"Whether learning about what makes invasive plants incredibly competitive, researching how we might use invasive plants to restore degraded soils and provide biofuel, or describing what more sustainable food production systems could look like in the U.S. or Cambodia, I have found Calvin to be an awesome place to engage students in what it means to learn and live reformed Christianity in biological context. When not at Calvin I like to do anything outdoors...running, cycling, fishing, hunting, hiking, vegetable gardening."


  • B.S. in Biology, Calvin College
  • M.S. in Crop Production and Physiology, The Ohio State University
  • Ph.D. in Crop Production and Physiology, Iowa State University

Professional Experience

  • Faculty, Au Sable Institute Great Lakes, teaching "Field Biology in Spring" (Biology 361)
  • Lecturer, Iowa State University Seed Technology and Business (STB) distance learning M.S. program, teaching Variety Testing (STB 534) and Seed Production (STB 547)
  • Agricultural industry research management with Syngenta Seeds, Inc. for 15 years in the roles of Global Head of Seed Production Research, North American Director of Product Development, Field Agronomist
  • Advisory Boards: Pierce Cedar Creek Institute (Hastings, MI), Land Conservancy of West Michigan (LCWM), Genesis Community of Transformation (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), Integrated Solutions Asia Cooperative (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), Integrated Science Research Institute (ISRI)
  • Scientific Association Section Chairs: Botany and Ecology, Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters (MASAL), and Seed Production and Technology (C-4) of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA)
  • USDA/ARS Post-doctoral Research Scientist of the Bioactive Constituents Research Unit at the Northern Regional Research Center, Peoria, IL

Courses taught


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Academic Interests

  • Global Sustainability Issues: Particularly Utilization of Green Space to Sequester Atmospheric Carbon
  • Application of sustainable food production techniques of developed countries with comparable efforts in Cambodia; optimization of appropriate food production systems for small shareholder farmers through the NGO Genesis Community of Learning and Eden School of Agriculture.
  • Measurement of the quantity of carbon dioxide assimilated annually by the greenspace of Calvin College and Pierce Cedar Creek Institute to enable optimization of carbon sequestration efforts through the effective management of land resources.
  • Characterizing the physiological advantages of invasive shrub species of southwestern Michigan by assessing photosynthesis and transpiration rates, water and light use efficiencies: common and glossy buckthorn, and autumn olive compared with a number of native shrub species.
  • Optimization of methods to control the buckthorn species and autumn olive in southwestern Michigan.


  • 2012: Pierce Cedar Creek Institute URGE Program. $7,000. Productivity of Switchgrass and Corn Grown in Close Proximity with Nitrogen Fixing Autumn Olive and Cow Pea in Productive and Nutrient-poor Soils.
  • 2011: Nagel Institute Fellowship. $6000. Eden School of Agriculture project “Transforming Cambodia: Holistic Application of Sustainable Food Production Methods in Rural Cambodia”.
  • 2010: Pierce Cedar Creek Institute URGE Program. $10,500. Relationship between Nitrogen Fixation Rate, Apparent Photosynthesis Rate, and Chlorophyll Content of Autumn Olive and Potential Impacts on the Competitiveness of Cohabiting Native Plant Species.

Selected publications

Dornbos, Jr., D. L.. 2012. How Should Christians Promote Sustainable Agriculture in Agrarian Systems? , Volume 64, Number 1, March 2012, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith.

Dornbos Jr., D. L. and Pruim, R. 2012. Moist Soils Reduce the Effectiveness of Glyphosate on Cut Stumps of Buckthorn,  Natural Areas Journal. 32: 240-246.

Dornbos, D.L. and R. Pruim. Factors Impacting Glyphosate Efficacy in the Control of Invasive Shrubs. Submitted to Invasive Plant Control, Weed Science Society of America.