Heidi E. M. Dobson was born in Berkeley, California, and spent 10 years of her childhood in Switzerland.
She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California at Berkeley, earning a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences (with honors) and a A.B.in Botany (with high honors and distinction). She went to graduate school at the University of California at Davis, where she received a M.S. in Entomology, and at the University of California at Berkeley for her Ph.D. in Botany.
Dr. Dobson conducted postdoctoral research for five years mainly at the Universities of Uppsala and Gothenburg in Sweden, but also at U.C. Davis.
Before coming to Whitman in 1992, she taught at Gettysburg College (Pennsylvania).
Dr. Dobson has current collaborative research projects in Sweden, Spain, Austria, and Israel.
Her hobbies include hiking, gardening, and exploring the world.
Dr. Dobson's research interests lie mainly in the evolutionary ecology of plants and animal-plant interactions, with emphasis on insect-flower pollination associations. Her research addresses the role of color, odor, and taste cues in flower selection by bees, investigated through behavioral studies of wild bee species and chemical analyses of flower fragrances. She conducts her field work mostly in Sweden, at the Ecological Research Station of Uppsala University on the island of Oeland, where she welcomes students majoring in Biology to do research with her during the summer for their senior thesis. Dr. Dobson also supervises student research projects investigating the local insect and plant life of the Pacific Northwest.