Rob Robinson

Associate Director, Research

Rob is a member of the senior management team of the British Trust for Ornithology and provide strategic leadership and co-ordination of research across BTO as a whole. Rob has a particular responsibility for the Population Ecology and Modelling and Wetland and Marine Research teams but works closely with Andy Musgrove to ensure the demographic and census monitoring schemes enhance BTO's scientific research.

Interests & Responsibilities

Changes in bird populations and distributions are determined by demography, particularly the combination of survival and productivity. Rob's main interest lies in understanding how these processes operate, within an applied context, how the sum of individuals creates them and how they vary at different scales. Much of his recent work at BTO has focussed on combining data from the Ringing and Nest Record Schemes with data on population changes to understand the reasons for population declines. and census schemes to understand the reasons for population declines. This work involves applying novel statistical methods to make better use of  national data and contributes to BirdTrends, the annual assessment of Britain's bird populations. Rob started research with a particular focus on farmland birds, how they use their food supply and how changes in agriculture have, and will, afect them; effects of demographic parameters vary spatially, both geographically and with environmental variables such as habitat; Rob also has an interest in the role that diseases play in bird populations.

Other Information

Honorary Reader, University of East Anglia
Visiting Researcher, Swiss Ornithological Institute
Member, BOU Meetings Committee
Scientific Chair of BOU 2014 Conference and Co-Chair Euring 2017 Analytical Meeting
Member Nominated Trustee, BTO Assured Pension Scheme


BSc (Hons) Zoology, Edinburgh University, 1989-1993. PhD Ecology and conservation of farmland birds, University of East Anglia, 1993-1997.

Recent BTO Publications

Lawson, B., Robinson, R.A. Parmar, M., Killick, R., Cunningham, A.A. & MacDonald, S.J. 2020. Aflatoxin and ochratoxin A residues in supplementary foods used for wild birds. Science of The Total Environment 731 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138851) 7pp
Robinson, R.A., Meier, C.M., Witvliet, W., Kéry, M. & Schaub, M. 2020. Survival varies seasonally in a migratory bird: linkages between breeding and non‐breeding periods. Journal of Animal Ecology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.13250)
Robinson, R.A., Sanders, J.D. & Rees, E.C. 2020. Survival of Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata differs by season but not breeding origin. Wader Study 127 : 25-30 View at journal website (DOI: 10.18194/ws.00176 ) 6pp
Milanesi, P., Della Rocca, F. & Robinson, R.A. 2019. Integrating dynamic environmental predictors and species occurrences: Toward true dynamic species distribution models. Ecology and Evolution View at journal website (DOI: 10.1002/ece3.5938) 6pp
Tucker, A.M., McGowan, C.P., Catalano, M.J., DeRose‐Wilson, A., Robinson, R.A. & Zimmerman, J. 2019. Foraging ecology mediates response to ecological mismatch during migratory stopover. Ecosphere 10 (part 10) View at journal website (DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.2898) 17pp
Pearce-Higgins, J.W. & Robinson, R.A. (Eds) 2019. A world informed by science: the impact of BTO in 2012–18. Research Report no. 710.

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