Michael L. Cain

Research Associate in Mathematics


Portrait of Michael Cain.

Contact Information

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  • Ph. D. Cornell University, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • M. Sc. Brown University, Division of Applied Mathematics
  • A. B. Bowdoin College, Biology and Mathematics, summa cum laude

Teaching Interests

  • introductory biology (for majors and nonmajors)
  • ecology
  • evolution
  • botany
  • mathematical biology
  • biostatistics

Research Interests

  • ecology and evolution of plants
  • long-distance dispersal
  • ecological and evolutionary dynamics in hybrid zones
  • spatial spread and search behavior in plants and animals



Urry, L. A., M. L. Cain, S. A. Wasserman, P. V. Minorsky, and J. B. Reece. 2017. Campbell BIOLOGY (11th edition), Pearson, San Francisco.

Urry, L. A., M. L. Cain, S. A. Wasserman, P. V. Minorsky, and J. B. Reece. 2016. Campbell BIOLOGY IN FOCUS (2nd edition), Pearson, San Francisco.

Cain, M. L., W. D. Bowman, and S. D. Hacker.  2014.  Ecology (3rd edition).  Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA.

Campbell - Biology Urry, L. A., M. L. Cain, S. A. Wasserman, P. V. Minorsky, R. B. Jackson, and J. B. Reece. 2013. Campbell Biology in Focus, Pearson, San Francisco. Ecology - 3rd Edition

Special Feature in Ecology

Cain, M. L., R. Nathan, and S. A. Levin, eds.  2003.  Long-distance dispersal.  (An edited collection of seven research articles that formed a “Special Feature” in the journal Ecology)


Cain, M. L., R. Nathan, and S. A. Levin.  2003.  Long-distance dispersalEcology 84: 1943-1944.

Higgins, S. I., R. Nathan, and M. L. Cain.  2003.  Are long-distance dispersal events in plants usually caused by nonstandard means of dispersal?  Ecology 84: 1945-1956.

Nathan, R., G. Perry, J. T. Cronin, A. E. Strand, and M. L. Cain.  2003.  Methods for estimating long-distance dispersalOikos 103: 261-273.

Higgins, S. I., and M. L. Cain.  2002.  Spatially realistic plant metapopulation models and the competition-colonization trade-offJournal of Ecology 90: 616-626.

Britch, S. C., M. L. Cain, and D. J. Howard.  2001.  Spatio-temporal dynamics of the Allonemobius fasciatus - A. socius mosaic hybrid zone:  a fourteen-year perspectiveMolecular Ecology 10: 627-638.

Cain, M. L., B. G. Milligan, and A. E. Strand.  2000.  Long-distance seed dispersal in plant populations.  American Journal of Botany, Invited Special Paper, 87: 1217-1227.

Cain, M. L., V. Andreasen, and D. J. Howard.  1999.  Reinforcing selection is effective under a relatively broad set of conditions in a mosaic hybrid zone.  Evolution 53: 1343-1353.

Cain, M. L., S. Subler, J. P. Evans, and M.-J. Fortin.  1999.  Sampling spatial and temporal variation in soil nitrogen availability.  Oecologia 118: 397-404.

Howard, D. J., M. Reece, P. G. Gregory, J. Chu, and M. L. Cain.  1998.  The evolution of barriers to fertilization between closely related organisms.  In, Endless Forms:  Species and Speciation, D. J. Howard and S. H. Berlocher (eds.), Oxford University Press, p. 279-288.

Cain, M. L., H. Damman, and A. Muir.  1998.  Seed dispersal and the Holocene migration of woodland herbs.  Ecological Monographs 68: 325-347.

Damman, H., and M. L. Cain.  1998.  Population growth and viability analyses of the clonal woodland herb, Asarum canadenseJournal of Ecology 86: 13-26.

Howard, D. J., P. G. Gregory, J. Chu, and M. L. Cain.  1998.  Conspecific sperm precedence is an effective barrier to hybridization between closely related species.  Evolution 52: 511-516.

Oborny, B., and M. L. Cain.  1997.  Models of spatial spread and foraging in clonal plant species.  In, The Ecology and Evolution of Clonal Plants, H. de Kroon and J. van Groenendael (eds.), Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, the Netherlands, p. 155-183.

Cain, M. L., and H. Damman.  1997.  Clonal growth and ramet performance in the woodland herb, Asarum canadenseJournal of Ecology 85: 883-897.

Cain, M. L., D. Dudle, and J. P. Evans.  1996.  Spatial models of foraging in clonal plant species.  American Journal of Botany 83: 76-85.

Cain, M. L., S. W. Pacala, J. A. Silander, Jr., and M.-J. Fortin.  1995.  Neighborhood models of clonal growth in the white clover, Trifolium repensAmerican Naturalist 145: 888-917.

Cain, M. L., B. Kahn, J. A. Silander, Jr., and H. Reynolds.  1995.  Genetic variability and tradeoffs among reproductive traits in white clover (Trifolium repens L.).  Canadian Journal of Botany 73: 505-511.

Evans, J. P., and M. L. Cain.  1995.  A spatially explicit test of foraging behavior in a clonal plant.  Ecology 76: 1147-1155.

Cain, M. L.  1994.  Consequences of foraging in clonal plant species.  Ecology 75: 933-944.

Cain, M. L., and L. W. Murray.  1994.  Nonlinear regression models to estimate the size of DNA fragments.  Computer Applications in the Biosciences 10: 677-680.

Cain, M. L.  1991.  When do treatment differences in movement behaviors produce observable differences in long-term displacements?  Ecology 72: 2137-2142.

Cain, M. L., W. P. Carson, and R. B. Root.  1991.  Long-term suppression of insect herbivores increases the production and growth of Solidago altissima rhizomes. Oecologia 88: 251-257.

Cain, M. L., S. W. Pacala, and J. A. Silander, Jr.  1991.  Stochastic simulation of clonal growth in the tall goldenrod, Solidago altissimaOecologia 88: 477-485.

Cain, M. L.  1990.  Patterns of Solidago altissima ramet growth and mortality:  the role of below-ground ramet connections.  Oecologia 82: 201-209.

Cain, M. L.  1990.  Models of clonal growth in Solidago altissimaJournal of Ecology 78: 27-46.

Cain, M. L.  1989.  The analysis of angular data in ecological field studies.  Ecology  70: 1540-1543.

Cain, M. L., and R. E. Cook.  1988.  Growth in Medeola virginiana clones.  II.  Stochastic simulation of vegetative spread.  American Journal of Botany 75: 730-736.

McCulloch, C. E., and M. L. Cain.  1989.  Analyzing discrete movement data as a correlated random walk.  Ecology 70: 383-388.

Cain, M. L.  1987.  Prey capture behavior and diel movement of Brachynemurus antlion larvae in South Central Florida.  Florida Entomologist 70: 397-400.

Cain, M. L., J. Eccleston, and P. M. Kareiva.  1985.  The influence of food plant dispersion upon caterpillar searching success.  Ecological Entomology 10: 1-7.

Cain, M. L.  1985.  Random search by herbivorous insects:  a stochastic simulation model.  Ecology 66: 876-888.