Michael F. Dolan





(Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, 1999)

Research Professor


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Past PBI Interns




Michael Dolan’s main research interests are the cell biology and taxonomy of the symbiotic protists in the hindguts of wood-feeding termites and Cryptocercus.  These anaerobic microbes are important for the study of cell evolution, endosymbiosis and the speciation of asexual protists.  In addition to his work in Lynn Margulis’s lab at UMASS, Dolan is a Research Associate in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York where he is organizing the Hans Ris collection and the Cleveland-Kirby Collection of termite and Cryptocercus protists, and creating a global database of these insect symbionts in collaboration with Susan Perkins, David Grimaldi and Kumar Krishna.
            In addition to his research Dolan is a lecturer in the Department of Biology (Biol 105 – Biology of Social Issues). He is also the UMASS- Amherst representative to the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium, and administers the NASA Planetary Biology Internships, an educational program of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.  Through this program graduate students from around the world are funded to work during June-August at NASA facilities and with NASA-funded scientists in universities in the USA.  The application deadline for this program is March 1 each year.



Margulis, L., Olendzenski, L., Dolan, M. and MacIntyre, F. 1996. Diversity of eukaryotic microorganisms: computer-based resources, the Handbook of Protoctista and its Glossary. Microbiología SEM 12: 29-42.

Dolan, M. and Margulis, L. 1997. Staurojoenina and other symbionts in Neotermes from San Salvador Island , Bahamas . Symbiosis 22: 229-239.

D’Ambrosio, U., Dolan, M., Wier, A., and Margulis, L. 1999. Devescovinid with axostyle-based rotary motor (Rubberneckia): Taxonomic assignment as Caduceia versatilis sp. nov. Europ. J. Protistol. 35: 327-337.

Dolan, M.F. 2000. DNA fluorescent stain accumulates in the parabasal body (Golgi complex), but not in the kinetosomes of symbiotic trichomonads from Cryptotermes cavifrons. Intl. Microbiol. 3: 45-49.

Dolan, M.F. 2000. Antibiotics remove Caduceia versatilis from the Cryptotermes cavifrons (Kalotermitidae: Isoptera) hindgut and increase production of calcium-rich crystals. Symbiosis 28: 277-289.

Margulis, L., Dolan, M.F. and Guerrero, R. 2000. The chimeric eukaryote. Origin of the nucleus from the karyomastigont in amitochondriate protists. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA . 97: 6954-6959.

Dolan, M.F., d’Ambrosio, U., Wier, A. and Margulis, L. 2000. Surface kinetosomes and disconnected nuclei of a Calonymphid: ultrastructure and evolutionary significance of Snyderella tabogae. Acta Protozool. 39: 135-141.

Dolan, M.F., Wier, A.M. and Margulis, L. 2000. Budding and asymmetric reproduction of a trichomonad with as many as 1000 nuclei in karyomastigonts: Metacoronympha from Incisitermes. Acta Protozool 33: 275-280.

Chapman, M.J., Dolan, M.F. and Margulis, L. 2000. Centrioles and kinetosomes: Form, function and evolution. Quart. Rev. Biol. 75: 409-429.

Wier, A., Dolan, M., Grimaldi, D., Guerrero, R., Wagensberg, J. and Margulis, L. 2002. Spirochete and protist symbionts of a termite (Mastotermes electrodominicus) in Miocene amber. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci, USA 99: 1410-1413.

Dolan, M.F. and Kirby, H. 2002. Gyronympha, Criconympha and Prosnyderella, three new genera of calonymphids (Parabasalia: Trichomonadida) from dry-wood eating termites (Isoptera: Kalotermitidae). Europ. J. Protistol. 38: 73-81.

Dolan, M.F. 2002. Speciation of termite gut protists: the role of bacterial symbionts. Inter. Microbiol.4: 203-208.

Dolan, M.F., Melnitsky, H., Margulis, L. and Kolnicki, R. 2002. Motility proteins and the origin of the nucleus. Anatomical Record 268: 290-301.

Noël, C., Gerbod, D., Dolan, M.F., Edgcomb, V.P., Kitade, O., Noda, S., Dufernez, F., Ohkuma, M., Kudo, T., Capron, M., Sogin, M.L. and Viscogliosi, E. 2002. Molecular phylogeny of Parabasalids inferred from small subunit rRNA sequences, with emphasis on the Devescovinidae and Calonymphidae (Trichomonadea). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 25: 545-556.

Wier, A. M., Dolan, M. F. and Margulis, L. 2004. Cortical symbionts and hydrogenosomes of the amitochondriate protist Staurojoenina assimilis. Symbiosis36: 153-168.

Dolan, M. F., Wier, A. M., Melnitsky, H., Whiteside, J. H. and Margulis, L. 2004. Cysts and symbionts of Staurojoenina assimilis Kirby from Neotermes. European Journal of Protistology 40: 257-264

Dolan, M.F. and Melnitsky, H. 2005. Patterns of protist-bacteria associations in the gut of the wood-feeding cockroach Cryptocercus. Journal of the North Carolina Academy of Sciences 121: 56-60.

Margulis, L., Dolan, M.F. and Whiteside, J.H. 2005. “Imperfections and oddities” in the origin of the nucleus. Paleobiology 31: 175-191.

Articles (in preparation)

Kirby, H. and Dolan, M.F. 2002. Six new species of Stephanonympha (Trichomonadida: Calonymphidae) from dry-wood eating termites.

Books and Chapters

Margulis, L. and Dolan, M. 1995. Gaia: Cosmic beginnings, non-human ends. In Cosmic Beginnings, Human Ends. C.N. Matthews and R.A. Varghese, eds. Chicago : Open Court , pp. 187-204.

Margulis, L., Schwartz, K. and Dolan, M. 1994. The Illustrated Five Kingdoms. New York : HarperCollins.

Margulis, L., Schwartz, K. and Dolan, M. 1999. Diversity of Life. Sudbury , MA : Jones and Bartlett.

Margulis, L. and Dolan, M. F. 2002. Early Life, 2nd ed. Sudbury , MA : Jones and Bartlett.

Dolan, M.F. 2005. The missing piece: the microtubule cytoskeleton and the origin of eukaryotes. In Sapp, J. (ed.) Microbial Phylogeny and Evolution. New York : Oxford Univ. Press, pp. 281-289.


Non-Technical Publications

Dolan, M. 1995. Getting the message across. Main topics of the Eighth  Conference of the International Federation of Science Editors.  Microbiología SEM 11: 509-511.

Margulis, L. and Dolan, M. 1997. Swimming against the current. The Sciences 37: 20-25.

Margulis, L. and Dolan, M. 1998. Not all symbioses are microbial: Newfoundland ’s whales and fossils. Symbiosis 24: 173-178.

Margulis, L. and Dolan, M. 1999. Did centrioles and kinetosomes evolve frombacterial symbionts? Report of the Henneguy-Lenhossek Theory Meeting. Symbiosis 26: 199-204.

Margulis, L., Dolan, M. and Guerrero, R. 1999. The molecular tangled bank: Not seeing the phylogenies for the trees. Biol. Bull. 194: 413-414.

Margulis, L., Guerrero, R. and Dolan, M. F. 2000. Inventorying the microcosm. Whole Earth Review, Sept. pp. 14-17