Dr. Robin L. Chazdon was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1957. She attended Grinnell College and got her first taste of the tropics during her second year there on an off-campus field study program. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University in 1984. After three post-doctoral positions she came to UConn as an assistant professor in 1988. She received tenure in 1994 and was promoted to full professor in 2000. At UConn, Chazdon has advised one master’s and five Ph.D. students to completion; she currently has three doctoral students. She has served on dozens of master’s and doctoral committees and has trained Mary Beth Palomaki, a University Scholar and Honors Scholar, who is graduating this May.
Within the general topic of tropical forest ecology, Chazdon’s research interests focus on ecophysiology and population biology of rainforest plants in relation to light variability. Her current research in Costa Rica examines spatial and temporal dynamics of seedling, sapling, and tree regeneration in tropical secondary forests. She is also interested in tropical forest management, restoration, and biodiversity conservation. Chazdon was an active member of the Board of Directors of the Organization for Tropical Studies from 1989-1999 and served on the Executive Committee as a member-at-large from 1992-1997. She has served on several Editorial Boards and in 2003 became Editor-in-Chief of Biotropica, the Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation.
Chazdon served as the president of the Association for Tropical Biology in 1998 and served as a member-at-large to the Governing Board of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) from 1998-2000. She served on the Advisory Board of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) from 2000-2002.
Chazdon received a Fulbright Senior Scholar award in 2001, and in 2002 spent 6 months in northern Queensland, Australia. In 2003, she was awarded the prestigious President’s Medal from the British Ecological Society and received a Provost’s Research Excellence Award in 2004. This is her first award for teaching and mentoring. She is very honored to be recognized for her efforts in training and mentoring undergraduates at UConn; this is one of her most rewarding experiences as a faculty member.