T. R. Robbins Travis R. Robbins, Ph. D



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T.R. Robbins

Travis R. Robbins, Ph.D.

The Pennsylvania State University

Department of Biology

208 Mueller Laboratory

University Park, PA 16802

Tel. (813) 220-9684



robbins.travis@gmail.com

http://myweb.usf.edu/~trrobbin/travisresearchpage.html



Education

  • Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 2010,University of South Florida,Tampa, Florida

    • Geographic Variation in Life History Tactics, Adaptive Growth Rates, and Habitatspecific Adaptations in Phylogenetically Similar Species: The Eastern Fence Lizard, Sceloporus undulatus undulatus, and the Florida Scrub Lizard, Sceloporus woodi

    • Advisors: Earl D. McCoy and Henry R. Mushinsky

  • B.S. in Wildlife Conservation Biology,1998, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

  • Earth Semester Certificate, 1996, Columbia University Biosphere 2 Center, Oracle, Arizona; Field and lab courses in conservation biology, environmental policy, geology, and desert ecology.


Professional Experience

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, May 2010 – present: Dr. Tracy Langkilde, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

  • Research Assistant, Aug.2001 – 2009: Dr. Henry Mushinsky, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida (Assisted with multiple research projects on Florida herpetofauna)

  • Adjunct Professor, 2008: University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida (Environmental Science)

  • Teaching Assistant, Aug. 2000 –2007: University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida (Taught Biology I laboratory—cellular structure and processes, Genetics laboratory—molecular and mendelian genetics, and an Ecology laboratory)

  • Field Instructor, Landscape Comparisons; Sep.-Oct., 1999: Columbia University Biosphere 2 Center, Oracle, Arizona (Provided biological content for a Northern Arizona field trip to the Grand Canyon)

  • Project Manager; May-June, 1999: Columbia University Biosphere 2 Center, Oracle, Arizona (Created Biosphere 2 Center Plant Identification Guide for species from the surrounding desert)

  • Research Assistant, La Selva Biological Station (OTS), Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI-BCI); Dec. 1998 - Feb. 1999: Dr. Walt Carson, University of Pittsburgh – Research in Puerto Viejo de Sarapaqui, Costa Rica; Barro Colorado Island, Panama (Vegetation censusing and mapping)

  • Vice President, Society for Conservation Biology, 1998-1999: Central Arizona Chapter (Hosted symposiums on predator management and fisheries management in the western US)

  • Lab Assistant, Lichen Herbarium; Jan.- April; Aug.- Dec. 1998: Dr. Tom Nash, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (Curation of lichens and Thin Layer Chromatography)

  • Research Assistant, Cedar Creek Natural History Area; July - Aug. 1998: Dr. David Tilman, University of Minnesota, Bethel, Minnesota (Vegetation sampling and identification, Soil and root sampling)

  • Teaching Assistant; Summers 1997, 1998, 1999: Columbia University Biosphere 2 Center, Oracle, Arizona (Surveying and Orienteering, Geology/vegetation mapping, Marine invertebrate sampling, Systems modeling, Desert ecology)


Publications

  • Du, W., D.A. Warner, T. Langkilde, T.R. Robbins, R. Shine. (in press). Juvenile growth rates do not parallel countergradient variation in embryonic developmental rates in the eastern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus). Journal of Animal Ecology

  • Robbins, T.R. and T. Langkilde. (in prep). The consequences of lifetime and evolutionary exposure to toxic prey: changes in avoidance behavior through ontogeny. PNAS.

  • Robbins, T.R., L.E. Straub, S.A. Karl, A.W. Schrey, K.D. Gorospe, E.D. McCoy, H.R. Mushinsky. (in prep). Aggression, mate choice, and secondary succession: The rise and fall of a hybrid zone. Ecology Letters.

  • Robbins, T.R., H.R. Mushinsky, E.D. McCoy. (in prep). Direction of latitudinal gradient in body size is dependent on geographic scale: A new take on Bergmann’s cline in Sceloporus lizards. Evolution

  • Robbins, T.R. and T. Langkilde. (in prep). A scientific approach to determining best practices for housing reptiles. Comfortable Quarters for Laboratory Animals, V. Reinhardt (ed), Animal Welfare Institute, Washington DC.

