984
M.S. - Rutgers University. Zoology, 1979
B.S. - The Ohio State University. Zoology, 1976

Recent Publications

Deaner, R. O., S. M. Balish, & M. P. Lombardo. 2016. Sex differences in sports interest and motivation: an evolutionary perspective. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences 10:73-97.

Lombardo, M. P., P. Drake, A. Olson, S. Otieno, L. Spadacene, & P. A. Thorpe. 2015. Feather-chewing lice and Tree Swallow biology. Auk: Ornithological Advances 132:551-561.

Lombardo, M. P. & S. Emiah. 2014.  Scientometric analyses of studies on the role of innate variation in athletic performance. SpringerPlus 3:307.

Lombardo, M. P. & R. O. Deaner. 2014. You can’t teach speed: sprinters falsify the deliberate practice model of expertise. PeerJ 2 e445.

Winkler, D. W., K. M. Ringelman, P. O. Dunn, L. Whittingham, D. J. T. Hussell, R. G. Clark, R. D. Dawson, L. S. Johnson, A. Rose, S. H. Austin, W. D. Robinson, M. P. Lombardo, P. A. Thorpe, D. Shutler, R. J. Robertson, M. Stager, M. Leonard, A. G. Horn, J. Dickinson, V. Ferretti, V. Massoni, F. Bulit, J. C. Reboreda, M. Liljesthröm, M. Quiroga, E., Rakhimberdiev, & D. R. Ardia. 2014. Latitudinal variation in clutch size-lay date regression in Tachycineta swallows: effects of food supply or demography? Ecography 37:670-678.

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