About the Author
Tara Rodden Robinson, R.N., B.S.N., Ph.D., is a native of Monroe, Louisiana,
where she graduated from Ouachita Parish High School. She earned her
degree in nursing at the University of Southern Mississippi and worked as a
registered nurse for nearly six years (mostly in surgery), before running away
from home to study birds in the Costa Rican rainforest. From the rainforests,
Tara traveled to the cornfields of the Midwest to earn her Ph.D. in Biology at
the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her dissertation work was conducted in the Republic of Panama where she examined the social lives of
Song Wrens. She got her post-doctoral training in genetics with Dr. Colin
Hughes (University of Miami) and through a Postdoctoral Fellowship at
Auburn University. Dr. Robinson received a teaching award for her genetics
course at Auburn and was twice included in Who’s Who Among America’s
Teachers (2002 and 2005).
Now, as assistant research professor in the Department of Fisheries and
Wildlife at Oregon State University, Tara studies the genetics of birds and fish
at Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. Professor Robinson’s
research includes conducting paternity analysis to uncover the mysteries of
birds’ social lives, examining population genetics of endangered salmon, and
using DNA to find out which species of salmon sea-going birds like to eat.
Professor Robinson conducts research on birds in locations all over the map
including Oregon, Michigan, and the Republic of Panama. Her field research
includes comparisons of the evolution of tropical and temperate birds, examining
the effects of urbanization on swallows and bluebirds, describing the
mating habits of Northern Mockingbirds, and documenting the effects of
forest fragmentation on tropical bird populations. Recently, she and her husband,
ornithologist W. Douglas Robinson, traveled to the island of Yap to
survey birds and bats after a devastating typhoon wrecked the forests of that
tiny, unique Micronesian state.
When not traveling, Professor Robinson enjoys playing Celtic and Scottish
tunes on her fiddle and hiking the Coast Range of Oregon with her husband
and their dog, Natchez.