  • Freidenfelds, N.A., T.R. Robbins, T. Langkilde. (in prep). Evading invaders: the effectiveness of a behavioral response acquired via lifetime exposure to a threat. Behavioral Ecology

  • Du, W., D.A. Warner, T. Langkilde, T.R.Robbins, R. Shine. 2010. The mechanistic basis of geographic variation in rates of embryonic development within a widespread lizard species. The American Naturalist 176: 522-528.

  • Robbins, T.R. and D. A. Warner. 2010. Fluctuations in the incubation moisture environment affect growth but not survival of hatchling lizards. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 100: 89-102.

  • Robbins, T.R., J.N. Pruitt, L.E. Straub, E.D. McCoy, and H.R. Mushinsky. 2010. Transgressive aggression in Sceloporus hybrids confers fitness through advantages in male agonistic encounters. Journal of Animal Ecology 79: 137-147.

  • Nash, T.H., III, J. Biringer, T.R.Robbins, and R. Schramm. 1998. LichenesExsiccati, Distributed by Arizona State University [Lich. Exs. ASU]. Fasc. 11 (No. 251-275) and Fasc. 12 (No. 276-300). 15 June.

  • Robbins, T.R., D.G. Lancaster, J. Lancaster, and T.L. Burgess. 1996. Biosphere 2 Center Plant Field Guide. Columbia University, Biosphere 2 Center, Oracle, AZ



Grants and Awards
  • Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund Grant, 2006, $1,200, American Museum of Natural History

  • Sigma-Xi Grant in Aid of Research, 2003, $750, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society

  • Tharpe Endowed Fellowship, 2003, $4,500 and 2005, $5,000, USF College of Arts and Sciences

  • USF Student Government Conference Presentation Grants, 2002-2006

  • USF Hearl Foundation Travel Grant, 2006

  • USF College of Arts and Sciences Travel Grant, 2006

  • USF Department of Biology Travel Grants, 2002-2004


  • Applied for NSF Predoctoral Fellowship, 2000 (not granted)
  • The Burgess Award for Academic Excellence in Field Study, Fall 1996, Columbia University, Biosphere 2 Center

  • Columbia University $10,000 scholarship, Fall 1996, Earth Semester at Biosphere 2 Center

  • Anna L. Cardwell scholarship, 1994, Mira Costa College.



Mentoring

I directed undergraduate research of 40 students. This research was integral to my dissertation and gave students hands-on research experience. I directed as many as 14 students at one time. Four students excelled and we were able to develop and complete additional research projects independent of my dissertation work.




  • Undergraduate Honors Students Theses

    • Jonathan Pruitt – Territorial encounters among parental species and hybrids of Sceloporus

      • Resulted in paper – Robbins et al. 2009. Journal of Animal Ecology

    • Julie Chamberlin – Anti-predator behaviors of Sceloporusundulatus, S. woodi, and their hybrids

      • Resulted in manuscript – Robbins et al. (in prep). Herpetologica

  • Undergraduate Students

    • Lorelei Straub – Genetics and ecology of a Sceloporus hybrid zone

      • Lorelei received a grant for this project from the Office of Undergraduate Research – University of South Florida

      • Resulted in multiple manuscripts

        • Robbins et al. 2010. Journal of Animal ecology

        • Robbins et al. (in prep). Herpetologica

        • Robbins et al. (in prep). Ecology Letters

        • Plus three other manuscripts in prep

    • Melinda Wilson – Comparing heat transfer in temperature loggers: ibuttons and Tidbits

      • Resulted in manuscript – Robbins et al. (in prep). Herpetological Review


Research Experience


  • Research Projects as doctoral student

    • Genetic and environmental sources of variation in life history traits of Sceloporus undulatusand S. woodi(Dissertation project)

    • The effects of fluctuating moisture regimes on Sceloporus undulatus phenotypes and survival (Collaborated with Dan Warner)

    • Selection on anti-predator performance and behavior (Collaborated with Dan Warner)

    • Ontogenetic shifts in morphology and performance of both Sceloporus undulatus and S. woodi. (Collaborated with Joel Johnson)

    • Genetics of a hybrid zone between Sceloporus undulatus and S. woodi (Collaborated with Steve Karl and Lorelei Straub)

    • Intrinsic survivorship among north and south populations of Sceloporu sundulatus and S. woodi.

