Donald R. Powers

Donald R. Powers, PhD

Professor of Biology


503-554-2719 Lab

Office: EHS 210

I joined the George Fox University faculty in 1989 to pursue my dream of helping students understand how Christian faith can successfully integrate with what science has to teach them about their world. I passionately believe that science can teach us a lot about God and that such knowledge should be fervently embraced.

My interest in small university teaching was fostered as an undergraduate at Biola University where I experienced firsthand the close interaction between faculty and students. My appreciation for a more intimate style of education has not waned over my many years at George Fox.

I have always considered myself a scholar first and a teacher second. That might sound backward, but I truly believe that biological research that has been such a large part of my life shapes many aspects of what goes on in my classroom. In the end, the time I spend directly interfacing with scientific study gives my courses breadth and depth that they would not otherwise have and allow me to offer students an exceptional educational experience.

Academic Background

BS, Biological Science, Biola University (1979)  
MS, Ecology, San Diego State University (1982)  
PhD, Physiological Ecology, University of California, Davis (1989)

Expertise and Research Interests

In my lab, we answer questions related to energetic costs and water regulation of animals. Most of my work has been on hummingbirds (many species), but I have also conducted research on red-sided garter snakes ( Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis) and rough-skinned newts ( Taricha granulosa). Much of my work occurs in the field, with primary field sites having been in southeastern Arizona, Manitoba, Canada, and Ecuador.

My lab is currently funded to study the physiological response of hummingbirds to climate. These studies will occur at several sites in southeastern Arizona and Ecuador and involve techniques such as open-flow respirometry, doubly labeled water, infrared thermography, and landscape thermal profiling using temperature logging devices.

For a more detailed description of work that goes on in my lab, go to

Select Research Bibliography

For a list of publications, most of which can be downloaded as PDF files, go to

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

BIOL 300 – Evolution  
BIOL 333 – Advanced Physiology  
BIOL 360 – Ecology  
BIOL 380 – Ornithology  
BIOL 490 – Biological Explorations

Outside the Classroom

I have been married to my wife Theo for 35-plus years and do not regret a minute of it! We have two grown boys and an excessively loveable golden Labrador retriever named Zoie. I love the outdoors, so it is not uncommon to see Zoie and I taking long hikes at our local state park, rain or shine.

I am an avid birdwatcher, so binoculars are standard equipment for me wherever I go. Photography is a passion for me, and both staff and students in the department know where to go when they need a picture of something.