Robert Robichaux

Robert Robichaux

University Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Positions and Education: 

University of Arizona 

  • University Distinguished Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (2001-present) 
  • Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (2004-present) 
  • Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (1990-2004) 
  • Assistant Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (1986-90) 

University of California at Berkeley 

  • Assistant Professor, Botany (1980-86) 

University of California at Davis, Ph.D. in Botany (1980) 

University of California at Davis, M.S. in Botany (1976) 

University of Houston, B.S. in Mathematics (1974) 

Honors and Awards: 


  • National Park Service Centennial Volunteer Challenge Award (2016) 
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion Award (2010) 
  • U.S. Department of the Interior Partners in Conservation Award (2009) 

Teaching (University of Arizona) 

  • Honors Professor (2010-2013 and 2015-2016) 

Editorial Work: 

Founder and President, Board of Trustees, Hawaiian Silversword Foundation (a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to conserving and restoring the native plants and ecosystems of Hawaii) (1997-present) 

President, Board of Directors, Three Mountain Alliance (TMA) Foundation (a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to collaborative native-ecosystem restoration across 451,000 hectares of Federal, State, and private lands on Mauna Loa, Kilauea, and Hualalai volcanoes on Hawaii Island and to environmental education and outreach) (2014-present) 

Research Interests: 

My work seeks to reverse extinction’s tide in Hawaii through on-the-ground conservation action. For the past 20 years, I have collaborated with colleagues in Hawaii to implement large-scale reintroduction efforts for endangered silverswords and lobeliads. The Hawaiian silversword and lobeliad lineages are the world’s premier examples of plant adaptive radiation. Though the lineages are marvels of evolutionary diversification, they also exemplify the daunting conservation challenges confronting the Hawaiian biota, especially the threats from alien species. We have coupled our reintroduction efforts to large-scale landscape restoration efforts, particularly within an expansive area of Federal, State, and private lands on Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanoes on Hawaii Island. The ultimate goal of our long-term and large-scale approach is to restore the possibility of adaptive radiation of the silversword and lobeliad lineages going forward, especially on the youngest and most geologically active, and thus perhaps most evolutionarily dynamic, part of the Hawaiian archipelago.

Selected Publications: 

  1. Robichaux RH, Moriyasu PY, Enoka JH, McDaniel S, Loh RK, Bio KF, Bakutis A, Tunison JT, Bergfeld ST, Perry JL, Warshauer FR, Wasser M, Cole TC, Agorastos NR, Cole IW, Camara JK, Rubenstein T, Whitehead AN, VanDeMark JR, Loo R, Bruegmann MM (2016) Silversword and lobeliad reintroduction linked to landscape restoration on Mauna Loa and Kilauea, and its implications for plant adaptive radiation in Hawaii. bioRxiv doi: 10.1101/095216 
  2. Blonder B, Baldwin BG, Enquist BJ, Robichaux RH (2016) Variation and macroevolution in leaf functional traits in the Hawaiian silversword alliance (Asteraceae). Journal of Ecology 104: 219-228 
  3. Aslan CE, Zavaleta ES, Tershy B, Croll D, Robichaux RH (2014) Imperfect replacement of native species by non-native species as pollinators of endemic Hawaiian plants. Conservation Biology 28: 478-488 
  4. Krushelnycky PD, Loope LL, Giambelluca TW, Starr F, Starr K, Drake DR, Taylor AD, Robichaux RH (2013) Climate-associated population declines reverse recovery and threaten future of an iconic high elevation plant. Global Change Biology 19: 911-922 
  5. Purugganan MD, Robichaux RH (2005) Adaptive radiation and regulatory gene evolution in the Hawaiian silversword alliance (Asteraceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 92: 28-35