    • Correlational selection of performance and dorsal pattern in Sceloporus undulatus and S. woodi

    • Transgressive aggression in Sceloporus hybrids (Collaborated with Lorelei Straub and Jonathan Pruitt)

    • Body temperature and habitat of Sceloporusundulatus, S. woodi, and their hybrids.

    • The relationship between morphology and genetics of Sceloporus hybrids: implications of hybrid zone dynamics (Collaborated with Steve Karl and Lorelei Straub)

    • Functional asymmetry in a Sceloporushybrid zone

    • Anti-predator behaviors of Sceloporusundulatus, S. woodi, and their hybrids (Collaborated with Julie Chamberlin, Steve Karl, and Lorelei Straub)

    • Short term sperm storage in Sceloporusundulatus and S. woodi

    • Similarity between the SinaloanThornscrub of Mexico and of the biome inside Biosphere 2.

    • Effects of gopher mounds on species diversity of an Old field in Minnesota

    • Heat transfer rates of temperature loggers: Tidbits vs. ibuttons (Collaborated with Melinda Wilson)

  • Statistical Expertise

    • The Program MARK, decision tree analysis, univariate and multivariate statistics, ArcMap, Access data management

  • Field Expertise

    • Installing herpetological trap arrays, small mammal trapping, tortoise burrow surveying, GPS surveying, experimental design, general field sampling techniques


Teaching Experience

  • Guest Lecturer, 2010, Research and teaching high school, NSF Outreach Program, The Pennsylvania State University

  • Adjunct Professor, 2008, Environmental Science, University of Tampa

  • Guest Lecturer, 2008, Hybridization in Evolution, Evolution Seminar Series, University of South Florida

  • Guest Lecturer, 2007, Succession, Principles of Ecology, University of South Florida

  • Guest Lecturer, 2006, Global Diversity, Principles of Ecology, University of South Florida

  • Teaching assistant

    • Ecology laboratory, 2003-2005, 2007, University of South Florida

    • Genetics laboratory, 2005-2006, University of South Florida

    • Biological processes laboratory, 2000-2002, University of South Florida

    • Geology of Arizona, 1997-1999, Columbia University, Biosphere 2

    • Desert ecology, 1997-1999, Columbia University, Biosphere 2

    • Plant identification laboratory, 1998, Columbia University, Biosphere 2



Abstracts and Presentations


  • Robbins, T.R., T. Langkilde. 2011. Stress and invasion: Factors influencing the escape behavior of native fence lizards in response to introduced fire ants. Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Salt Lake City, UT. (oral presentation)

  • Robbins, T.R., H.R. Mushinsky, and E.D. McCoy. 2011. Habitat-specific adaptations in growth rates play a role in species distribution of Sceloporus lizards in Florida. Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Salt Lake City, UT. (poster presentation)

  • Robbins, T.R., H.R. Mushinsky, and E.D. McCoy. 2010. Evolution of life histories and hybridization of Sceloporus lizards. Ecology Seminar Series, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA. (oral presentation)

  • Robbins, T.R., H.R. Mushinsky, and E.D. McCoy. 2010. Evolution of life histories and behaviors in Sceloporus lizards. Langkilde Lab Series, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA. (oral presentation)

  • Robbins, T.R., J.N. Pruitt, L.E. Straub, E.D. McCoy, and H.R. Mushinsky. 2008. Transgressive aggression in Sceloporus hybrids confers fitness through advantages in male agonistic encounters. Southeastern Ecology and Evolution Conference, Tallahassee, FL. (oral presentation)

