Sharon Robinson

Sharon Robinson

Senior Professor at University of Wollongong

Thursday, 29 September 2016 13:08


Brief History

I was born in London but did most of my growing up on the North Coast of Cornwall. I moved back to London to study Genetics & Botany at University College London and graduated with a First Class Honours Degree. I then worked for two years in student poltics, first at UCL as a Sabbatical Officer and  President of UCL Student's Union concerned with student welfare, and then as an Executive Officer of the UK National Union of Students. In 1986 I completed a Graduate Certificate in in Science Education at Kings College London and then returned to UCL in 1987 to start a PhD with George Stewart on "Nitrogen metabolism in carrot cell cultures" which I completed in 1990.


 sharon robinson portrait web s


Professional Experience


2010 - present

Professor, Biological Sciences, The University of Wollongong


Deputy Director, Institute for Conservation Biology and Environmental Management, The University of Wollongong
Visiting Professor, University of Vienna
2005 - 2008
Director, Institute for Conservation Biology and Law, The University of Wollongong
2004-  2010
Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, The University of Wollongong
2000 - 2005
Head of Postgraduate Studies, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Wollongong
1999 - 2004
Senior Lecturer, Biological Sciences, The University of Wollongong
1996 -1999
Lecturer, Biological Sciences, The University of Wollongong
Research Fellow, Research School of Biological Sciences ANU
1992 - 1994
Postdoctoral Fellow, Research School of Biological Sciences, ANU
1990 - 1991
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Duke University, North Carolina


 Professional Activities


National & International Committees and Editorships

United Nations Environment Programme Environmental Effects Assessment Panel (2010 -)
Antarctic Science Advisory Committee (2009 - 2012)
Editor, Global Change Biology (2005 - present)
Editorial Advisory Committee, Functional Plant Biology (2002 - 2007)
Custodian Antarctic State of the Environment Indicator (2002 - present)


 University Governance

2005 - 2008 University Research Committee
2004 - present University Promotion and Probation Committee
1998 - 2002, 2005 - 2008 Science Faculty Research Committee
2002 - present Science Faculty Workloads Committee
2001 - 2005 University Library Consultative Committee
1996 - 2000 Science Faculty Library Committee (Chair 2001 – 2005)
1997 - 2000 Academic Senate
1998 - 1999 Co-chair University of Wollongong Tertiary Literacies Working Party
1998 - 1999 Science Faculty Representative at Health & Behavioural Science Faculty meetings
1998 Science Faculty Internationalisation Committee
1997 Introduction to Tertiary Teaching Curriculum Advisory Committee





2009 Chlorotube 2nd prize (You tube The Science of Cool) US$250
2003 American Society of Plant Biologists
2001 (US$1000 to present Photosynthesis in silico CD)
2002 Australian Society of Plant Scientists’ Teaching Award ($1000)
2001 Australian College of Education (Illawarra Branch)
2001 Outstanding contribution to Higher Education Award
1991 Irene Manton Prize, Linnean Society of London. Best UK PhD in Botany (£500)


Contacts at School of Biological Sciences, UOW

Email:      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone:    +61 2 4221 5753
Office:      B15.G14

Fax: +61 2 4221 4135

Biological Sciences - Building 35.G19
University of Wollongong
Northfields Avenue






Antarctica is a natural subject for interdisciplinary exploration because it ignites passion and curiosity on so many fronts. The day brought together a kaleidoscope of interested parties from the worlds of visual art, toxicology, history, climate science, law, plant biology and the humanities. Such disciplinary diversity gave a taste of the contradictions that Antarctica embraces - whether from the point of view of temperature change, ice movement or the tourism industry of this remote continent.

Friday, 23 September 2016 17:36

A Talk at the Eco Antarctica Symposium

Here are links to a video of a presentation that I gave at the Eco Antarctica Symposium - "INTERDISCIPLINARY PATHWAYS TO ANTARCTICA" on 9 August 2016 at the Leon Kane-Maguire Theatre, Innovation Campus, University of Wollongong.


The video is available in HD from my multimedia page

and also on Youtube, where you can find some of my other media presentations.

Many ecological questions require information on species' optima in relation to environmental gradients. These attributes can be important in determining which species will coexistence and how this may vary with climate changes. However, existing methods do not quantify the uncertainty in the attributes or they rely on assumptions about the shape of species' responses to the environmental gradient. To remedy this, Mick Ashcroft and the team recently developed a model to quantify the uncertainty in the attributes of species response curves and allow them to be tested for differences without making assumptions about the shape of the responses.

The 3 minute thesis competition is where students have to explain their project in 3 minutes with just one slide and no props.  It is a national competition and starts off with Faculty heats. Rhys Wyber's very short talk was called "LIFTing photosynthesis to new heights" and he won against stiff competition across the SMAH Faculty. We look forward to similar success in the university finals.  Go Rhys!

On Wednesday we celebrated four graduands.  Dr Mel Waterman and Dr Johanna Turnbull were awarded their PhDs. Professor Bob Furbank became Dr Dr Bob. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science.  In his inspiring graduation speech he told the graduands how important it was to try and work in an area which you love. I certainly agree with that sentiment.  He also talked about the important part played by mentors, peers and of course serendipity. 

Friday, 23 September 2016 17:36

Scientific connections Part 1

We had a very interesting meeting yesterday to discuss connections between the work Rhys Wyber and Barry are doing at the leaf level, Zbynek at the canopy level and satellite measurements. The question is how can we bridge the gap between these scales to help inform measurements of global productivity and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  

Friday, 23 September 2016 17:36

Comings and goings in the Lab

It has been a busy month. PhD Student Beat Keller visited us from Germany bringing the new Forschungszentrum J├╝lich LIFT for Rhys to try out. Then we got new stronger light emitting diodes (LEDs) for our instrument so Rhys and Beat installed these. We can know measure fluoresence over bigger areas of canopy.  So Rhys is pretty happy. You can see them working in the dark here.


Friday, 23 September 2016 17:36

The K-Axident

by Dr Laurence Clarke

Just over 10 years ago, Sharon and I got within 12 nautical miles of Mawson station when we came to Antarctica to collect moss samples as part of my PhD project. At the time the sea ice was too thick and we had to turn back, but we already had enough samples from Casey and Davis so it wasn’t a big deal.

Friday, 23 September 2016 17:36

Dr Laurence Clarke using DNA to identify life

Ex Lab member Dr Laurence Clarke has been on the Kerguelen (k)-Axis Marine Science Voyage aboard the Aurora Australis for about 6 weeks now. He was collecting samples to barcode marine life and wrote a guest blog about his research here.

There is also a news feature on the Australian Antarctic Division web site.

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