  • Robbins, T.R., H.R. Mushinsky, and E.D. McCoy. 2006. Genetic and Environmental sources of variation in growth between Sceloporus populations in Florida: faster growth from cooler environments. Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, New Orleans, LA. (oral presentation)

  • Robbins, T.R., L.E. Straub, S.A. Karl. 2006. Hybridization, extinction risk, and ecological correlates in the endemic Florida scrub lizard Sceloporus woodi. Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, New Orleans, LA. (poster presentation)

  • Straub, L.E., T.R. Robbins, S.A. Karl. 2006. Hybridization, extinction risk, and ecological correlates in the endemic Florida scrub lizard Sceloporus woodi. Undergraduate Research Symposium, University of South Florida. (poster presentation)

  • Robbins, T.R. and D.A. Warner. 2006. Fluctuations in the incubation moisture environment: Does the pattern or magnitude influence egg and hatchling phenotypes in a lizard? Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida (oral presentation)

  • Robbins, T.R. and D.A. Warner. 2005. Fluctuations in the incubation moisture environment: Does the pattern or magnitude influence egg and hatchling phenotypes in a lizard? Graduate student seminar, USF (oral presentation)

  • Warner, D.A. and T.R. Robbins. 2004. Associations among the incubation environment, phenotypes and survival of hatchling fence lizards (Sceloporus undulatus). Meeting of the Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour and the Australasian Society for the Study of Evolution, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. (oral pesentation by D.A. Warner)

  • Robbins, T.R. and J. Johnson. 2004. Ontogenetic relationship between morphology and performance in two closely related Sceloporine lizards: Correlations with survival. International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology, Boca Raton, FL. (poster presentation)

  • Johnson, J. and T.R. Robbins. 2004. Ontogenetic relationship between morphology and performance in two closely related Sceloporine lizards. Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Norman, OK. (poster presentation by J. Johnson)

  • Robbins, T.R. and D.A. Warner. 2004. Effects of fluctuating water potential on Sceloporus undulatus eggs and hatchling phenotypes. Southeastern Ecology and Evolution Conference, Atlanta, GA. (poster presentation)

  • Robbins, T.R. and D.A. Warner. 2003. Effects of fluctuating water potential during incubation on hatchling morphology, performance, and survival in the lizard Sceloporus undulatus. Joint meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Manaus, Brazil (oral presentation)

  • Warner, D.A. and T.R. Robbins. 2003. The influence of morphology, performance, and behavior on hatchling survival in the lizard Sceloporus undulatus. Joint meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Manaus, Brazil (poster presentation by D.A. Warner)

  • Warner, D.A. and T.R. Robbins. 2003. Associations among the incubation environment, phenotypes, and survival of hatchling fence lizards (Sceloporus undulatus). Australian Society of Herpetologists. Mary River Park, Northern Territory, Australia. (oral presentation by D.A. Warner)

  • Robbins, T.R. and D.A. Warner. 2003. The influence of morphology, performance, and behavior on hatchling survival in the lizard Sceloporus undulatus. Graduate Student seminar, USF (oral presentation)


Organizational Affiliations

  • Herpetologist’s League (HL)

  • Sigma-Xi Scientific Research Society

  • Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR)

  • Animal Behavior Society (ABS)


Journal Referee

  • Biological Journal of the Linnean Society

  • Zoological Science

  • Journal of Animal Ecology

  • Herpetologica

  • Animal Conservation

  • Journal of Herpetology

  • Southwestern American Naturalist



References

  • Earl McCoy, Ph.D., Professor, Dept. of Biology, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa, FL 33620. Email: mccoy@chuma.cas.usf.edu; Tel: (813) 974-5219

  • Tracy Langkilde, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, 208 Mueller Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802. Email: tll30@psu.edu; Tel: (814) 867-2251

  • Henry Mushinsky, Ph.D., Professor, Dept. of Biology, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa, FL 33620. Email: mushinsk@chuma1.cas.usf.edu; Tel: (813) 974-5218




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